EKU Libraries Making Research, Scholarship More Accessible

file photo of library

­Research and scholarship by Eastern Kentucky University faculty, staff and students, as well as outside contributions to journals hosted by EKU, are now just a mouse click away for a worldwide audience.

The EKU Libraries Encompass portal (encompass.eku.edu) is a gateway to a wide range of scholarly activity, including academic journals from a variety of disciplines, selected works of faculty scholarship, and master’s and doctoral theses from EKU students since 2010. It is also home to various university publications and historical collections such as old campus yearbooks, alumni magazines, e-newsletters and catalogs. (An effort also is underway to digitize all issues of The Eastern Progress since 1922.)

Currently the site features five EKU-based, peer-reviewed journals: PRISM: A Journal of Regional Engagement, the Kentucky Journal of Excellence in College Teaching and Learning, ninepatch: A Creative Journal for Women and Gender Studies, the Journal of Military Experience, and The Journal of Retracing Africa (now accepting entries for inaugural issue).

Already, full-text downloads of journal content range from dozens to thousands, depending on the journal, according to Linda Sizemore, copyright and scholarly communications librarian with EKU Libraries. In many cases, the viewers are from other countries.

Many users find the material via a subject search in popular search engines such as Google and Google Scholar.

Consumers aren’t the only beneficiaries of Encompass.

“Many publishers price their journals at unsustainable levels, making it difficult for libraries to afford journal subscriptions, even to those in which their own university’s faculty are contributing articles,” said Betina Gardner, dean of EKU Libraries. “In response to this, academic libraries, including EKU Libraries, are beginning to participate in open access publishing of scholarly content to the web, where anyone can discover and access it.”

Added Sizemore: “As a publisher of scholarship, rather than just a consumer, EKU can participate in scholarly communication on a global scale.”

Sizemore and Gardner expect Encompass will grow in popularity, and they encourage faculty, staff and community members to take advantage of its benefits.

“We are interested in collaborating with departments or individuals who would like to establish a journal online or publish their scholarship,” Sizemore said, noting she welcomes inquiries at linda.sizemore@eku.edu.

“Our goal is to have the most robust institutional repository we can, and share it with the world,” Gardner said.

Published on August 27, 2012