ScholarWorks reaches two million downloads

Jess Hodge

Grand Valley State University’s ScholarWorks has recently passed a huge milestone by reaching two million downloads across the world. This means the students’ work has been recognized globally, and it gives credit to the students who write the scholarly articles.

Most importantly, it gives students a stable platform to showcase the work they devote so much time to.

ScholarWorks is an open access repository, allowing for a place for faculty, staff and students to share and showcase their work. Out of the two million downloaded articles, 698,667 were from graduate and undergraduate research and student works of publication. 

Matt Ruen, the scholarly communications outreach coordinator for GVSU libraries, said there are three major reasons why this milestone will benefit GVSU students.

“One: it gives (students) a stable platform to showcase their own work; to include it in their resumes and applications for grad schools or jobs,” he said. “It’s a platform that they don’t have to maintain themselves.”

Ruen said once something is on ScholarWorks, it will stay there and be maintained. He added that if students use an email address that they keep after college, they would continue to get emails about when and where their work is being downloaded and used.

“Second way: it allows their work to reach a wider audience,” he said. “More people are knowing about the work they’re doing and building on that, and giving credit to Grand Valley students for the research that they’ve done.

“The third way that it benefits students is it raises the profile of Grand Valley. People around the world are using the research we’ve done here.”

Ruen also talked about another benefit for students that does not come from sharing their work, but from other materials in ScholarWorks, which host what are known as open-access textbooks.

“These are textbooks that are freely available, free to be modified by instructors and are used by faculty here at Grand Valley and elsewhere,” Ruen said. “It’s one of our most popular collections.”

After he did some “rough estimates” on the textbooks, he realized this was another huge benefit to GVSU students.

“Based on one figure for the average price of a new textbook, and in the last two years, our open textbooks have probably saved Grand Valley students over $100,000 dollars,” Ruen said.

These books can be used in a wide range of classes from writing 150 courses to math and calculus classes. There are currently 10 open-access books, and Ruen said they have plans on expanding that number.

Ruen said he was excited when the two-million milestone was hit last week.

“It’s pretty exciting,” he said. “It shows that there is a lot of interest in the scholarship that we’re providing access to. It’s over two million times that a scholarship from Grand Valley students and faculty and staff have been shared.”

Since ScholarWorks was created in 2008, it took almost five years for it to reach one million downloads. However, it only took less than two years to get another million downloads, reaching the two million download mark. Although Ruen has only been in his position for about a year, he has noticed an increase in downloads and thinks it will not take long to reach three million downloads.

“To know that in under eight years of operation, we’ve reached out and gotten GVSU scholarship into the hands of people who are interested in it over two million times? That’s a sign of success,” Ruen said. “Participating more openly and more fully in the global scholarly conversation is only a good thing.”