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Sharing Promotes Equity: eCommons and Open Access

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Last year’s downloads from eCommons

Since its creation in 2012, eCommons has had over 3.6 million downloads of work by Loyolans. Loyola eCommons is an open-access, sustainable, and secure repository created to preserve and provide access to research, scholarship, and creative works created by the university community for the benefit of Loyola students, faculty, staff, and the larger world. It is how we share the theses and dissertations written by our students, articles and conference talks by our faculty, and peer reviewed journals created by Loyola students and faculty.

That number of downloads is impressive, but what’s even more important about this is that so many of those downloads have come from across the globe and from countries who would otherwise not be able to participate in scholarship at the same level as we are able at Loyola University Chicago. As we reflect on the question “open for whom?”, this helps us to add some nuance to this question. We are fortunate to be able to pay for access to databases, journals, and books so that our students and faculty can access the latest and best research. Or, if we don’t have access to something here at Loyola, we can use interlibrary loan to borrow it. That just isn’t the case internationally. Limited funds or infrastructure means that some scholars find it challenging to stay up to date in their fields and publish internationally. Publishing in open access journals or legally making work published in closed access journals open are ways that everyone can help promote equity.

Participating in eCommons is helpful for authors as well. With the built in Expert Gallery and reader dashboards, faculty can promote their work and see how many times it’s been downloaded and by which institutions. For more information on eCommons, please see our guide to getting started, or contact ecommons@luc.edu.

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