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Increasing Access to Drexel Research Outputs Strengthens Contributions to Scholarship

December 5, 2017

For any comprehensive global research university, capturing and disseminating faculty, staff and student research output is essential, albeit challenging. The advent of institutional repositories, however, has made it easier for institutions like Drexel to promote and share their research with a global audience.

Institutional repositories are digital collections that capture and preserve the intellectual output of a university. They make it possible for researchers, and informed laypeople, to discover an organization’s scholarly outputs, which may include datasets, dissertations, journal articles and more.

As is the case at many universities, Drexel looks to its Libraries to manage and maintain its institutional repository, called iDEA. With more than 100 years’ combined experience, the Drexel Libraries staff uses their knowledge of scholarly communications, metadata and preservation practices to ensure the continued growth and success of the repository and thus the University’s contributions to global scholarship.

iDEA: The Drexel University Institutional Repository

iDEA is a multipurpose repository that is organized into several collections, providing online access to everything from Drexel’s historical records to research to select digital collections like the Frank Fox Polish Poster Collection.

It is in its capacity as a “research repository” that iDEA can be used to share Drexel’s scholarly output with people from around the world.

For example, the Drexel Research Collection in iDEA contains both published and unpublished work of Drexel University faculty, staff and students, including papers, posters and other research outputs. While most items in the repository are open access, some content has access and reuse restrictions, depending on copyright and donor agreements.

iDEA also includes the University’s Theses & Dissertations Collection, which provides full-text access to Drexel’s doctoral dissertations dating back to 2006, as well as selected older works. In fact, this body of Drexel-created scholarship continues to grow. In 2016, the University’s Graduate College began requiring that master’s theses — in addition to dissertations — be submitted electronically to IDEA. Graduate capstone projects are also archived in the repository.

Expanding Discovery of Research  

Libraries staff continuously look for more ways to improve iDEA to ensure maximum exposure and impact of Drexel research. The more accessible research is, the more likely it is to be used and cited by other researchers, which enhances researchers’ reputations – and that of their institution – over time.

Most recently, the Libraries added ORCID IDs (Open Researcher and Contributor IDs) to the metadata it collects about Drexel authors who have content stored in iDEA. These alphanumeric codes link researchers to their scholarly activities (like published articles, dissertations or data sets) and prevent researchers with similar names or institutional affiliation from being confused for one another.

By implementing ORCIDs and continually growing iDEA’s collection, the Libraries makes it easier for global researchers to access Drexel-generated research, increasing exposure to the University and its scholarly outputs.

For more information about iDEA, visit

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