Visualizing open scholarship in the library

Oct 13, 2021 · Katie Wampole

Open Initiatives are a major component within the University Library Two-Year Framework, which states, "The Iowa State University Library upholds the values rooted in academic freedom and the land-grant mission of researching and sharing knowledge beyond the campus borders for the common good." Because of its importance, it has been incorporated into the ISU Library Assessment Plan, where Objective S3 aims to measure the, “expanding scope of Digital and Special Collections services.”

Intended to support decision making, the Library Assessment unit publishes an annual Fiscal Year Report that tracks progress related to goals and objectives articulated in the Library Assessment Plan. Narrative descriptions, statistical analysis, and data visualizations are included in the report. The FY2021 Report measures submission and download activities for both the ISU Digital Repository and DataShare, the ISU Open Data Repository, as part of Objective S3.

Digital Repository

Numbers show that there was an increase in both submission to and downloads from the Digital Repository in FY2021 compared to FY2020. There was a 21% increase in the number of uploads (Figure 1), and an 12% increase in downloads (Figure 2), which have trended upwards since FY2017. An important campus resource established in 2012, the repository continues to add content while it migrates to a new platform.

Figure 1










Figure 2








DataShare experienced a slight decrease in the number of submitted data set disclosure forms in FY2021 (n=35) compared to FY2020 (n=45) (Figure 3). COVID-19 impacts continued in FY2021, which may have impacted the number of disclosures submitted due to research disruptions.

Figure 3








Because datasets contain multiple files in a wide variety of formats, DataShare does not track the number of files uploaded but instead tracks the number of approved Data Set Disclosures processed each year. Disclosures and data sets usually have a 1:1 ratio but in some cases a disclosure may represent multiple data sets if the data is to be split into multiple parts, or is part of a series. To date, the largest number of data sets tied to one approved disclosure is thirty-six.

Despite the decrease in submitted disclosures, there was a 127% increase in the total number of downloads in FY2021 compared to FY2020 (Figure 4). Published data sets continue to attract larger audiences of researchers, both to the data and the actual repository itself.

Figure 4









With exponential growth for download counts in both repositories across several fiscal years, and upward trends in submission counts, the library is meeting its goals for knowledge sharing and accessible research. Our commitment to Open Scholarship will remain a priority as we strive to meet campus needs.

For more analysis on this section, as well as other information, visit the Report Section located on the Library Assessment webpage.