Thousands of Wharton Faculty Papers Now Available on ScholarlyCommons

Some Thoughts

This announcement (reproduced below) comes after years of hard work by students and staff alike. When the Wharton School agreed to have all of their works made available in Penn’s institutional repository, it was, frankly, a daunting yet exciting task for one FTE and two student workers to take on. It took time to get proper workflows in place and to figure out how to handle so many permissions. We certainly didn’t do everything perfectly the first time around, and we learned a lot from our mistakes. As our team grew and we honed our workflows, we also learned a lot about our capabilities and strengths.

We learned that we can do a lot with a little. After much trial and error, we came up with a workflow that allows us to run permissions systematically using well-trained student workers. (You can do it, too – here’s all of our materials!) This method keeps our costs down, provides an educational experience for students, and allows us to go through massive amounts of materials systematically.

We learned that the strength of our services lies in our people, not in a certain technology or platform. The majority of our workflows and the processes require a person and a worksheet. That’s it. We didn’t need to buy a product or be on a certain platform or build anything to make this project happen. That means we can share these same workflows with others in the hopes that they can use and adapt it for their own purposes. While there is certainly opportunities for future automation, it is not a necessity or requirement.

We are ready to do this again. We’re ready to take on another school or large-scale project – to take what we learned and apply it to making more work openly available.

In this work, as with all of our permissions work, we see an increasing need for publisher transparency in their sharing preferences and in creating shared guidelines that might allow us to better understand what version can be shared, where, when, and any requirements for posting. We want to comply with publisher policies, and in our efforts to do so, we often run into ambiguities, contradictions, or a lack of useful information on publisher websites. We are increasingly interested in collaboratively working in this area and have taken steps to start these conversations, including an upcoming webinar on February 13 with SSP. Please do let us know if you are interested in working with us in this area.

We look forward to continuing this work, improving our workflows, and growing our open access collections into the future, and we are so excited to now be able to share just the tip of this iceberg with the world.

Sarah Wipperman
Kenny Whitebloom

The Announcement

The Penn Libraries is very pleased to announce that thousands of research papers from all academic departments of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania are now publicly available on ScholarlyCommons, the University of Pennsylvania’s open access institutional repository. Reflecting the core values of inclusion, innovation and impact in the Penn Compact 2020, ScholarlyCommons shares the exceptional works of Penn faculty, staff and students with local, national, and global audiences. With the support of Deputy Dean Michael Gibbons and the Wharton Faculty IT committee, the ScholarlyCommons team reviewed thousands of papers over the past year to verify copyright permissions for inclusion in the repository. By gathering Wharton research into a searchable repository, it is easier for scholars worldwide to discover, cite, and link to these materials.

To explore the Wharton Faculty research papers collection, visit

Journal publishers require authors to sign an agreement during the publication process, commonly known as a Copyright Transfer Agreement or “CTA,” which often precludes sharing or re-use of their published work unless the authors have negotiated for different rights or signed an author addendum. The ScholarlyCommons team reviewed a comprehensive set of Wharton faculty research papers going back decades in order to determine the details of those agreements and legally share the appropriate versions of those papers. The initial collection of more than 2,200 papers will continue to grow over the coming months and years as additional publications are cleared and added. The Wharton material was made available on the ScholarlyCommons site in late November 2017 and has already garnered over 21,000 downloads.

Penn faculty members whose work is not already included in ScholarlyCommons can take advantage of Faculty Assisted Submission, a free service offered by the library in which faculty publications are reviewed and added on their behalf. To get started, faculty (including untentured members) can upload their CV or list of publications here.

Penn librarians can also work with individual departments, centers, and programs to provide specific pages that highlight the research of their unit; see for example cross-disciplinary collaborations with the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative and the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics. Contact the ScholarlyCommons team for a consultation.

Wharton faculty should contact their Lippincott Library liaison librarian or the ScholarlyCommons team with questions or for more information about setting up accounts on ScholarlyCommons. These accounts provide download statistics for individual authors.

For more information about the Wharton Departmental Papers permissions review project, please visit the project FAQ.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s