What is CEDAR, and how can you contribute to it?

Alexandra Wiley
WWU Communications and Marketing intern

Western CEDAR (an acronym for Contributing to Education through Digital Access to Research) is an institutional repository that was launched in the fall of 2014 as a service of Western Libraries, in partnership with Western’s Graduate School, Office of the Provost, and the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

Institutional repositories offer a set of services for the management and dissemination of an institution’s intellectual and creative works – including articles, conference papers, and presentations, and even books – that are published via an open access model, making them freely available around the world.

“Part of the philosophy behind the open access movement is to make information, research outputs, and scholarship that could potentially benefit people freely available,” said Clarissa Mansfield, communications manager for Western Libraries.

“There is a social-equity component to it where it is about making everything available to everyone no matter your affiliation, or where you’re from. That’s one reason why Western CEDAR is so exciting, because not only is it part of a larger global movement that is concerned with social justice, but it’s also in alignment with Western’s values,” said Mansfield.

Institutional repositories were created as an alternative to the traditional model of scholarly communication that relied on commercial publishers for the publication of academic journals. The goal of open access is to remove pricing barriers, including the high price of subscriptions.

In 1999, a group of faculty members formed Berkley Electronic Press, now known as "bepress," and started the institutional repository Digital Commons as a solution to this expensive problem. Western CEDAR uses the publishing software suite created by bepress, which makes Western CEDAR part of the Digital Commons Network.

CEDAR provides a way for Western faculty members to create their own personalized research pages through the SelectedWorks feature, where they can present their work in a way that makes sense to them. Authors are able to create and manage their own accounts, or the CEDAR management team can do it for them.

“I’m a big fan of SelectedWorks. I love the way it is customizable, allowing the researcher to organize their works in ways that make sense. My research has a couple of main themes, and I was able to group my articles together along those lines,” said Brian Bowe, a SelectedWorks user and an assistant professor of Journalism at Western.

In addition to being search-engine optimized, when Western faculty create their own SelectedWorks pages to showcase their research, or when they publish their works in CEDAR, they also become part of the Digital Commons network, which offers yet another avenue for making their work accessible and findable. Users of the site are also given the option to follow faculty members in order to see when they publish new works, allowing users to tailor the website to meet their interests.

“I think it's really important for researchers to make their work accessible to people who might be interested in it. SelectedWorks helps me connect my ideas to scholars across a variety of disciplines. Those kinds of connections are so important in building a robust community of scholars,” Bowe said.

For those interested in viewing how Western CEDAR is being utilized around the globe, the CEDAR website includes a map where users can view in real time what works are being downloaded as well as where in the world the information is being accessed; authors are also given quarterly reports that include download statistics of their published works.

Because CEDAR is hosted in partnership with Western’s Graduate School, WWU’s graduate students also have the opportunity to publish their theses on the site, which are among the most downloaded content. In addition to electronic thesis publishing, CEDAR has multimedia capabilities for the students who create alternatives to the traditional thesis, such as presentations, films, recordings and artistic portfolios.

For more information about Western CEDAR, contact Jenny Oleen, Scholarly Communication librarian at Western at (360) 650-2613 or Jenny.Oleen@wwu.edu; or Kim Marsicek, Western CEDAR manager at (360) 650-7776 or Kim.Marsicek@wwu.edu.

Thursday, March 24, 2016 - 9:17am