Bringing Scholars to the Limelight: Preliminary Results of a Study on Touro Scholar

A glimpse of Touro Scholar
A glimpse of Touro Scholar

You may have seen earlier blog posts hinting at a new library service called Touro Scholar. OK, so we’ve mentioned it a little. But what is it? It’s Touro’s new institutional repository, launched in April 2016, which showcases the full breadth of the scholarship of the Touro College and University System (TCUS), including New York Medical College (NYMC). Unlike the Faculty Publications Database, Touro Scholar will have full text articles, data sets, and even video.Because this is such a new tool, we at the Libraries wanted to make sure we got it right. Therefore, we’ve been rolling it out veeeerrry slowly. So if you haven’t really heard of it before now, that’s OK!

We were curious who had heard about it after the launch, however, especially after we began official promotions of it. We also wanted to find out what the TCUS community knew in general about institutional repositories and academic social networks (Academia.edu, ResearchGate, etc.). With that in mind, NYMC librarians Melissa Spangenberg, Shawn Manning, and I created a research proposal that included a questionnaire that would be sent out to the whole of the TCUS system twice, first before we had started promoting Touro Scholar, and after. We recently presented our preliminary results at the regional Tri-Chapter MLA meeting.

Melissa Spangenberg and Carrie Levinson presenting at the Tri-Chapter MLA Meeting
Melissa Spangenberg and Carrie Levinson presenting at the Tri-Chapter MLA Meeting

What did we find? Right now, we’re still in the promotional stage, and have only deployed the first questionnaire. This has given us a baseline of faculty, graduate student, and staff knowledge.

Of 584 responses:

  • 27% identified as graduate students, 18.81% as full-time faculty, and 4.99% as part-time faculty.
  • Less than half (45.37%) of respondents knew about subject repositories, such as ArXiV or PubMed Central. PubMed was often the repository used if respondents had previously deposited their work.
  • 33% of respondents were familiar with academic social networks such as ResearchGate and edu.
  • Only 20.04% of respondents had heard of Touro Scholar.
  • Over half (58.29%) of respondents would be interested in depositing their work in Touro Scholar.

There were multiple reasons for respondents to deposit in Touro Scholar:widget_812859376263We’re very thankful to our respondents, and the many people who stopped to ask us questions about our poster, many of whom are also starting institutional repositories at their colleges and universities. We now have a better idea of how much people know about repositories, and how we can help them learn more. We also know what we have to work on to allay concerns about copyright, amount of time, and privacy issues. As we continue the study, we will keep everyone updated on our results.

Look for flyers, brochures, workshops, and more announcements about Touro Scholar coming soon!

Contributed by: Carrie Levinson, Scholarly Communications Librarian

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