Scholarship at Penn Libraries

Document Type


Date of this Version


Publication Source

CNI Fall 2017 Membership Meeting


The scholarly communication landscape has changed significantly over the past few years: open access continues to grow, more people expect to be able to read articles for free online, and researchers are creating and disseminating new types of digital scholarship. The University of Pennsylvania (Penn) Libraries has seen these changes reflected in our institutional repository (IR), ScholarlyCommons: this past fiscal year saw more than 2 million documents downloaded worldwide and a 280% increase in contributions compared to 4 years ago. Within the last 2 years, management of our IR moved from Collections to a newly formed Digital Scholarship department, which also supports digital humanities, data curation, and GIS. Within this context, the unexpected acquisition of bepress by Elsevier in August opened questions of how to proceed with our suite of library repositories and platforms. In response to this acquisition, and to libraries' experiences with Elsevier in the past, Penn Libraries, a bepress Digital Commons customer, released a statement announcing that we are exploring new options for our IR platform in order to exit bepress ("Operation beprexit"). We see beprexit as an opportunity to rethink the range of repository services we offer our community, taking into consideration the functionality previously offered by bepress, the capacities in the new Samvera-based repository our IT department is developing, and the lessons learned from the rest of the digital scholarship activities, including Data Refuge. This opportunity will allow us to reshape our growing scholarly communications program as we expand to house new types of data and scholarly publications and increase our footprint of open access publications. In this briefing, we will discuss our plan to re-imagine what an IR should and could do and what beprexit means for the larger digital scholarship landscape. We will present the process through which we plan to:

  • assess our community needs and capacities
  • identify alternatives to bepress
  • engage the larger community in this as a collaborative effort


This presentation was delivered at the Fall 2017 CNI Membership meeting in Washington, D.C (December 11-12, 2017). For more information about the conference agenda, visit



Date Posted: 12 January 2018