About Author: Wendy Robertson

Posts by Wendy Robertson


Worldwide Use of IRO

The publications in Iowa Research Online (IRO) are very widely used. From July 2014–June 2015, the items were downloaded more than 1.5 million times!

This map shows the downloads of content from IRO during the last fiscal year. Adjust the map in the window below to see more countries. Move your cursor over the map to see the counts from each country.  You can also see a large version of the map.

If you want to include your scholarship in IRO to increase its global reach, contact you subject specialist at the University Libraries.


5 million downloads

We are very excited to have had 5 million downloads in Iowa Research Online! We had 4 million downloads in November, so this last million happened in only about 6 months. Some of this growth is attributable to the fantastic content added recently (such as the State Historical Society journal Annals of Iowa, back to 1863).

IRO map showing 5 million downloads

While we don’t know exactly what download made us cross the 5 million mark, these items all received higher use around the time we made it to 5 million.


Open Access Fund Articles in IRO

Two years ago, the University Libraries and the Provost’s Office launched an Open Access Fund to pay the processing fees related to open access publishing.

The fund is meant to encourage the University community to publish their research in open access platforms. The open access publishing model allows free, immediate access to research and allows authors to retain intellectual property rights to their research. To recoup publishing costs, some open access journals charge article processing fees to make the work freely available online. More information about the fund can be found here.

To date, 73 funded items have been funded, published and added to our institutional repository, with 10 published in 2015, 40 2014, and 23 in 2013. An additional 17 items have been approved and are awaiting publication. The author publishing charges for these 73 articles total $101,605.03, for an average cost of $1,391.85.

The articles come from a wide variety of colleges, with majority of articles having authors in the Carver College of Medicine and in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

University of Iowa Open Access fund article counts by College, 23 April 2015Open access journals which charge author fees are more common in the sciences. Our collection of articles is similarly heavy in the sciences.

University of Iowa Open Access fund article counts by Department/School/Program, 23 April 2015

Most of the articles are in journals that are completely open access. A few are in hybrid journals. (If you have an item in a hybrid journal, you can may be able to post a version of the article in IRO without paying an additional fee. Contact your subject specialist for more information.) One article is available freely on the publisher’s site, but we cannot add it to our collection, in part because the publisher required that the authors give away their copyright of the article to the publisher as a condition of publication.

We are very happy to have been able to support open scholarship at the University of Iowa with this fund.


IRO Highlights for Black History Month

Here are some highlights from our digital collections for black history month.

These three books are available as free PDFs online. They were published in the University of Iowa Press Singular Lives series.

Fly in the Buttermilk - coverFly in the Buttermilk: The Life Story of Cecil Reed
Cecil Reed
Priscilla Donovan

Born in 1913 in Collinsville, Illinois, Cecil Reed has lived all his life in the Midwest as a black man among whites. This self-styled fly in the buttermilk worked among whites with such skill and grace that they were barely aware of his existence—unless he wanted to get a bank loan or move into their neighborhood. Now, in his lively and optimistic autobiography, he speaks of his resilience throughout a life spent working peacefully but passionately for equality.

The Making of a Black Scholar: From Georgia to the Ivy League - cover
The Making of a Black Scholar: From Georgia to the Ivy League
Horace A. Porter

This captivating and illuminating book is a memoir of a young black man moving from rural Georgia to life as a student and teacher in the Ivy League as well as a history of the changes in American education that developed in response to the civil rights movement, the war in Vietnam, and affirmative action. Born in 1950, Horace Porter starts out in rural Georgia in a house that has neither electricity nor running water. In 1968, he leaves his home in Columbus, Georgia—thanks to an academic scholarship to Amherst College—and lands in an upper-class, mainly white world. Focusing on such experiences in his American education, Porter’s story is both unique and representative of his time.

The Making of a Black Scholar is structured around schools. Porter attends Georgia’s segregated black schools until he enters the privileged world of Amherst College. He graduates (spending one semester at Morehouse College) and moves on to graduate study at Yale. He starts his teaching career at Detroit’s Wayne State University and spends the 1980s at Dartmouth College and the 1990s at Stanford University.

Porter writes about working to establish the first black studies program at Amherst, the challenges of graduate study at Yale, the infamous Dartmouth Review, and his meetings with such writers and scholars as Ralph Ellison, Tillie Olsen, James Baldwin, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. He ends by reflecting on an unforeseen move to the University of Iowa, which he ties into a return to the values of his childhood on a Georgia farm. In his success and the fulfillment of his academic aspirations, Porter represents an era, a generation, of possibility and achievement.

My Iowa Journey - coverMy Iowa Journey: The Life Story of the University of Iowa’s First African American Professor
Philip G. Hubbard

Philip Hubbard’s life story begins in 1921 in Macon, a county seat in the Bible Belt of north central Missouri, whose history as a former slave state permeated the culture of his childhood. When he was four his mother moved her family 140 miles north to Des Moines in search of the greater educational opportunity that Iowa offered African American students. In this recounting of the effects of that journey on the rest of his life, Phil Hubbard merges his private and public life and career into an affectionate, powerful, and important story. Hubbard graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in electrical engineering in 1946; by 1954 he had received his Ph.D. in hydraulics. The College of Engineering extended a warm academic welcome, but nonacademic matters were totally different: Hubbard was ineligible for the housing and other amenities offered to white students. Intelligent, patient, keenly aware of discrimination yet willing to work from within the university system, he advanced from student to teacher to administrator, retiring in 1991 after decades of leadership in the classroom and the conference room. Hubbard’s major accomplishments included policies that focused on human rights; these policies transformed the makeup of students, faculty, and staff by seeking to eliminate discrimination based on race, religion, or other nonacademic factors and by substituting affirmative action for the traditional old-boy methods of selecting faculty and administrators. At the same time that he was advancing the cause of human rights and cultural diversity in education, his family was growing and thriving, and his descriptions of home life reveal one source of his strength and inspiration. The decades that Hubbard covers were vital in the evolution of the nation and its educational institutions. His dedication to the agenda of public higher education has always been matched by his sensitivity to the negative effects of discrimination and his gentle perseverance toward his goals of inclusion, acceptance, and fairness. His vivid personal and institutional story will prove valuable at this critical juncture in America’s racial history.


IRO January 2015 usage

Content in Iowa Research Online was downloaded 131,084 times in January, a 19% increase over January 2015. The items receiving the most use were all theses:

The items with the greatest percentage increase in use compared with the previous month were

These include theses as well as an article in Medieval Feminist Forum and a book review podcast.

If you are interested in all of our usage data for all series, we have links to the data on our website.


1.5 Million downloads from IRO in 2014!

Iowa Research Online had an impressive 1,506,333 items downloaded in 2014. When all supplemental content is included, this number increases to 1,558,358! IRO currently has 16,209 full text items, 1,521 supplements and 118 streaming items (not included in download numbers).

While most use came from the United States, 15% of the use came from other places, including the United Kingdom, India, Canada, Germany and Australia, and 187 other countries.

Our theses and dissertations are downloaded more than anything else in IRO. All together, they total close to 60% of the total downloads!

Almost one third of the total downloads come from our books, journals and magazines. Walt Whitman Quarterly Review and Medieval Feminist Forum receive the most use.

Our highest use items are

Congratulations to all the authors and journal editors!


IRO December 2014 Usage

While their total downloads was not the highest in IRO, these items had the greatest percentage increase of use in December compared with November.

These five items include a dissertation, a book from UI Press, an issue of 19th century magazine and a two journal articles. One of the journal articles come from our locally published journal, Poroi.

Our most downloaded items in December were very similar to the top items for November:

The twitter data stream had the most use by far.


IRO November 2014 Usage

We regularly look at usage information for Iowa Research Online. The software shows us the 10 items receiving the most downloads overall (total use is averaged out across how long the item has been publicly (freely) available), which allows new items to enter the top ten. However, this list tends to remain similar from month to month (and day to day). Looking at the number of downloads for a specific month sometimes highlights different items, but typically the most used items remain similar across months.

The most used items for November were:

Other than the first item, they all appear on the most popular papers list.

In order to find other items that are seeing an increase in their usage, we have begun comparing the use of an item with the previous month. These items may not have had the largest use overall, but the number of downloads was quite a bit higher in November than in October.

Congratulations to the authors of the works!


Four Million Downloads!

Items in Iowa Research Online have been downloaded more than four million times! This means that scholarship created by University of Iowa faculty, researchers and students is being read around the world. We crossed the three million mark in late January 2014; it is so very exciting to have had such an increase in just over nine months that we are dancing in our cubicles.

ancers at a party at Esther Walls' apartment, New York, N.Y., 1960s

Our theses and dissertation make up over half the use, which is great evidence of the fantastic scholarship done by our graduates. The journals Walt Whitman Quarterly Review and Medieval Feminist Forum each have had two-three hundred thousand downloads. Congratulations to the editors of these journals for producing such quality publications.

Walt Whitman Quarterly Review

If you would like your scholarship in Iowa Research Online, please contact your subject specialist for more information.


Use of Older Theses

By far the most heavily used collection in Iowa Research Online are our theses and dissertations. Most of the items in the collection are from the last decade, either from graduates who voluntarily submitted their thesis electronically or dating from after December 1999 graduation when electronic submission required by the Graduate College for all non-M.F.A graduates. All of them are freely available worldwide (after an embargo period, if requested).

We have also digitized a small number of older theses. We digitize items when requested by an interested reader, with the copyright holder’s permission. We are also posting digitized out of copyright theses as time allows. As one would expect, these items do not receive nearly as much use as the newer theses. However, we are pleased to see that they are receiving steady use, far more than the print theses circulated.

In all, these 217 theses have been downloaded 20,966 times, used on average once every 5 days. In fact, six items have averaged more than 1.2 uses/day, including two that have been downloaded more than 1000 times!  In early May 2010 we ran a report to count circulation of theses, with data covering the previous five years. The highest use of any thesis was 60 circulations. The 2nd highest number was 16. Only 5,695 showed any circulations (average circulations 2.6 for those that circulated and 0.7 overall). 

Graduation Year Title Author Degree Use/Day Total Downloads
1914 Morphology of cannabis sativa L Reed, Joyce Master of Science 2.023 534
1921 The development of Milton’s prosody Hunter, Grace Eva Master of Arts 1.204 236
1931 The catenary Kacmarynski, J. P. Master of Science 1.521 1,217
1949 A formal analysis of Hawthorne’s The Blithedale romance Levang, Lewis Dwight Master of Arts 2.024 498
1961 The Production book of “The Diary of Anne Frank” Longacre, Allan Kurtz II Master of Arts 1.219 1,403
2008 Teacher-initiated talk and student oral discourse in a second language literature classroom : a sociocultural analysis Thoms, Joshua J Doctor of Philosophy 1.320 545

If you are interested in having your thesis digitized and added to our open access collection, please let us know by submitting this permission form (PDF).