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Office of Research Compliance and Integrity: Update on the Huskie Commons Digital Repository

By Shannon Wapole 

The Huskie Commons, NIU’s new digital repository, is an easy and effective way for scholars to share and preserve their research. A data repository is a digital collection of the intellectual output of an institution and offers a way to store and disseminate articles, dissertations, and thesis. Currently, there are over 4,000 files in the Huskie Commons.

The Huskie Commons is considered an open-access network in which any person may view the saved files, maximizing visibility. When an NIU researcher makes a deposit in the Huskie Commons, the researcher is given a permanent URL which removes any risk of a broken link. Importantly, the Huskie Commons is not for storing temporary data. All files will be stored permanently and the author must retain copyright in order to publish any articles on the Commons.

There are many benefits to using the Huskie Commons. For example, if a researcher saves work to the Huskie Commons, versions of the research will be available to a worldwide audience. All articles saved in the Huskie Commons are searchable through the NIU website, Google scholar, and general search engines. Further, the Commons is not limited to articles; researchers can make all types of materials available to the public including large datasets, rich media formats, audio, video, and graphic images. As Kristin Duffy writes in her article on Big Data, a growing concern exists over how to maintain and manage the mass quantities of data that are generated in our high tech environment. The Huskie Commons is an institutional tool designed to assist NIU researchers in this effort.

Federal agencies seek to make publicly sponsored research available as broadly as possible; therefore, researchers seeking sponsored funding may find requirements to include a data management plan at the grant proposal stage.  NSF, for example, requires a data management plan at the proposal stage.  The Huskie Commons can fulfill most requirements for such a plan.   

A variety of websites provide helpful information. The University of California Curation Center (UC3) has developed the DMPTool to help researchers create a plan that meets agency requirements. Additional links are available on the Office of Research Compliance and Integrity’s website. General questions regarding data management may be directed to the Office of Research Compliance and Integrity. Researchers seeking assistance in developing a data management plan for a particular funding proposal should work with the Office of Sponsored Projects as part of the proposal development process.

Researchers seeking to store data on the Huskie Commons should contact Stacey Erdman, Technology Coordinator for the University Libraries.  The Huskie Commons can be found at commons.lib.niu.edu.

In support of education about Open Access, the University Libraries will host “Open Access Week” from October 21 to October 25.  Guest speakers will cover a variety of topics. On Friday, October 25th, Senator Daniel Biss is scheduled to present information regarding Bill SB1900, Higher Ed-Open Access Research.  More information will be available on the Founder’s Memorial Library website.

Shannon Wapole
Research Integrity Coordinator