2018 IR All-Star: Yvonne Desmond, Dublin Institute of Technology

Yvonne Desmond’s passionate promotion of open access publishing, combined with her tireless outreach to faculty and campus stakeholders, are just a few of the reasons we’re excited to honor her as a 2018 IR All-Star. As Digital Services and Research Librarian, her expert management of Dublin Institute of Technology’s repository, ARROW@DIT, has helped increase the impact of DIT’s scholarship through her innovative and inclusive publication policies. Raising DIT’s profile has helped propel it up the ranks in Ireland’s higher education system, leading to DIT becoming Technological University Dublin in January 2019—an historic development in Ireland’s higher education system.

Yvonne first took on the idea that libraries are the ‘universities of the people’ as a public librarian and now applies this approach to managing DIT’s repository: “There should be equity of access to knowledge and information.” She points out that Institutes of Technology in Ireland are often at a financial disadvantage with tight budgets, which makes championing open access and showcasing their scholarship all the more important.

DIT was the first institution in Ireland to implement an open access policy. Faculty have been receptive to OA publications in the IR; Yvonne says “it has allowed them to showcase other formats apart from articles in academic journals. In fact, the most downloaded paper in the repository is an unpublished paper on quantity surveying. We have stuck rigidly, despite pressure, to the rule that all items in the repository must be full text and this is why our downloads have always been high. I do not believe in metadata records only!”

This strategy of posting full-text, open access material, coupled with the feedback researchers get via the Digital Commons Dashboard, has made for strong faculty-student-library partnerships and a thriving IR. Despite “feeling like a stalker hunting down academics in corridors” early in the process, Yvonne’s intensive outreach efforts paid off: Arrow@DIT now has 6 ½ million downloads and offers over 12,400 publications including 12 peer-reviewed journals (one in Scopus), ETDs and other student work, the globally recognized Gastronomy Archive, and a highly successful conference (The Dublin Gastronomy Symposium) with OA proceedings.

Yvonne has presented on the importance of OERs and digital scholarly publishing in Ireland, and recently presented at euroCRIS on open data. She has her eye on ways to position DIT’s repository as a leader in the European commitment to Open Access scholarship. Please join us in congratulating Yvonne on her outstanding contributions!