Josh Cromwell, Institutional Repository Coordinator of The Aquila Digital Community at the University of Southern Mississippi, shares best practices for creating a successful IR day:
• Gather collaborative campus-wide support, including funds for the day’s activities.
• Request a recognized keynote speaker and other leaders in the field to participate.
• Remember that you only need one willing institution in a region in order to create a community-wide IR day.
Josh was originally inspired by the emphasis at ACRL’s 2014 Scholarly Communication Roadshow on the key importance of IRs in today’s scholarly landscape. If the University of Southern Mississippi was leading the IR movement in the region, Josh reasoned, “it seemed logical to me that we should leverage that opportunity to provide training and workshops for the other universities who were also interested in pursuing an IR of their own.” Indeed, the day became an inspiration to USM’s peers in the Mississippi region.
In creating the first Southern Mississippi IR Day in 2015, Josh spoke to the importance of a collaborative campus-wide effort to support the hosting institution:
“The Libraries generously provided most of the funding needed to make the event happen, and the Friends of the University Libraries generously provided funding to purchase lunch for all attendees. The day included a panel discussion with faculty members from each of our six academic colleges across campus, and several participants in our current IR initiatives also agreed to come and speak about their projects and experiences. This broad base of participation really enhanced the quality of the day’s presentations.”
The addition of a recognized keynote speaker and the participation of other leaders in the field also helped to offer a high level of discourse and lively sessions. Josh details their experience:
“We were tremendously honored to have Marilyn Billings from UMass Amherst agree to be our keynote speaker for the day, and in addition to her riveting keynote, she and Jeanne Pavy from the University of New Orleans each led incredibly helpful workshops during the afternoon session.”
Josh reports that “the response to the first IR Day has been overwhelmingly positive”—congratulations!—and many attendees are already looking forward to the next IR Day. In addition to the best practices above, the 2015 Scholarly Communications Experts Directory can help connect organizers with experts who may travel to their campus to partner in creating an IR Day. Feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.