When your school ranking goes up 38 spots in one year, you know you are doing something right. This exciting story about Texas A&M University School of Law had us intrigued and we checked in with Susan Phillips, Professor of Law and Director of the Dee J. Kelly Law Library to learn more. As it turned out, Susan told us “there were many pieces of the puzzle, and Digital Commons was certainly one of them.”
Dean Andrew Morriss started at TAMU in 2014, with a commitment to building the reputation of institution and helping it rise in the ranks. Bolstered by support from the regents and with exciting plans for hiring, the school found that it had to work on visibility of its faculty scholarship and compete for high-level faculty in the recruitment process.
While many faculty were already using SSRN, Susan reports that Texas A&M Law Scholarship, their repository, helped create the broader visibility that Dean Morriss set to bring to TAMU. The Digital Commons Dashboard has helped demonstrate their impact. Since their repository was launched a year ago, TAMU scholarship has received over 20,000 downloads, with many of their readers coming from prominent law schools like Harvard, Columbia, and NYU; quite a few prominent law firms; and even readership from the Supreme Court, the Equal Opportunity Commission, and the Department of Justice.
Susan sends out the monthly report of top downloads and authors to the campus community which has resulted in some friendly competition that has built momentum and engagement with the IR. “Every time I send one of those emails, I get an inquiry from a faculty member about including their work in the IR,” Susan said.
This focus on serving faculty reputation and scholarship has also been key to their extensive SelectedWorks pages (created by the library, but maintained in partnership with faculty), which integrate seamlessly with the University’s faculty profile pages. As Susan puts it, “The message we are sending, to current faculty or those in the recruitment process, is that TAMU will do everything it can to promote your scholarship, get it read, and build your reputation in the field.”