As the celebrations of eScholarship’s 20th anniversary continue, we turn our attention to our longstanding relationship with UC Irvine and our successful partnership on both the repository and journals sides of the program. 

UC Irvine boasts ​​10 journals and 59 campus department homepages in eScholarship, showcasing the breadth of research at UCI – in the arts and social sciences, as well as earth, biological, and medical sciences. To date, open access (OA) content on the UCI eScholarship site has received a staggering 13.5 million views: if one of the goals of OA is to reach a wide readership, then UCI has achieved this in spades!

UCI was the first campus to participate in the 2019 launch of the systemwide Presidential Open Access Policy. This significant undertaking has allowed researchers at UCI to make their articles available open access in the eScholarship repository, regardless of where they were originally published, including in subscription-based journals. 

Management of this work and ongoing education about OA practices and support of the eScholarship program fall under the stewardship of Mitchell Brown, Scholarly Communications Coordinator; Research Librarian for Chemistry, Earth System Sciences, and Russian Studies, at UCI. 

Mitchell’s day-to-day work includes offering information and advice to faculty, staff, and students as they navigate open access policies and copyright issues, as well as supporting them in their efforts to establish open access journals. According to Mitchell, eScholarship provides a mechanism for framing those conversations and encouraging the UCI academic community to share its research more broadly: “eScholarship offers a way to highlight the research coming from UC Irvine. Authors can share research publications beyond their academic disciplines, with the people of California and the world. In addition to facilitating the open sharing of cutting-edge STEM research, open access provides access to art, culture, creative expression, and humanistic inquiry, supporting  the UC Irvine research and education missions.”

Reflecting on the highlights of UCI’s engagement with the eScholarship program over the years, Mitchell calls out the following: 

  • In 2013, the Earth Sciences department blazed a trail for OA when it committed to creating a collection of campus author research publications.[This] open set of publications was used by the department communications team to highlight faculty contributions and to frame public relations opportunities. Increasing awareness of faculty contributions to science and learning helped publicize faculty research, which proved highly useful when developing grant relationships and attracting funding sources.”
  • The Western Journal of Emergency Medicine (WestJEM), a faculty-managed journal launched on eScholarship in 2000, has become a highly successful exemplar of OA campus-based publishing. From the beginning, WestJEM has benefited from “a dedicated publisher and editorial staff, and the willingness to be forward-thinking – for example to include DOIs for published articles, and getting the journal indexed by PubMed, Web of Science (now Clarivate), EMBASE, and Scopus added to the journal’s profile.” Mitchell also celebrates how open access aligns with the journal’s ethos: “Since it first began publishing, WestJEM has focused on how the systems and delivery of emergency care affect health, health disparities, and health outcomes in communities and populations worldwide, including the impact of social conditions on the composition of patients seeking care in emergency departments.”  
  • Most recently, eScholarship has provided a mechanism for the OA distribution of life-saving research during the height of the pandemic. “New research from campus researchers on Zika, Ebola, and SARS-CoV-2 (Covid), when added to eScholarship at the time of publication, allowed researchers to reach broader audiences–both global communities of researchers and also people looking for accurate, factual, and credible information in a moment of crisis.” In fact, Mitchell notes, “Referrals from Google were four times greater in 2020-21 than in 2019, and faculty found that their research was being read and used more through the eScholarship platform. Some campus faculty chose to add their research to eScholarship to support teaching during this time, to enable wider awareness of their work and to help students who could not access print research library materials.” 

Looking to the future, Mitchell sees Open Educational Resources (OER) as an emerging area of open access publishing and wonders whether eScholarship might expand its remit to deliver educational materials to students in support of an open educational model. He also acknowledges a range of new scholarly communication formats that could transform the traditional journal landscape, including oral histories, video, sound recordings, graphics, and animations

If these past few years have taught us anything, it’s that the future is unpredictable. Regardless of what is to come, eScholarship intends to make the next twenty years as transformative as the first, and we thank Mitchell for his reflections on his work with UC Irvine and for his continued support of eScholarship!


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