Texas Digital Library Conference System, 2016 Texas Conference on Digital Libraries

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Modeling Tools to Ensure that Open Access Scholarly Publications are Publicly Useful: The Design and Impact of an OA Discovery Layer, Based at Texas A&M University Libraries
Bruce E. Herbert, Robert McGeachin, Sarah Potvin, Bennett Claire Ponsford, Anne L. Highsmith

Last modified: 2016-03-25


The Texas A&M University Libraries has developed and implemented a search portal (OAK Search) that bypasses the need for authentication and allows a user to search through a collection of open access materials. Working with Ex Libris, the vendor from which we licensed our Primo discovery layer, we installed a separate instance of Primo aimed at aggregating open access materials and making them accessible to the public. This dedicated portal drew from materials identified as open access from the Primo Central Index, a meta-aggregation of hundreds of millions of scholarly e-resources of global and regional importance, including journal articles, e-books, reviews, legal documents and more. We were also able to have OAK Trust open access items harvested into Primo Central and made available alongside harvests from other institutional repositories. In establishing this Portal to Open Access Resources, we identified materials that are legitimately open access (gratis) and that meet basic quality standards.

OAK Search was used by a small school district, Roscoe ISD, to support their efforts to transform science and math education through project-based learning.  Our 24x7 presentation will highlight the design of the open access search portal, our evaluation of the quality of the collection delivered to the students and teachers of Roscoe ISD, as well as their use of the portal.

Finally, our discussion will highlight how this project lead us to conclude that making scholarly work available through open access is a necessary but incomplete step for this work to benefit most of society outside of academia.


open access, discovery layers, societal impact

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