This post was written by the Scholarly Communication Department summer graduate assistant, Ruthann E. Miller
This post is the first in a series that aims to highlight and showcase interesting, integral, and open scholarship in the IUScholarWorks repository. IUScholarWorks currently contains more than 8,000 unique items submitted by scholars, students, and professionals from a variety of disciplines. With all of this content, what interests readers the most?
The repository offers a section on statistics that conveniently provide the top 10 most viewed items. These results have a surprising nugget nestled away in the number 5 spot. It is a dissertation entitled, A Performer’s Guide to the Saxophone Music of Bernhard Heiden. The dissertation was written in 1999 by Thomas Walsh and later deposited into the repository in 2006. The dissertation is shared under a Creative Commons license, which is not uncommon for items authored by scholars from the Jacobs School of Music. A Creative Commons license (CC) comes in different varieties, but they all allow the author of a work to decide to allow others to freely distribute, share, and build upon their material while still retaining ownership. This particular dissertation is licensed under a CC BY-NC-ND 2.5, which means the author allows anyone to copy and redistribute the work in any medium or format. However, the author does not allow the dissertation to be used for commercial purposes and it is not permissible to alter the work. The dissertation earned the fifth position with 7,644 views. To put this into perspective, number four on the list has 8,372 and number six has 6,714.
This particular item is important for a number of reasons. First, it is a dissertation. Dissertations are arguably one of the most important steps in a scholar’s early career. They also tend to fill gaps in the literature and explore foundational disciplinary concepts or trends in greater detail. This particular dissertation is incredibly popular, as denoted by its place in the top five. Of the top five items, one is an article on why the drinking age should be lowered, two are technical reports from IU’s scientific community, and one is a journal article on education. There are no other dissertations in the top five items. Not only did a dissertation crack the top five, but it is also the only one in the top ten!
The focus Thomas Walsh applies to the work of Bernard Heiden is fascinating. Walsh spends time providing a biographical sketch of Heiden as well as historical background on Heiden’s pieces that include saxophone. Much of the personal information included in the dissertation was obtained from several interviews Walsh conducted with Heiden. His final interview was in May 1999 and, unfortunately, Heiden passed away in April 2000. Heiden had a close connection with the Jacobs School of Music and was the chair of the composition department until retiring in 1974.
A Performer’s Guide to the Saxophone Music of Bernhard Heiden by Thomas Walsh also showcases the importance of making research open access. As most graduate students in the humanities can confirm, it is notoriously difficult to access dissertations, especially older ones or works connected to universities that have not promoted open access to their graduate students and faculty. Due to this, there is often information that does not find its way into new research simply due to information barriers. IU’s repository, however, provides access to a broad range of items that were formerly out of reach, including dissertations. Now, the research and efforts of newly minted scholars can be attained and used to the fullest potential. By making materials openly available, IUScholarWorks facilitates the use of the information contained within dissertations to reach new audiences and promote the spread of ideas. This dissertation is just one example of how much impact open access can have on the world of academia.
What item(s) in IUScholarWorks do you view most? How are they unique?
To view the complete list of the highest viewed items in IUScholarWorks, visit our statistics page.