ScholarlyCommons disseminates Penn research around the world

Penn’s campus is a physical hub for some of the greatest minds in academia, from design, engineering, and humanities, to medicine, education, and business.

To represent the University’s collective brainpower in the digital landscape, Penn Libraries manages ScholarlyCommons, an online repository for Penn’s intellectual output that allows curious readers from anywhere in the world to access the University’s groundbreaking research.

This year, ScholarlyCommons celebrates its 10th anniversary of disseminating knowledge in the form of journal articles, multimedia, video, podcasts, data sets, and more in West Philadelphia and beyond.

“For Penn’s faculty, staff, and students, ScholarlyCommons is a place to store all of their scholarly work, wrap it in a nice bow, and deliver it to the world,” says Sarah Wipperman, repository services manager and analyst for Penn Libraries.

Since its inception, ScholarlyCommons has hosted nearly 20,000 papers from Penn researchers, garnering more than 6.6 million full-text downloads around the globe. Wipperman says that number increases nearly every minute—a feat that can be witnessed in real time via ScholarlyCommons’ interactive readership map.

“The map on our homepage shows Penn’s global impact,” Wipperman says. “As little pins pop up across the map you can see people all over the world accessing our papers.”

Wipperman says ScholarlyCommons’ local, national, and global impact is just one way Penn Libraries strives to meet goals set forth in President Amy Gutmann’s Penn Compact 2020. By providing free access to thousands of Penn’s multidisciplinary works, ScholarlyCommons also addresses the Compact’s priorities to increase access and integrate knowledge.

“Journal prices everywhere are rising, and many people can’t actually read a lot of the research being done. With ScholarlyCommons, there aren’t any pay walls, and it’s easily accessible,” Wipperman says.

First launched in 2004 as a pilot project between Penn Libraries and the School of Engineering and Applied Science, ScholarlyCommons also provides multiple benefits for the researchers who contribute to it. In addition to increased visibility and effective search-engine optimization, ScholarlyCommons provides Penn researchers with monthly analytics and persistent URLs to archive and preserve their work online.

“We just host the space—the schools, centers, and departments have full editorial control,” Wipperman says. “This is their opportunity to promote content they want to get out into the world.”

For more information about ScholarlyCommons and to access Penn’s wealth of research, visit

To learn how to contribute Penn research to ScholarlyCommons, visit