FIU Digital Commons surpasses 2 million downloads

Lizandra Portal/Staff Writer

FIU’s Digital Commons has gone viral and reached beyond FIU’s physical borders, achieving more than two million downloads.

Screenshot from

Screenshot from

Digital Commons is an online service which provides free access to creative and scholarly works by members of the University. The website hosts a variety of materials such as faculty working papers, journals, and conference proceedings according to Jamie Rogers, assistant director of digital collections. Rogers said the most popular commons are the University’s electronic theses and dissertations.

There are more than 14,000 items in Digital Commons and the hit rate continues to increase, according to Rogers, with a rate of about 500,000 downloads per year. The service has been used in 202 countries and territories and over 7,000 institutions.

“The content is generated by FIU, but it’s open to the world,” Rogers said.

On the Digital Commons homepage, there is a real-time map that shows where and when anything in the FIU Digital Commons library is being in the world.

The benefits of digital commons, also known as the Institutional Repository, include helping students who are curious about what type of research is being done at the University, like senior broadcast journalism major Cristhian Plasencia.

“I visited the site once just out of curiosity. I was working on [a] paper, but I decided to browse around to see what kind of research is being done in the department of journalism,” said Plasencia.

Some of the work the BBC student found had even been published by one of his own professors regarding sea level rise, a subject that had been discussed in class.  

“It brought depth and [was] quite more insightful in what was briefly covered in class,” Plasencia said.

But what Plasencia likes the most about FIU’s Digital Commons is the free access.

“Databases that are from other institutions probably come [at] the expense of paying for it, so knowing you can download it for free is a bonus,” said Plasencia. And while 2 million downloads is a significant milestone, it was never a concrete goal to obtain, according to Anne Prestamo, dean of libraries.

“Those big numbers are always aspirational goals,” Prestamo said.

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Screenshot from

One of the biggest pros of the Digital Commons surpassing this number of downloads, according to Prestamo, is the publicity FIU is receiving for the research work being done at the University.

“As we get more and more exposure… that just gradually ramps up the number of downloads that we’re getting. This really is a means of leveraging the technologies provided by the web to garner much greater visibility for FIU as the center of research,” said Prestamo.

Lizandra Portal/Panther Press Data provided by FIU Library

Lizandra Portal/Panther Press
Data provided by FIU Libraries

Worldwide open access to Digital Commons doesn’t just mean access to free information for people worldwide and publicity for FIU, according to Rogers. It could also be something to add to a resume for those who have had their work published in the Commons.

Rogers says that the service helps faculty members as well as students, as it keeps track of the works that each faculty member has contributed to the Digital Commons.

“So, if they are going for tenure promotion, or anything they are trying to show the value of the work that they are doing, this makes it very easy and accessible to say, ‘I have five open access works and they’ve been downloaded a total of 500 times this past year,’”  said Rogers.

Databases can be accessed worldwide through search engines like Google, but for FIU students the easiest way to find helpful scholarly material is  


Photo courtesy of Flickr

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