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Happy First Birthday to DigitalHub


By Violeta Ilik, Head, Digital Systems and Collection Services

A year ago, during 2015 Open Access Week, Galter Health Sciences Library debuted Northwestern Medicine’s institutional repository, DigitalHub. DigitalHub provides a portal for making the scholarly output of Northwestern Medicine faculty and scientists publicly available, and also provides a means to track views and downloads. The repository can accommodate all of your scholarly products, such as published or unpublished research papers, conference presentations, educational materials, case reports and technical reports, open access books, datasets, and more.

DigitalHub offers users several key benefits, including:  a persistent, citable identifier (DOI), metrics for deposited items, management of licensing with a wide range of rights statements, and enhanced discoverability with machine-readable metadata.

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What is DigitalHub and how can it help me?

The goals of DigitalHub are to preserve intellectual works created by the Northwestern Medicine scholarly community, to enhance the visibility of Northwestern Medicine scholarship, and to promote its authors by enabling discovery and accessibility of these works by the international scientific community.

The repository provides stable, long-term storage and ongoing maintenance for content contained within it. Materials are submitted directly by authors with an active Northwestern University NetID.

Examples of items that the repository can accommodate at this time include:

  • Research papers, published or unpublished
  • Conference papers and presentations (including lectures)
  • Educational materials
  • Case reports, technical reports
  • Supporting multimedia images
  • Posters
  • Open access books
  • Datasets
    …and more
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DigitalHub and Persistent Identifiers: DOI and ARK

This last year has seen upgrades and enhancements to the DigitalHub infrastructure and service. One of the most popular features is the partnership with California Digital Library to assign persistent unique identifiers -- Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) and Archival Resource Keys (ARKs) -- to all of the open access scholarly works deposited into DigitalHub. This ensures reliable data management, data sharing, and citation tracking. A "persistent identifier" will not change if the item is moved or renamed, and thus provides for reliable referencing of scholarly works for future access by humans and software. Read more about how DOIs and ARKs can benefit you and your research.

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DigitalHub Now Supports Datasets

The DigitalHub repository at Galter Health Sciences Library now supports the deposit of datasets associated with publications to help investigators comply with journal data sharing policies. DigitalHub supports a variety of file and compression formats to meet your needs. Read more about the types of files DigitalHub supports.

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DigitalHub Highlights

One of the most popular scholarly works deposited in DigitalHub is a user guide for StatTag, a free plug-in for conducting reproducible research and creating dynamic documents using Microsoft Word and Stata statistical software created by Dr. Leah Welty and Luke Rasmussen. Future versions will work with SAS and R.

With multiple views and downloads, Statistical Considerations in Basic Science Sex Inclusive Research by Drs. Denise Scholtens and Leah Welty, both associate professors at the Department of Preventive Medicine at Feinberg, is another popular work deposited in DigitalHub. This guide includes an explanation of five scenarios pertaining to the sex of the cells to be used in the experiment along with a description of how an investigator should plan the experiment.

On the image below one can see how many times the guide was viewed and downloaded since May 2016:

DigitalHub is also another home for the Pediatric Neurology Briefs, an Open Access (OA) continuing education service designed to expedite and facilitate the review of current scientific research and advances in child neurology and related subjects. The DigitalHub team is working with Dr. John J. Millichap, editor and assistant professor of Pediatrics and Neurology at the Ken and Ruth Davee Department of Neurology, to host the complete archives.

DigitalHub has also partnered with Science in Society, the University’s research center for science education and public engagement, to host the gallery from the Scientific Images Contest held annually since 2010. DigitalHub assigns DOIs for all the objects deposited, which provides secure and long term preservation, easy citation, and persistent access.

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October 26: Upcoming DigitalHub Information Sessions and Celebration

On Wednesday, October 26th, from 2-4 pm in the Learning Resources Center, Galter Library will host sessions that highlight and feature DigitalHub. From 2-3 pm, Galter experts will feature background and helpful tips in the session, DigitalHub: Preserving and Sharing Your Work Using NM's Repository. Register for the class now.

Special presentation: From 3-4 pm on the same day, all are invited to attend presentations by NM colleagues who have used DigitalHub in exciting ways in its first year.
Scheduled to speak are:

  • Dr. Leah Welty, Director, Biostatistics Collaboration Center, Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine (Biostatistics) and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
  • Luke Rasmussen, MS, Clinical Research Associate, Division of Health and Biomedical Informatics, Department of Preventive Medicine
  • Sarah Grady, Editor and Communications Specialist at Science in Society, Northwestern University

Following the presentations, join the DigitalHub team and the speakers for first anniversary celebratory refreshments in the Galter Library atrium.

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Help using DigitalHub

Need help using DigitalHub? Want to upload large datasets? Have a question about what the repository will accept or how you can use it to share your research more widely? Contact us at any time.

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Updated: October 4, 2023