Collection Spotlight: SURFACE

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Nov. 11, 2022, 4 a.m.
SURFACE, Syracuse University’s institutional repository, is a lot of things.
Syracuse University Libraries, SURFACE, the Face of Syracuse University Research

by Dylan Mohr, Open Scholarship Librarian

SURFACE, Syracuse University’s institutional repository, is a lot of things. It is a massive, open access collection of documents, videos, posters and other scholarship produced by Syracuse faculty, students and staff. SURFACE also serves the SU community in other ways. It is a platform that hosts several highly regarded, open access and peer-reviewed journals. It is home to dozens of recorded readings by the world’s most acclaimed authors. It provides a voice to various campus groups and student organizations. Finally, it houses thousands of theses and dissertations by SU’s incredible graduate students. So, SURFACE is a lot of things.

SURFACE launched in 2010 and now holds almost 17,000 pieces of scholarship that represent Syracuse and Syracuse-affiliates. Despite boasting 6.5 million downloads worldwide since its inception—a million in the last year alone—SURFACE’s impact goes beyond numbers and its status as the face of Syracuse University’s scholarly and creative work.

In the past twelve years, SURFACE has become a tool for innovative pedagogical practices. For example, the English Language Institute (ELI) has utilized SURFACE as a resource for students to reflect on their language development by publishing their work on SURFACE for a global audience. “In ESL parlance,” says David Lind, Director of International Programs in the College of Professional Studies, “‘publishing’ student work often refers to something as simple as displaying posters on classroom walls.” With SURFACE’s reach, however, students “think more broadly about the audience they are communicating with and free themselves from trying to conform to the perceived expectations of instructors or peers.” In addition to providing stable and open access to deposited work, SURFACE also provides authors with information on how and where their work is having an impact across the globe. Once the connection between ELI’s goals and SURFACE’s reach was made, Lind concludes, “the match was irresistible.”

If you think SURFACE could be helpful to you, or if you have other questions about open access scholarship and publishing, contact Open Scholarship Librarian Dylan Mohr (

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