Purdue Road School: Partnering with Purdue Libraries greatly enhances our reach

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Each year the Purdue Road School draws representatives of industry, public agencies, and academia to help public agencies and private sector partners manage transportation systems as safely and efficiently as possible.

The high-tech event, which is co-sponsored by Purdue’s Joint Transportation Research Program and the Indiana Local Technical Assistance Program, began in 1914 with 75 participants and now attracts 3,000 in-person participants.  Beyond the in-person activities, the reach is now truly global with over one million downloads of Road School information.

This significant growth can be traced to the 10-year partnership with Purdue Libraries. The partnership was established to address a key problem: stacks of past Purdue Road School presentations and technical papers sitting in storage and inaccessible to transportation officials, private companies, and technical experts. 

The Road School leadership took this problem to Jim Mullins and Beth McNeil, the former and current deans of Purdue Libraries. They proposed digitizing Road School archives and integrating them with ‘born digital’ documents in the Purdue Libraries’ e-Pubs platform, which provides online publishing support for original publications, reports, conference proceedings, and other scholarly outputs.

“Purdue has long been known as a strong convening authority, but what the Purdue Libraries team did was game-changing,” said JTRL Director Darcy Bullock. “The Purdue Libraries Open Access program enabled us to provide documents dating back to 1914 – and of course today’s documents – in a platform that users around the world can easily find. They also educated us on important archiving activities such as establishing name authority and download metrics.”

Purdue e-Pubs offers free public access to Purdue research, scholarly works, as well as Purdue Road School materials. 

To encourage open access publishing, Purdue Libraries offer support through partnerships with publishers,  the Purdue Libraries Open Access Publishing Fund, along with the recently-announced Office of Research seed funding initiative for high-impact review articles

To learn more, contact Open Access @Purdue team.