Trace Provides the Public with Access to Research

Access to research is essential to innovation and fosters the intellectual life of our communities. However, when a UT faculty member’s research is mentioned in the media, there often isn’t a way for the public to access the information. When a direct link to an academic article is provided in a newspaper or blog, the scholarly content is typically accessible only with a subscription or by paying an exorbitant access fee.

UT Libraries’ Tennessee Research and Creative Exchange (Trace) offers faculty a way to easily share their research and creative work with other researchers, the media, and the community fee-free while also preserving their materials. Trace is a publicly accessible digital archive of published and unpublished works by faculty, departments, programs, research centers, and institutes, and includes theses and dissertations.

“Trace makes UT’s life-changing, life-enriching research available to all Tennesseans. If our publications are accessible, it encourages the real-life application of our research contributions,” said Holly Mercer, associate dean for research and scholarly communication. “Trace is a key instrument for connecting campus Volunteers with Volunteers statewide.”

Works in Trace are indexed by Google Scholar, so placing work in Trace ensures that people around the globe can find it —and cite it. A recent upgrade to Trace allows researchers to deposit works and specify an embargo period, preventing open access until the embargo period ends.

Submit your research or browse entries by research unit, center, or department.

 Rachel Radom, scholarly communication librarian, advises faculty and researchers throughout the scholarly publishing process, including securing necessary copyright permissions to contribute to Trace. She is part of UT’s Scholars’ Collaborative, a group of librarians committed to supporting digital research, scholarship, and creative activity. Chris Eaker, data curation librarian, is another member of the collaborative and works with faculty to share and deposit data sets in open access repositories. Radom and Eaker are available to present workshops with your department, center, or research unit.

A scholarly publishing toolkit is available on the UT Libraries website and provides resources to help authors navigate the publishing system, negotiate copyright in publishing agreements, comply with funders’ public access policies, and understand open access publishing.

New journals also can be established and hosted in Trace. UT Libraries currently hosts twelve online journals.

Among the items Trace collects are published faculty research; technical reports, working papers, and conference presentations; data sets in numeric or image formats; theses and dissertations; and administrative records.

Ready to submit your research, ask a question, or set up an appointment for advising? E-mail scholarsco@utk.edu.