Maritime Commons was launched in the autumn of 2015. It serves as the library's "Institutional Repository" and as a platform for publishing maritime research. The "IR," in library jargon, is intended to house the e-content stored and made findable by WMU library staff, as opposed to the much greater world of e-content that the library leases from third parties, or links to via third party servers. IR content includes:
The library has a handful of documents in this last category that were given by members of the WMU research community. So far, such content is a collection of already published materials that come with the right to reuse. But Maritime Commons is capable of serving as the publisher of first resort for every type of electronic publication. Research groups can have their own homepage serving as the front door to searchable, browsable collections that they want the public to know about. These collections can be digital maps, images, movies, journals, proceedings, books, and more. The collections will be optimally indexed by Google, Google Scholar and the library Discovery Service. Librarians will assist authors, editors and collection managers wanting to have their publications indexed by other databases in which they want to be discovered, as long as the database is capable of importing or harvesting the metadata according to common standards and protocols.
The publishing service will have built-in and customizable workflows. Universities on this same Digital Commons platform have produced hundreds of peer-reviewed online journals, the vast majority of them open access, although that is not a requirement. The conference component has a peer-review workflow that starts with the call for papers and ends in published proceedings.
These are the possibilities, at any rate. Collaboration among researchers and librarians can bring them to be.