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The Health Sciences Research Commons continues to grow on a daily basis, allowing medical and health sciences researchers and scholars affiliated with the George Washington University to disseminate their research around the world. As we review our highlights from last year and this year, we’re happy to announce that “Improved Outcomes Associated With an Early Mobilization Protocol Among Hip and Knee Replacement Patients” by Emily Emma, a graduate of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program, is currently one of the HSRC’s most accessed articles. This entry has garnered over 5000 downloads between August 2019 and October 2020 and in total has been downloaded over 9,000 times since it was first archived in the repository in late 2017. As an online repository, the HSRC is an easily accessible tool that has countless benefits for scholars and researchers who are in the early stages of their careers or those who are relatively new to the world of academic publishing. 

Archiving your work within the HSRC allows you to contribute to the ongoing dialogue within the medical research field. For students who wish to preserve any final presentations or research papers, the HRSC provides a working link that can be placed on a resume or CV. Your work is also discoverable via Google Scholar or other search engines. If you are unsure of what to do with a final project, presentation or poster, consider archiving it within the HSRC!

Have additional questions about the HSRC and how it can help you? Reach out to Sara Hoover, the Metadata and Scholarly Publishing Librarian,via email at If you have research that you would like to archive within the repository, please send an email to We’re more than happy to archive your work and help you share it with the global medical research community! 

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All About Himmelfarb’s Courtyard Pickup Service for Borrowers

Are you on your way to Himmelfarb to check out the copy of First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 that you requested online? Did you just get notification that The Complete Sherlock Holmes you ordered through our Consortium Loan Service is ready for pickup? Are you finished with the book on qualitative analysis you borrowed through ILL and hoping to return it?

If you are confused about what to do next, don’t worry! We will cover the procedures here. Also, please feel free to call us during our regular hours at 202-994-2962, and we will be happy to help you! 

If you have Ross Hall/Himmelfarb access this semester, you may come to the Himmelfarb Circulation Desk to complete your transaction. If you don’t have access, or would feel safer using courtyard pickup, read on!

To use our Courtyard Service, the procedures for picking up and returning items are the same, whether we or another library owns the book.  Once you have received notification that items you requested to borrow are ready to pick up, or once you are ready to return items that you borrowed:

  • Please call the Circulation Desk at (202)994-2962 upon your arrival and we will meet you just outside the courtyard entrance to Ross Hall (across from the GW Hospital).
  • We will hand you the item(s) you checked out, and/or we will take any returned items and check them in for you.
  • NOTE: For your security, you must show us your GWorld card before we can hand you items for pickup. If you are picking items up for someone else, you must present that person's GWorld card.

IMPORTANT: Always check the Himmelfarb website for our current Hours of Operation, so you can plan your trip accordingly.

The pandemic has necessitated significant shifts within the scholarly publishing environment. COVID-19 research has reached readers at record speeds, and for many major publishers, been made available at no cost to readers. Preprints are now mainstream and are indexed in PubMed, as well as on preprint servers such as medRxiv and bioRxiv. But are these changes here to stay? And what other changes has COVID-19 brought about within the scholarly publishing world? 

Perhaps the most obvious change in publishing during the past 6 months is the “extraordinary proliferation of research and commentary on the pandemic” (Bell & Green, 2020, p. 379). The scholarly publishing community has placed an increased value on open science. A majority of large publishers have made their COVID-19 content freely accessible. In a recent post on The Scholarly Kitchen, “both the positive (rapid reporting and sharing of information) and the negatives (the glut of bad science being issued as preprints and promoted via mainstream media without proper curation) are now evident, with the good generally outweighing the bad” (Crotty, 2020). 

The need for increased speed of publication has many critics afraid that pushing papers through the peer review process quickly will result in increased retractions. In fact, as of October 15, 2020, RetractionWatch lists 36 retracted COVID-19 papers, including articles from prestigious journals such as  The Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine. Alongside this “crisis in peer review” is a “less widely publicised crisis in peer reviewers, with willing and able peer reviewers increasingly difficult to find” (Bell & Green, 2020, p. 380). While the number of submissions is ever increasing, “academics are baulking at being asked to review them” (Bell & Green, 2020, 380). Additionally, article submissions from women authors have decreased presumably due to the fact that “the effects of lockdown have disproportionately disadvantaged women across the disciplines” (Smart, 2020, p. 196). This has also likely contributed to the shortage of peer reviewers. 

And let’s not forget the financial impact of COVID-19. Researchers are competing for limited grant funding. Many large publishers are freezing subscription prices. Library collection budgets are being cut, forcing libraries to cancel subscriptions to valued resources, which will further impact publishers' and researchers. Research societies that rely on annual meetings for large portions of their income don’t expect to hold large meetings until late in 2021 at the earliest, and expect to see a decline in membership as discretionary income of individual members becomes scarce (Crotty, 2020).  

It’s not all doom and gloom though. On the bright side, “recognition of the need to fund scientific research has never been stronger (Crotty, 2020). Governments and funding agencies now see the value of open science, which “creates the potential for continuing progress through the creation of incentives and eventually, after normality resumes, the dedication of increased funding to both support existing OA models and to drive the creation of new models” (Crotty , 2020). While the landscape of scholarly publishing is constantly evolving, COVID-19 has undoubtedly already had a dramatic influence on this evolution. 


Bell, K., & Green, J. (2020). Premature evaluation? Some cautionary thoughts on global pandemics and scholarly publishing. Critical Public Health, 30:4, 379-383, DOI: 10.1080/09581596.2020.1769406

Crotty, D. (2020, August 4). Two steps forward, one step back: The pandemic’s impact on Open Access progress. The Scholarly Kitchen.

RetractionWatch, (2020). Retracted coronavirus (COVID-19) papers. RetractionWatch [Weblog, accessed October 15, 2020],

Smart P. (2020). Publishing during pandemic: Innovation, collaboration, and change. Learned publishing: journal of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, 33(3), 194–197.

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Ever try to access an ebook in the Himmelfarb Library collection and get the message “Sorry, this ebook is in use”? Ever wonder why we can’t just scan entire books in our collection to create an electronic copy? Ever get frustrated by a broken article link in Blackboard and wonder why they couldn’t just upload a PDF? While these seem like questions about different systems, they all come down to the same thing - copyright.

eBook is in use error message

When a library acquires an ebook, they don’t actually own the ebook - they license a copy from the publisher. The same thing happens when you “purchase” an ebook from Amazon. And much like Amazon ebooks come with publisher restrictions in place to prevent piracy, library ebooks have their own limits established by the publishers. These include everything from limits to how many pages you can save or print to how many people can access the ebook at once. If you’re trying to access one of our eBooks and get a message that someone else is using the book, usually if you wait 15-20 minutes and try again you’ll be able to get in.

As for scanning entire physical books to create our own electronic copies, that would violate copyright laws. However, when working with copyrighted materials in academia we are allowed a little more flexibility thanks to the fair use doctrine. Essentially, fair use allows us to use copyrighted material without explicit permission from the copyright holder. The fair use doctrine even explicitly mentions educational purposes as one of the main reasons it exists. When it comes to scanning physical books, generally the fair use guidelines state that you can scan one chapter or less than 10% of the book. This allows us to take advantage of our InterLibrary Loan system to the fullest, so you can access chapters from books not in our collection.

Fair use is also why we provide durable links to articles in Blackboard rather than full PDFs. Reproducing the full PDF would require your professor to obtain permission from the copyright holder. Linking to the article in Himmelfarb’s collection doesn’t. If you ever run into a broken link in Blackboard, get in touch with your professor and let us know at so we can update the link.

Taken from our Copyright Research Guide.

Have additional questions about copyright? Take a look at our Copyright Research Guide. Questions about electronic access? Email us at

Cover of the 11th edition of the AMA Manual of Style

Himmelfarb Library introduces a new addition to our Reference and Instruction webinars: Demystifying AMA Citation Style. With the release of the 11th edition of the AMA Manual of Style, now is a great time to learn the basics of AMA citation. This webinar will introduce you to AMA Style, its various rules and requirements, as well as provide you with resources from Himmelfarb and around the web to support your research and citation management. If you want to dive in deeper after the webinar, you can always access the AMA’s Online Style Guide, courtesy of Himmelfarb!

What? Demystifying AMA Citation Style

When? October 13, 2020 at 6PM EST

Where? Hosted via WebEx

Register here, on the event page. Registration is required. We hope to see you there!

Podcasts are an excellent way to learn new skills, stay engaged in culturally relevant conversations or reinforce your preexisting knowledge about a specific topic. From Spotify to Apple Podcasts to YouTube, there are numerous applications available that let you listen to the latest podcasts while on the go. Podcasts are a great resource that can help you both in and out of a classroom or clinical setting. 

Himmelfarb Library is excited to announce a new guide on podcasts for medical and health sciences professionals, students, and researchers. Whether you are an avid podcast listener or new to the medium, we hope you will find a podcast that speaks to you! We are also seeking recommendations for podcasts to be included on the guide and would love to feature you and your favorite podcast in a blog post or tweet. 

You might listen to podcasts while running or doing the dishes. You may select episodes that are the same duration as your commute time. You could look for podcasts to reinforce lessons from a recent course lecture, provide updates on articles in your favorite journal, or spark new directions for inquiry and research. Looking for the inside scoop on NIH funding? There’s a podcast for that. There are as many reasons to listen to podcasts as there are listeners and nearly as many different podcasts, too! We hope our new guide will help you find your next favorite. 

The 2019-2020 academic year was a period of extensive growth for our institutional repository, the Health Sciences Research Commons (HSRC). Despite the COVID-19 pandemic uprooting our normal way of life, medical researchers have adjusted to the interruption to their workflow and publication output remains strong. As we settle into a new academic year, let’s take a moment to reflect on some of the HSRC’s highlights from last year. 

From September 2019 to August 2020, over 13,000 entries were added to the repository and publications within the HSRC were downloaded over 123,000 times. Articles were accessed in 191 different countries, meaning publications within the HSRC were read by a diverse population. Through the use of Plumx Metrics and Altmetrics, researchers and published authors can easily track the level of engagement their entries receive and any social media mentions. Though we’re only a month into this near academic year, new entries have been added to the HSRC and it continues to serve as a valuable asset to researchers and scholars in various stages of their careers. 

In response to the growing body of medical research and literature on the COVID-19 pandemic, a separate collection was established within the repository to shine a spotlight on GW faculty members and affiliated researchers who have published work pertaining to this current pandemic. This special collection was established in the summer of 2020 and since then has collected nearly 100 relevant publications. At the time of writing, the ‘COVID-19 Publications by GWU Authors’ collection has gathered 93 publications and continues to grow with each passing week. 

As we continue to settle into this new school year, the staff at Himmelfarb Library are here to help you archive and promote peer-reviewed articles, conference posters/presentations or other scholarly publications. We’re eager to see how the HSRC continues to grow this academic year and in subsequent years. Feel free to explore the collections within Health Sciences Research Commons at If you have published an article/poster/presentation/or other scholarly publication and would like to add it to the repository, please send an email to If you have any additional questions about the HSRC, please email Sara Hoover, the Metadata and Scholarly Communications Librarian at

Hand squeezing stress ball while donating blood.
Image by Michelle Gordon from Pixabay

Have you wondered how you could help others during the COVID-19 pandemic? Donating blood is an easy and free way that you can make a positive contribution during these times. 

Donating blood with the American Red Cross is easy, and can even help you embrace the spirit of fall and Halloween! Donate during the month of October to earn the Vampire Badge in the Blood Donor App. If earning the Vampire Badge isn’t enough motivation for you, you can also enter to win a $1,000 Amazon gift card during the month of October. You can use the Blood Donor App to schedule an appointment to donate, complete your pre-donation questionnaire (RapidPass), and track your blood’s journey from donation all the way to completion. You can also join the GW team within the Blood Donor App and have your donation counted towards GW’s total lives impacted.

Ever wonder if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 but were asymptomatic? The Red Cross is currently testing all donations for COVID-19 antibodies. Donating is a great way to find out if you have COVID-19 antibodies. To be clear - you will not be tested for COVID-19. Antibody tests assess whether or not you’ve had an immune response to COVID-19; it does not determine if the virus is currently present. People with antibody-positive donations can help coronavirus patients by donating convalescent plasma. Eligible convalescent plasma donors must be fully recovered from COVID-19.

Whole blood donations are used for blood transfusions, but can be used to help multiple people by separating red cells, plasma and platelets. The requirements for donating whole blood are simple: Donors must be healthy and feeling well, be at least 17 years old, and weigh 110 pounds or more. If you’ve donated blood recently, you should wait 56 days between donations. Donor centers are taking proper safety precautions during the pandemic. All donors and staff are required to wear masks, beds are socially distanced, and enhanced cleaning processes are being followed.

Donating blood is a great way to contribute in a small way during the pandemic. If the Vampire Badge and the chance to win a $1,000 Amazon gift card aren’t enough to convince you to donate, perhaps the post-donation cookies will entice you! Happy donating!

Now that the fall season is here, check out Healthy Living @ Himmelfarb’s October calendar to discover a variety of activities both indoors and outdoors.

Find information on all of these activities on Healthy Living @ Himmelfarb’s October calendar!

Himmelfarb Library is allowing most books in the reserves collection to check out for a week. Reserves books are located behind the Circulation Desk and most titles directly support classroom learning and board study. In addition, some materials that were previously on reserves have been moved to the basement level stacks and now checkout for three weeks and are eligible for up to two renewals.

You can check the location of physical materials in Health Information @ Himmelfarb search tool. Change the default search from Online Access to Himmelfarb Catalog as shown below.  

Materials supporting the first and second year MD program are available in a collection that can be browsed and searched

When you’ve located a title you want to borrow, click the title to open the full record and then check under Locations to see where copies are located and if they’re currently available to check out. Courtyard pickup services are available to Himmelfarb patrons that do not currently have access to the physical library.

By signing in, you’ll see the option to request Courtyard pickup services as shown below.

Faculty are encouraged to make as many materials available to students in electronic form as possible. See more information on Himmelfarb’s reserves services for faculty or contact for assistance.


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