SMU Digital Repository FAQs
Click on a question to show or hide an answer.
What is a digital repository?
A digital repository is a searchable, online collection of scholarly research and information. Digital repositories preserve and provide access to research, online journals, articles, conference agendas and papers, theses, image collections, and other scholarly works. People around the world can find items placed in these repositories using search engines such as Google and Google Scholar or open access search tools like OAIster.
Why should I submit my work to the SMU Digital Repository?
Increased exposure. The Digital Repository (and the full text of your work) is indexed by Google and other search engines, and metadata (information about your work) is harvested by OAIster and through other open access registries. This openness and increased access means that your work is easier to find and consequently to cite. There is some evidence that suggests that works shared in open access repositories like the SMU Digital Repository have a higher impact and are cited more often.
Permanence and persistence. The SMU Digital Repository is committed to preserving and maintaining your work and associated metadata online. All materials placed in the Digital Repository are given a relatively short, unique, persistent URL, making it easy for you and others to link to your work.
Easy to submit. In most cases, it takes less than five minutes to submit an item to the Digital Repository. No further action is required after the submission process; all additional metadata creation, quality control, and maintenance is performed by Digital Repository staff.
Fulfills public access mandate for grant recipients. The NSF, NIH, and many other institutions require that research funded by their grants be made available to the public. Placing these research materials in the SMU Digital Repository often satisfies these mandates.
Who is supporting SMU’s digital repository effort?
The Office of Research and Graduate Studies, Central University Libraries and the Office of Information Technology have combined resources to create a digital repository service using the Digital Commons software platform from Berkeley Electronic Press (bepress).
What other institutions are using Digital Commons?
Boston College, Carnegie Mellon, and Yale Law are some of Digital Commons’ more well-known clients. A full customer list is available at: http://www.bepress.com/ir/customers.html.
Whom do I contact for more information?
You can contact us by filling out this web form.
Or you can contact:
- James Kessenides, Central University Libraries
- Rob Walker, Director, Norwick Center for Digital Services,
Central University Libraries
Who will determine what goes into the SMU Digital Repository?
Content from faculty, staff, and students may be placed in the Digital Repository, provided the material meets the criteria established by the Digital Repository Advisory.
All parties who participate in the Digital Repository will need to abide by SMU's Computing and Communications Acceptable Use Policy, Copyright Policy, Responsible Conduct of Research Guidelines, and sign the applicable rights and release documents. Repository staff assigned to the upload and/or approval processes will ensure that these documents have been submitted before making the work publicly available.
The SMU Digital Repository Policy is located HERE.
What type of files can be presented in the Digital Repository?
Many types of document, image, video, and audio files, as well as collections of files, can be uploaded into the Digital Repository. Word and PowerPoint documents are automatically converted into .pdf files. Large, data-rich files will be compressed, whenever possible, before uploading.
Can e-journals be hosted by the SMU Digital Repository?
Yes! Digital Commons includes a professional-grade peer-review/editorial management module that extends professional publishing services to faculty, students, and other scholars. The cost to publish a branded, peer-reviewed journal is $1,500. Each journal will be independently managed by its stakeholders, and have separate work flows and approval processes.
Simple print journals, journals that do not require individual branding, and journals which do not require editorial management can be published without additional charges.
Can conference agendas be placed in the Digital Repository?
Yes, Digital Commons has the ability to share (or archive) conference materials, including agendas, links to papers and proceedings as well as multimedia files. An unlimited number of conferences can be hosted as part of the license. If you are interested in posting your conference in the Digital Repository, please contact Jacob Brown, the Digital Repository coordinator, in advance of your conference date so that the proper releases can be arranged beforehand.
How does SMU make sure that inappropriate content is not uploaded?
The Digital Repository Advisory Board has helped create policies and criteria delineating what can be uploaded to the repository. All submitted work must meet these criteria and must be in compliance with SMU's Computing and Communications Acceptable Use Policy, Copyright Policy, Responsible Conduct of Research Guidelines, and other relevant standards.
The SMU Digital Repository Policy is located HERE.
Am I “publishing” my work if I put it in the SMU Digital Repository?
The Digital Repository at SMU is intended to complement scholarly publishing rather than to replace it. Placing a work in the Digital Repository does not constitute “scholarly publishing,” primarily because there is no formal peer review process involved in posting items to the Digital Repository. This also means that you retain all rights to your work and are free to publish it when and where you like (in most cases).
However, work placed in the Digital Repository is openly accessible, ready to be read and studied, and able to be cited by any other scholar. As citation analysis and other bibliometric data (including view counts and document download counts) increasingly play a part in the evaluation of academic performance, the effect of digital repositories in facilitating access will be more and more apparent.
Will I be able to publish my research later (say, in a journal) if I put a copy of it in the SMU Digital Repository?
In most cases, yes. You retain the copyright for all materials posted in the Digital Repository. Most journal publishers do not consider placing a work in a digital repository “prior publication,” since there is no commercial context nor the process of peer review. Those publishers who do consider making a work publicly available to be “prior publication” may be willing to grant a waiver of this policy. We encourage you to check with your intended publisher about how they handle works which have been posted in institutional repositories.
Can I post a reprint from a journal?
It depends on what the journal allows, which is usually specified in their agreement with the author. If it would not violate copyright to post the reprint on your repository site, you're welcome to do so. Permissions for many publishers can be found at SHERPA RoMEO.
What information, or metadata, is needed for files to be uploaded?
Central University Libraries staff will work with you to determine what descriptive metadata (information about the files) you would like to have included with your files. They will also develop the structural metadata profile (how this information is organized) for the Digital Repository. When necessary, the metadata profile will be tailored to meet the needs of your collection. You will need to identify the title, publication date, and any co-authors of your work, as part of the submission process.
How do I submit materials to the SMU Digital Repository?
You have two options for submitting your materials to the Digital Repository. The first option is to use the submission process on the repository site (see the link to Submit Research). You will be asked to create a user profile and to enter some basic information about your work. The entire process often takes less than five minutes.
The second option is to contact repository staff directly, who will work with you to prepare and upload your files into the Digital Repository. You may submit your research or other documents directly to us via this web form.
Central University Libraries staff will prepare all materials submitted to the Digital Repository for public access. Please note that your work will not be immediately available through the public site for either option. Submissions are processed as they are received, and are typically posted to the Digital Repository within one or two weeks.
What if I have materials that need to be digitized?
Analog/physical materials will need to be digitized before they can be hosted in the SMU Digital Repository. Materials to be digitized must meet the guidelines of the repository and should be ready for public access (works will not be edited or proofread before posting). All submitted work must meet these criteria and must be in compliance with SMU's Computing and Communications Acceptable Use Policy, Copyright Policy, Responsible Conduct of Research Guidelines, and other relevant standards. Copyright holders of items to be digitized must provide written authorization for distribution in the repository.
If the digitization requires funding, contributors can apply for funds via the Scholarly Digitization Program, offered by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies. This program directly funds the digitization of analog research materials through the Central University Libraries’ Norwick Center for Digital Services (nCDS).
Funds granted are used to support digitization, the creation of administrative and descriptive metadata, file management planning, and other preliminary processing required to present analog/physical materials. Up to $25,000 per semester is available, and applicants may apply for up to $5,000 of funding per project. This program is not intended for large scale digitization projects - applicants who have large projects or who are unsure about the size of their project should consult with repository staff, who will be able to identify best available options. The program does not apply to "born-digital" materials (e.g., MS Word documents, etc.), which may be submitted freely and directly to the SMU Digital Repository (Submit Your Research) or to those projects where other sources of funding are available. The application for the Scholarly Digitization Program can be found here.
Can I withdraw my content from the Digital Repository?
Yes. Authors/creators may contact the SMU Digital Repository in writing and request that their work be removed as soon as practical. SMU cannot remove cached copies of said content, however.
Is it possible to monitor usage of digital content?
Digital Commons uses Google Analytics to monitor usage. As described by bepress, SMU will have access to the following information and/or reports: full-text downloads, cover page hits, additional files, editor reports, referrals reports, referring country reports, and reviewer reports.
As an author, you will be provided with a monthly email report identifying the number of times your works have been downloaded in that month.
Who is responsible if the Digital Repository web site crashes?
Digital Commons is a hosted software service. According to bepress, they:
- mirror the databases in real time to a secondary database server.
In the case of primary database disruptions, the secondary database
goes live within seconds
- maintain production servers at a high availability colocation
facility located in Oakland, California that has multiple backbone
connections and backup generators
- maintain failover web, database, and storage servers to continue
to serve content in case of main server failures
What if SMU moves to another platform? Can we get our data back?
As stated by bepress: “...Yes. In fact, it is part of your contract that the content is yours. If a subscriber decides not to renew a Digital Commons subscription, we will provide a link to a zip file that contains your repository content. This file takes the same form as the quarterly backup files.” SMU has access to regular metadata exports from bepress on a quarterly basis or via OAI-PMH metadata harvesting. SMU will also keep copies of all files on SMU servers.
What if I have other kinds of hosting needs, like storing raw data?
You can arrange those storage needs directly with OIT. They have several solutions available at: http://www.smu.edu/BusinessFinance/OIT/Services/StorageOptions.aspx.