SMU Scholar FAQ
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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 SMU Scholar?
Increased exposure. SMU Scholar (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 SMU Scholar have a higher impact and are cited more often.
Permanence and persistence. SMU Scholar is committed to preserving and maintaining your work and associated metadata online. All materials placed in the repository are given a relatively short, unique, persistent URL, making it easy for you and others to link to your work.
Mediated submissions. The SMU Scholar staff submit faculty and research and work. As a service, we submit your research and work on your behalf. To begin the process simply submit your CV.
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 SMU Scholar often satisfies these mandates.
Who is supporting SMU’s digital repository effort?
The Office of Research and Graduate Studies, SMU 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 James Williamson at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions or comments.
Who will determine what goes into SMU Scholar?
Content from faculty, staff, and students may be placed in SMU Scholar upon consultation with the Digital Repository Librarian.
All parties who participate in SMU Scholar will need to abide by SMU's Information Technology 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.
What type of files can be presented in SMU Scholar?
Many types of document, image, video, and audio files, as well as collections of files, can be uploaded into the 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 SMU Scholar?
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 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 repository, please contact James Williamson at email@example.com 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?
All material published in SMU Scholar is reviewed prior to submission. All submitted work must meet these criteria and must be in compliance with SMU's Information Technology Acceptable Use Policy, Copyright Policy, Responsible Conduct of Research Guidelines, and other relevant standards.
Am I “publishing” my work if I put it in SMU Scholar?
SMU Scholar is intended to complement scholarly publishing rather than to replace it. Placing a work in the repository does not preclude future research and publishing efforts, as 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 SMU Scholar 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 SMU Scholar?
In most cases, yes. You retain the copyright for all materials posted in the repository. Most journal and book publishers do not consider placing a work in a digital repository “prior publication". 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 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 SMU Scholar?
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 SMU Scholar. Contact Jolene de Verges at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information>
What if I have materials that need to be digitized?
Analog/physical materials will need to be digitized before they can be hosted in SMU Scholar. Materials that are digitized 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 Information Technology 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.
Can I withdraw my content from the Digital Repository?
Yes. Authors/creators may contact SMU Scholar in writing and request that their work be removed as soon as practical. SMU cannot remove cached copies of said content, however.
Can I store Data and Data Sets in SMU Scholar?
Yes, research data and datasets can be submitted into SMU Scholar as both the main submission content and as supplemental material.
Are there any restrictions on the data that can be submitted into SMU Scholar?
Yes, the following content cannot be permitted onto SMU Scholar
- FERPA-protected information, including student email addresses.
- HIPPA-regulated information (protected health information, including any information related to the past, present or future physical or mental health of an individual, except only if the individual has authorized release of his or her information in writing, and such release is in the hands of the publisher.
- Content barred by law or regulation from publication.
- Intellectual property for which the submitter does not have permission to submit and distribute.
- Non-public personally identifiable financial or contact information of any kind including, but not limited to, social security numbers, credit/debit card numbers, account numbers, account balances, and private residential addresses, except only where such records preexist as legitimate publicly accessible records outside the university.
- Photographic depictions of individuals in areas where reasonable expectation of privacy exists, except if all individuals depicted have given written consent to publication of their image.
- Records protected by state privacy laws. Please note that privacy laws vary by state and protect their residents even when they are out of state.
What needs to be included with the data?
Any permissions and documentation providing an understanding of the data are required. If you need help documenting your data, check out the Research Data Management Support webpage or contact your subject librarian.
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 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?