Frequently Asked Questions


What is an Institutional Repository or IR?

DigitalCommons@UNMC is an online repository of the research, scholarly communications, and archival materials produced or owned by members of the University of Nebraska Medical Center community. Based on the principle of open access, DigitalCommons@UNMC seeks to make these materials available to a worldwide audience by tagging, storing, and organizing them in a searchable database. Content types can vary widely by discipline, but the goal of storing all content is the same: To provide a common opportunity for presenting internally and globally what is being accomplished at UNMC.

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What types of materials are eligible for posting in DigitalCommons@UNMC?

Eligible content for DigitalCommons@UNMC meets the following guidelines. These guidelines are subject to change as DigitalCommons@UNMC evolves.

  1. The work must be produced, submitted, or sponsored by UNMC faculty, researchers, or staff;
  2. The work must be scholarly, educational, or research-oriented in nature;
  3. The work must be intended to be a permanent part of the repository; and
  4. The author/copyright owner must be willing and able to grant University of Nebraska Medical Center the non-exclusive right to preserve and distribute the work via DigitalCommons@UNMC

Examples include:

  • Working papers
  • Published articles when copyright and/or license allow
  • Course materials and online course modules developed by UNMC Faculty
  • Supplemental materials to published articles
  • Conference materials, such as posters and presentations
  • UNMC sponsored event materials
  • Annual reports and newsletters
  • UNMC documents
  • Archival collections

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Why should I contribute my work?

Institutional repositories serve as a showcase of the scholarly output of universities. This centralized collection is available to a wide audience including potential students and faculty, university partners and funding agencies, and other academic colleagues. Research indicates that articles are cited earlier and more often if they are available in an open access repository, such as DigitalCommons@UNMC.

  • Increased visibility for your academic works: Search engine optimization with Google Scholar and other search engines means your work is recognized as scholarly in nature, making your work highly discoverable.
  • Increase the longevity of your scholarship without increasing your workload: DigitalCommons@UNMC digitally archives your work with unique, persistent URLs, even after a faculty member leaves UNMC.
  • Centralized scholarship: Both previously published and unpublished works are collected on one site, complementing existing print and electronic publishing channels in your field while providing immediate access to your work. Supporting documents can be uploaded to provide context to your research.
  • Real impact: Monthly download reports allow immediate feedback on your work. The Author Dashboard feature lets you track how readers are finding your work as well as real-time full-text download statistics.
  • Institutional recognition: Your work is included in the full range of research and scholarship conducted at UNMC.
  • Contribute to the open access movement: DigitalCommons@UNMC provides the global community barrier and cost-free access to your important research.
  • Publicize: Easily share your work with colleagues and students through the "Tell a Colleague" link and RSS feeds.

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Why should I include articles that already appear in PubMed Central?

One of the tenants of open access is multiple copies in multiple places. Not one archive is assured to be permanent. Additionally, not all articles are required to be included in PubMed Central.

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How is it organized and administered?

DigitalCommons@UNMC is organized into communities. The community hierarchy begins with the author’s college, then department, then any subgroups within department that are appropriate. When content is loaded into the IR, the administrators will ensure that it is tagged into the correct community. Being in a community does not affect search results in Google or DigitalCommons@UNMC, it is just an organizational technique for browsing within DigitalCommons@UNMC.

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What is the submission process?

Contact the DigitalCommons@UNMC staff at digitalcommons@unmc.edu. You will be required to fill out an online contributor agreement confirming your acceptance of the terms and provide the staff with the items you would like to have uploaded. The DigitalCommons@UNMC staff will begin to pursue the copyright permissions and populate the requested material in the repository when possible.

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What about copyright?

  • Permission to deposit works in the author’s institutional repository depends on what the publisher will allow, which is usually specified in their agreement with the author. If it would not violate copyright to deposit a copy in the IR, you’re welcome to do so. Authors depositing works into DigitalCommons@UNMC grant McGoogan Library a non-exclusive license to post works to the IR.
  • A majority of publishers allow some version of scholarly articles to be posted in the author’s institutional repository. When an author submits a CV or list of publications, we check with the publisher(s) to verify what we can post to the IR. Permissions for many publishers can be found at SHERPA RoMEO.
  • Authors interested in ensuring future works can be made freely accessible via DigitalCommons@UNMC should consider including an author addendum permitting IR deposit in future publisher agreements. More information about author rights can be found at the Library’s Author Rights Guide.
  • If authors would like to deposit unpublished materials, we can assist with selecting a Creative Commons license that allows authors to retain copyright while allowing others to reuse the work.

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If I cannot obtain copyright permission to post an article, can you link to the publisher’s full-text?

Not at this time. The DigitalCommons@UNMC is intended to be a repository of full text and complete works.

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Can a reprint from a journal be posted?

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 DigitalCommons@UNMC, it is a good idea to do so.

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Can I deposit an author’s version?

This varies from publisher to publisher, but generally the author’s version, or final manuscript, belongs to the author and is acceptable for deposit.

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Should working papers remain in Digital Commons if they are later published as completed manuscripts?

Many journals do not have any restrictions on working papers that preceded an article, especially if substantial revisions were made. The repository would constitute noncommercial use. Assuming the working paper does remain posted in the repository, it is a good idea to include the citation to the published article on the cover page of the repository working paper. Please contact the repository administrator to request this change.

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Does posting in DigitalCommons@UNMC constitute prior publications? That is, will publishers reject my submission because it’s already been submitted in this way?

Although one can never say for sure, best practice is to have your article accepted for publication by a publisher outside of DigitalCommons@UNMC first, if you intend to publish outside of DigitalCommons@UNMC.

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How do you handle multiple contributors (across different institutions)?

It is the policy of the library that only one author needs to give permission for a work to be uploaded in to DigitalCommons@UNMC. However, other non-consenting authors may request that it be removed at any time.

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What happens when I leave an institution?

Your work will remain in DigitalCommons@UNMC for perpetuity unless you request withdrawal.

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Can material be withdrawn?

Yes, if for any reason you wish to withdraw material, it will be done by the DigitalCommons@UNMC staff. Please submit requests in writing to digitalcommons@unmc.edu. Since any item within DigitalCommons@UNMC may have been cited via its persistent URL, a removed item will always supply a "tombstone" whenever the item is requested. The tombstone will contain metadata for the item with a message indicating the item was removed. The tombstone metadata will be visible to those who already have its persistent URL, but your deposit and its metadata will no longer be searchable and the items will no longer be available for harvesting by services such as Google.

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Can access be restricted? Embargoed?

Yes, access can be restricted. For example, a publisher may allow uploading to DigitalCommons@UNMC after a period of 6 months. Administrators can put a hold on the item until the embargo is up. Additionally, items can also be restricted to on-campus only accessibility.

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Is it okay to scan papers that are not available electronically to a PDF file?

Yes--scanning printed pages is a great way to create PDF files for inclusion in the repository. Many software applications allow for the OCR capture of image scans. When documents are scanned this way, users see the image scan but search the full-text of the document. This is the preferred method for scanning documents for the repository. The DigitalCommons@UNMC staff can scan materials for you.

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How do I revise a submission?

To revise a submission that has been posted to the repository, send the new version to digitalcommons@unmc.edu and it will be revised by the repository team.

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Can related files (sound clips, data sets, etc.) be posted alongside the published article?

Yes, as long as the publisher allows it. The DigitalCommons@UNMC system refers to these supplementary items as Associated Files. The name of the files will appear on the web site along with a short description. Viewers must have the necessary software to open your files.

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