Academic Commons

  1. About Academic Commons
  2. How to Add Documents to Academic Commons Collections
  3. Author Agreements and Copyright
  4. Withdrawing Content
  5. Related Readings/Links
  6. Contacts
  7. Notes

1. About Academic Commons

What is Academic Commons?

Academic Commons is the research, scholarly publications and academic creative works component of University Libraries Center for Scholarly Communication, an open access digital repository maintained by Stony Brook University Libraries. Academic Commons is both a repository and a service to collect, organize, store, and share the scholarly output of Stony Brook University. Academic Commons content includes journal articles, technical reports, working papers, conference papers, statistical instruments, workshop materials, dissertations, theses, and similar works of a scholarly nature produced at or associated with Stony Brook University.

Academic Commons furthers the engagement mission of the University by providing a platform from which the global community can benefit from the scholarly output of Stony Brook University.

What is an institutional repository?

An institutional repository is a service used to collect and disseminate the digital scholarly products of a college, university, research center, or other base of scholarly production. Institutional repositories are often managed by academic libraries, and the goals behind building a digital repository are to enable access to scholarly documents, to provide a framework in which those documents may preserved digitally, and to increase the visibility of those documents by disseminating them as widely as possible.

Use of Academic Commons

Academic Commons is an open access service, which means most of the content of Academic Commons is freely available and can be downloaded by all with an Internet connection. In some cases, document depositors may make arrangements with Darren Chase, Head of the Center for Scholarly Communication, to limit access to their Academic Commons content. In all cases, copyright to the items in Academic Commons remains with the individual copyright holders and is not transferred to Stony Brook University.

Why did University Libraries create Academic Commons?

  • The formats of scholarly communication are no longer limited. Peer-reviewed journal articles are frequently distributed digitally and augmented with supplementary material. Stony Brook University researchers disseminate their findings through department publications, presentations, conference proceedings, and more as well. Academic Commons is a centralized service that allows the SBU community to manage digital scholarship in its many formats.
  • As the cost to acquire access to scholarly communication in its several forms (e.g, journals, books, databases) continues to increase, valuable content created at and associated with Stony Brook University is increasingly inaccessible to researchers at institutions of all sizes around the world and to the general public. Some authors choose to host digital copies of their works on departmental or personal Web sites. Academic Commons provides SBU scholars with a preferred means to provide Web access to their scholarly publications without having to manage Web space maintenance and related issues.

What kinds of documents are eligible to put into Academic Commons

Each Academic Commons community may make specific choices about what types of work they will highlight in each series. At its foundation, however, Academic Commons is a service established by the library to distribute scholarly findings, created in any digital format, across all of the university’s departments and centers of research. The following guidelines have been established as a framework to guide those community decisions.


  • Typically, any document that represents the original work of a member of the Stony Brook University community will be eligible. For jointly authored articles, at least one of the authors should be affiliated with SBU. Further, any research-related publication issued by a department or center at SBU is similarly eligible. Peer-reviewed journal article post-print and departmental publication series are just the sorts of documents that Academic Commons has been established to distribute. Preprints, informally produced publications, and unpublished documents are also welcome.
  • The work of Stony Brook University undergraduate and graduate students may also be deposited if the appropriate collection for that work has been established. Please contact the Scholarly Communication Librarian for more information about student work and Academic Commons.
  • Users are not encouraged to post bibliographic citations or abstracts into Academic Commons without also depositing the referenced paper.
  • Any faculty or staff member affiliated with Stony Brook University may deposit materials. Materials created cooperatively with co-authors who are not affiliated with SBU are also accepted as long as at least one of the authors is affiliated with SBU. For further information, please consult Determining Whether You May Post a Document to Academic Commons. If you are not sure whether your document is appropriate for Academic Commons, contact the Librarian Liaison for your department, or send an e-mail to

Why should SBU authors use Academic Commons to put their work on the Web?

  • Academic Commons is indexed by major search engines such as Google, and by academic search services as well, so scholarly works in Academic Commons are more easily discovered on the Web than they are on personal or departmental Web pages alone.
  • Depositing documents is easy, requiring no more work than the online submission forms for most journals and conferences.
  • Many publishers allow published research articles to be deposited in institutional repositories – often this is the pre-published version (the author’s last version after peer-review), but sometimes even the published PDF versions are allowed on Academic Commons. See the SHERPA/RoMEO list for details about the policies of individual publishers and journals.
  • Download statistics for papers in Academic Commons are available to authors who supply e-mail contact information.

How is Academic Commons organized?

Academic Commons provides any Stony Brook University community with a University Libraries-sponsored Web presence that will showcase that community’s own research and scholarship.


Academic Commons communities may be sponsored by colleges, schools, departments, or centers at Stony Brook University. Communities may publish multiple document collections, or series, which allows each community to make individual decisions about the composition of their collections. For example, one community may decide to only include faculty journal articles, while another may include articles, technical reports, and presentations.


The communities may be divided into sub-communities, which are units within the colleges, schools, and centers, and these sub-communities may publish multiple series.


Once a community or sub-community has been established, members of the sponsoring group begin establishing document series in consultation with University Libraries Center for Scholarly Communication. The sponsoring group is responsible for developing content guidelines, identifying the content, and submitting it at their convenience.


The members of each Academic Commons community are responsible for establishing the policies and procedures that guide their submissions to the repository. The Academic Commons communities are also responsible for maintaining their collections and deciding who will perform the work involved therein. Types of maintenance may include making community policy updates, adding supplementary files to already existing documents, or replacing content.


The Libraries will assist any member of the Stony Brook University community who is interested in setting up a community. Contact your department’s liaison librarian, or e-mail for help and answers to your questions.

Who can contribute a publication to Academic Commons?

Decisions about contributors may be handled at the community level. In general, however, any faculty or staff member affiliated with Stony Brook University and any of its colleges, schools, departments, labs, research centers, or institutes may deposit materials, including items that were co-authored with non-SBU authors. Academic Commons actively solicits material that is relevant and valuable to the University Libraries Center for Scholarly Communication’s missions of providing access to the scholarly output of Stony Brook University.

What is the role of University Libraries?


University Libraries established Academic Commons as part of their mission to provide access to the scholarly output and communication of Stony Brook University faculty and researchers. In a step toward fulfilling this mission, University Libraries have adopted a system that supports interoperability with open access systems.


Collection & Curation

University Libraries supports the collection of digital objects, regardless of format, in Academic Commons. It is suggested, however that authors submit files in open formats (such as PDF, HTML, and plain text) to assist the libraries in ensuring that the documents in Academic Commons remain accessible as software to read those documents changes over time.


Technical support

Setting up a community and a series is easy – liaison librarians will provide assistance with decisions on access, description, and community customization throughout the setup process. Librarians can speak with you about your copyright questions and then show you how to upload your documents. Depositors need access only to a Web browser to upload items into Academic Commons.

2. How to add documents to Academic Commons Collections

There are three steps to the basic workflow for authors to get their documents into Academic Commons:


  1. Make sure a community has been established to sponsor your document.
  2. Either request an appropriate series for your document within that community, or contribute your document to an already-established series.
  3. Await administrative approval.

Please contact the Scholarly Communication Librarian at any time for help in getting your work on the Web through Academic Commons.


The following sets of guidelines for the community, for content, and for authors should be observed when building Purdue e-Pubs collections:


Community guidelines

Setting up a community and a series is easy. Liaison librarians can provide assistance with decisions on access, description, and customized looks for a series. The University Libraries Center for Scholarly Communication welcomes your copyright questions and the Scholarly Communication Librarian is available to demonstrate repository functions such as document upload.


The Libraries provide support to administrators and depositors of all Academic Commons communities.


Easy-to-follow printed guides are available for community and series administrators, but liaison librarians and the Scholarly Communication Librarian would prefer to make a personal visit to demonstrate Academic Commons administration at your worksite. Once a community has been established, the Libraries continue to offer technical support as well.

Author guidelines

Document Description

Metadata is information that is used to describe the content in Academic Commons so that it can be identified and discovered by users. The metadata associated with each item in Academic Commons is similar to the information in a library’s catalog record for a book, providing useful information for searching (for example title, author, subjects, etc.). Certain types of metadata, such as author and title, are required for all Academic Commons items. Other types of metadata, such as keyword search terms, are optional and must be supplied by the author or community. By associating descriptive metadata with their documents, authors and communities ensure that their works will be easily accessed through tools such as Internet search engines.

Authors do not transfer copyright when submitting to Academic Commons but rather license the right for Purdue University to provide access to their scholarly material. By clicking on the license agreement, authors acknowledge that they have the authority to submit the work and that they will not infringe on anyone else’s copyright by doing so.

Academic Commons License Agreement

I hereby grant to Stony Brook University a non-exclusive perpetual royalty free license to use, duplicate and distribute the work (“Work”) in whole or in part. The Work is to be deposited in the Stony Brook University Libraries institutional repository Academic Commons. I further grant to Stony Brook University the right to transfer the Work to any format or medium now known or later developed for preservation and access in accordance with this agreement. This agreement does not represent a transfer of copyright to Stony Brook University.

I represent and warrant to Stony Brook University that the Work is my original work and does not, to the best of my knowledge, infringe or violate any rights of others nor does the deposit violate any applicable laws. I further represent and warrant that I have the authority and/or have obtained all necessary rights to permit Stony Brook University to use, duplicate and distribute the Work and that any third-party owned content is clearly identified and acknowledged within the Work.

By granting this non-exclusive license, I acknowledge that I have read and agreed to the terms of this agreement.

Authors often transfer copyright to a publisher at the time of publication. If the author of a given work has not reserved licensing rights during publication negotiation, then it may be necessary to request permission from the publisher to post the work on Academic Commons. The SHERPA/RoMEO site provides easy access to the general publication terms of many publishers, but publication contracts are typically negotiated individually, so only the document creators will know whether the precise terms of the publication agreement allow for deposit in Academic Commons.

4. Withdrawing content

Authors may request that their content be removed by their community administrator. Once a document is placed in the repository, however, a citation to the document will always remain. The administrators of Academic Commons reserve the right to remove material that does not meet the content guidelines and, conversely, the right to decline to remove material.



6. Contacts

If you have questions about Academic Commons, or if you need technical support, send an e-mail message to Darren Chase, Head of the Center for Scholarly Communication.

If you are interested in setting up a community for your department, or in providing access to your papers in Academic Commons, contact the liaison librarian for your area.


See Peter Suber’s Open Access Overview for more information on open access to scholarly publications.

A post-print is a journal article that has been peer-reviewed. Post-prints include both the publisher-produced PDFs often available through subscription as well as the author’s last manuscript delivered to the publisher for publication.

Many of the default file formats for Microsoft Office products are proprietary, but documents created with these programs can often be converted and saved in nonproprietary formats. Academic Commons cannot guarantee the future usability of files in proprietary formats (e.g., .doc, .psd, .mp3) and recommends the deposit of files in open formats instead. When the original file must be uploaded in a proprietary file format, Academic Commons recommends uploading a version in a nonproprietary format as a supplementary file.



–adopted from “Purdue E-Pubs: Policies and Help Documentation”