Frequently Asked Questions


Who can submit content to Virtual Commons?

Individuals (students, staff, and full-time faculty members) affiliated with any Bridgewater State University college, department, program, center, institute or other campus unit may contribute content.

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What are the benefits of contributing my work?

As an open access repository, Virtual Commons increases the visibility and accessibility of your research and scholarship, enabling greater access to colleagues, new audiences and potential future collaborators. Sharing your scholarship and research through an institutional repository contributes to the open access movement, which seeks to share scholarship in a collegial global environment

Benefits include:

  • Content is full-text indexed in major search engines like Google, Bing, and Google Scholar
  • Researchers and scholars can find your submissions by topic, author, keyword, or institution
  • Every item is assigned a unique persistent URL, allowing you to share work without worrying about broken links
  • Virtual Commons provides a centralized online presence for key documents related to Bridgewater State University
  • Customized email alerts and RSS feeds are available to readers, allowing them to be automatically notified of your new research and publications
  • Comprehensive reports are available to allow you to track download statistics

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What materials can be contributed?

The work should be scholarly in nature. Suggested content types include:

  • Journal articles, essays, or reviews
  • Theses and dissertations
  • Contributions to books
  • Conference proceedings, papers and presentations
  • Technical reports and campus publications
  • Research reports from grant-funded projects with Open Access requirements
  • Creative works that were previously published (e.g. scores, poems, plays, etc.)

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I don't have electronic versions of old working papers that I'd like to include in the repository. Is it okay to scan the printed page to a PDF file?

Yes--scanning printed pages is a great way to create PDF files for inclusion in the repository. There are two ways to scan a page: using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) or scanning the page as an image. Making OCR scans requires careful proofreading and loses the original formatting of the documents. Image scans cannot be searched. The best solution takes advantage of both of these methods. 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.

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Can Maxwell Library assist me in scanning my papers and uploading them into Virtual Commons?

Yes. Please contact the Virtual Commons administrator or your library liaison for help with scanning, uploading, and investigating publisher copyright policies.

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How do I contribute to Virtual Commons?

For faculty:
Option 1: Navigate to the Virtual Commons collection that you would like to contribute to (e.g. History Department Faculty Publications). For most collections there will be a “Submit” link in the left-hand menu bar. Clicking on that link will lead you through the submission process.
Option 2: Contact the Virtual Commons administrator for assistance in submitting your work.

For students:
Student work is eligible for inclusion in Virtual Commons as part of several university undergraduate and graduate programs, including the Honors Program, the Office of Undergraduate Research, Master’s program theses, and capstone projects. For more information and assistance, please contact the Virtual Commons administrator.

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When I copy and paste abstracts into the Submit form, some formatted text reverts to plain text. What's going on?

When copying abstracts from a word processing file or a PDF file, and pasting the text into the submission form, you are taking text from an environment that supports fonts and text style changes. Because the abstract is intended to be presented on the web, text styles must be specified using HTML codes.

If submitting an abstract in HTML format, please be sure to select the corresponding option on the submission form.

The following HTML tags are recognized by the system and may be used to format an abstract (use lowercase tags):

How to include HTML tags

HTML tags
<p> - paragraph
<p>This is the first paragraph.</p>
<p>This is the second paragraph.</p>

This is the first paragraph.

This is the second paragraph.

<br /> - line break
<p>This is a line of text with a linebreak here. <br /> This is text after</p>

This is a line of text with a linebreak here.
This is text after

<strong> - strong/bold
<strong>bold text</strong>

bold text

<em> - italics/emphasis
<em>italicized text</em>

italicized text

<sub> - subscript
Text with <sub>subscript</sub>

Text with subscript

<sup> - superscript
Text with <sup>superscript</sup>

Text with superscript

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How do I include accents and special characters in the abstracts and titles?

The repository software supports the worldwide character set (Unicode, utf-8). Accents, symbols, and other special characters may be copied and pasted into the abstract or title field from a word processing file or typed in directly. Windows users may also use the Character Map to insert these characters. Macintosh users may use the Character Palette (available via Edit > Special Characters in the Finder).

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How do I revise a submission?

To revise a submission that has been posted to the repository, contact the repository administrator with the new version.

If the submission has been submitted, but not yet posted, you may revise it via your My Account page:

  1. Locate the article on your My Account page, and click the title.
  2. Click Revise Submission from the list of options in the left sidebar.
  3. Enter your changes in the Revise Submission form, and click Submit at the bottom of the page to submit your changes. (You only need to modify the portion of the form that corresponds to the changes you wish to make.)

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How can I submit a multi-part file, such as multiple chapters for a book?

Combine all the sections together as one Microsoft Word file or PDF file and submit that.

To make one PDF file from multiple files, open the first PDF file, then choose Document>Insert Pages from Acrobat's menus to insert the second file (indicate it should go after the last page of the first file), and repeat for all documents. The result will be one compound PDF file which may then be submitted.

If you feel that the one large PDF file might be too large for some people to download, we suggest that you submit the consolidated file as the full text of the article, and then upload the separate chapters or sections of the document as Associated Files. These files will appear on the web page alongside the complete document. For more information about uploading associated files, see below.

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

Yes. The bepress system refers to these supplementary items as Associated Files. You will be prompted to submit Associated Files when you upload your submissions. The name of the files you upload will appear on the web site along with your short description of it. Viewers must have the necessary software to open your files; that is not provided by the bepress system.

Please be sure that there are no permissions issues related to use of the associated material. Sometimes, especially with images, you must write a letter seeking permission to use the material before it can be posted.

Also note that where possible, items such as images, charts and tables that are referenced in the document (or otherwise an integral part of the document) should be included directly in the article itself and not posted just as associated files.

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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.

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A working paper in our repository site has been published in a slightly revised form in a journal. What should I do?

Many journals do not have any restrictions on working papers that preceded an article, especially if substantial revisions were made. You should check your author agreement with the journal to confirm that there is no problem with leaving the working paper on the site. The repository would constitute noncommercial use.

Assuming the working paper does remain on 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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Can I restrict access to my work submitted to Virtual Commons?

Virtual Commons encourages free and open access to the contents of the repository. However, there are situations in which depositors may need to restrict access. For example, a publisher may allow deposit of published articles into an institutional repository but require a six- or twelve-month embargo period before the article may be made publicly available.

If the content you are submitting requires restricted access, please contact the Virtual Commons administrator for assistance.

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Is it possible to withdraw an item from Virtual Commons?

Virtual Commons is designed to be a permanent institutional repository providing persistent access to the materials contained therein. In some cases there may be reason to withdraw an item, such as copyright violation, factual inaccuracy, or plagiarism. All withdrawal requests must go through the Virtual Commons administrator.

When an item is withdrawn, a citation including original metadata will always remain, but the work is noted as withdrawn. Withdrawn items are not available for harvesting by services such as OAIster or indexing by search engines.

Items submitted to Virtual Commons may not be withdrawn because the author or depositor is moving to another institution.

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How do I set up a SelectedWorks page on the Virtual Commons site?

SelectedWorks pages are created for faculty and staff who contribute their work to Virtual Commons. To set up a SelectedWorks page, please contact the Virtual Commons administrator.

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Where can I learn more about Institutional Repositories and Scholarly Communication?

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Where can I learn more about retaining copyright to my work?

For more information, please see the SPARC Author Rights website and the SPARC Author Addendum. The Maxwell Library strongly encourages faculty and staff who are publishing in journals to retain copyright to the fullest extent possible.

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