Digital Commons FAQ


What is Digital Commons?

Digital Commons is a suite of tools and services that enables institutions to manage, display, and publish scholarship to the web in a beautiful, highly visible online showcase. As the leading hosted institutional repository (IR) platform, Digital Commons offers all of the features of a traditional IR as well as professional-grade publishing tools and our SelectedWorks™ individual scholar pages.

With Digital Commons, institutions can collect, preserve, and make visible all of their intellectual output, including pre-prints, working papers, journal articles, dissertations, master's theses, conference proceedings, presentations, data sets, images, and a wide variety of other content types.

What is included with a Digital Commons license?

A Digital Commons license includes setup, training, support, documentation, upgrades, and hosting. In short, you'll receive a full-featured institutional repository with service and support at a price less than the cost of implementing a similar open source application.

What technical support is included?

Bepress offers unlimited technical support to Digital Commons licensees by phone and email. In most cases we can resolve your request the day you contact us. Learn more about Digital Commons support and hosting services.

What additional services does bepress offer to help make Digital Commons a success?

Bepress offers faculty outreach, rights-checking, administrator training, end-user support, and ongoing software development. We also have a committed team of outreach and scholarly communications experts to keep your repository thriving post-launch. To learn more about the resources and support we provide existing customers, visit the Resources pages of our website.

What is SelectedWorks™?

SelectedWorks is an optional add-on to the Digital Commons suite, which allows faculty to create and manage their own personal researcher pages. Content from SelectedWorks sites can be collected into the repository and vice versa.

How are new features added to Digital Commons?

We maintain a rigorous development cycle based on user feedback, new IR technologies, and our own discoveries for improving the service. If your institution has unique needs, let us know—we accommodate most requests in a timely manner and can perform minor custom enhancements to the platform on a case-by-case basis.

Who maintains Digital Commons sites?

Bepress builds and maintains your site. This lets you focus on collecting content and building support for the IR on campus.

Who is responsible for uploading content to the site?

Most institutions designate an administrator (a member of their department's support staff or a particular faculty member) to upload and post papers. Individual authors can also choose to upload their own articles, which will then be sent to the administrator for approval. Our system automatically converts Microsoft Word and RTF documents to PDF on the fly when needed.

What kinds of statistics are available?

Site administrators can run reports that provide download and referral information for each article, series, department, or for the whole institution. Authors automatically receive monthly download reports for their papers. Learn how bepress tallies downloads. In addition, all Digital Commons repository sites are fully integrated with Google™ Analytics, a third-party service that provides detailed information on your website traffic.

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Setting Up Your Repository

How long does it take to get a new repository up and running?

We'll build and design your IR within three weeks of receiving a completed setup form. Once the site is ready, we'll train your institution's administrators. After the training, which usually takes one to two hours by phone, you can begin posting content to your repository.

How much technical work is required to set up Digital Commons?

Setup requires a small amount of DNS work by a system administrator (to assign the URL to your repository). This should take less than one day. All remaining technical work (setup, graphic design, site-level administration, etc.) will be handled by bepress.

May we customize our site?

Absolutely. Bepress will customize your Digital Commons repository based on your specified preferences and include your institution's branding. In most cases, we'll be able to preserve the look and feel of your existing website. We offer additional, minor customizations to individual subscribers on a case-by-case basis.

What URL does the service use?

Your Digital Commons repository site will be hosted at the URL of your choice.

Can Digital Commons support multimedia files?

Yes, Digital Commons allows the upload of any discrete file formats including audio, video and image files. Additionally, you can stream media from third-party services like YouTube or Vimeo on Digital Commons metadata pages.

Is our content safe?

Yes. We have a multi-tiered disaster recovery plan utilizing fail-over servers and regular on-site and off-site backups. We make copies of repository content available to subscribers so they can create their own back-ups, and support LOCKSS, an OAIS-compliant preservation strategy that provides tools for libraries to back up each other’s content.

Can Digital Commons handle foreign language content?

Yes, Digital Commons supports unicode metadata and full-text objects, which allows submissions in such non-Western languages as Greek, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Hebrew, and Arabic. So, feel free to include smiley faces in your metadata and articles. ☺

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How does Digital Commons facilitate searching?

Digital Commons content is full-text indexed in major search engines like Google™, Bing™, and Google™ Scholar. Our repository sites benefit from being part of an extensive collection of quality academic research—over 480,000 submissions and growing. In addition, scholars can find your papers and objects by topic, author, keyword, or institution. Customized email alerts and RSS feeds are also available to readers, allowing them to be automatically notified of new research.

Does Digital Commons support the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH)?

Yes. Digital Commons supports OAI-PMH version 2.0.

Is Digital Commons an OAI Data Provider, or Service Provider?

Digital Commons is an OAI Data Provider, but not a Service Provider. This means that Digital Commons sites support the OAI Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) as a means of exposing metadata, but the sites do not harvest OAI data from other sites.

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Peer-Review Management Tools

Can I use Digital Commons as a platform for publishing a peer-reviewed journal?

Yes! Peer review tools are one of Digital Commons' greatest strengths. In fact, Digital Commons comes equipped with EdiKit™, a professional-grade editorial management system, which is currently used by over one hundred peer review journals. EdiKit brings the entire peer-review process, including deadline management, communication between authors, editors and reviewers, and other editorial tasks, online via its intuitive interface. See all the journals published using Digital Commons.

Can my journal be Open Access?

Yes, you can create both open access and subscription-based journals with Digital Commons. Your Digital Commons license includes support, setup, and custom design services for as many journals as you wish to create.

Can editors or administrators be assigned different privileges for managing our site?

Yes. Digital Commons offers full and granular control of editor and administrator privileges. For peer-reviewed publications, editors, reviewers and authors have default privileges that may be adjusted to meet the editor's requirements.

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