Policies for Scholarly Commons

Who can contribute to Scholarly Commons?

Anyone affiliated with ERAU may contribute to Scholarly Commons. This includes faculty, administrators, affiliated researchers, visiting scholars, staff and emeriti faculty. Non-affiliated individuals may contribute material if the work has been co-authored with an ERAU author or if it is appropriate for publication in one of our hosted journals or conferences.

Student contributions are limited to final copies of theses and dissertations, works that have been co-authored with an ERAU faculty member, or papers, presentations, or posters recommended for inclusion by an ERAU faculty member. (Current ERAU faculty or staff members may not contribute a work completed while they were a student at ERAU, unless it is recommended for inclusion by the faculty member who was teaching or advising the student at the time the work was created.)

What types of contributions to Scholarly Commons are acceptable?

Any materials that meet the contributor and copyright guidelines can be submitted to the repository. The emphasis of Scholarly Commons is on submissions that represent the research and educational output of ERAU-affiliated personnel. Digital submissions are preferred. However, library staff will scan print copies of research papers or articles upon request. Please direct questions regarding larger digitization projects to commons@erau.edu.

To qualify for inclusion in the collection, works deposited must either

  1. make some contribution to the body of research; or,
  2. be an original creative work (or a facsimile thereof); or,
  3. comprise part of the teaching and learning process; or,
  4. represent a significant part of the public record of the activities of the university community; or,
  5. constitute a primary resource for further research and learning.

Scholarly Commons accepts a wide range of digital materials. Possible kinds of content include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Articles and preprints
  • Technical reports
  • Working papers
  • Honors papers
  • Conference papers and presentations
  • Out-of-print books in digital format
  • Newsletters
  • Data sets
  • Images
  • Audio files
  • Video files
  • Software
  • Faculty-approved theses and dissertations
  • University publications
  • Faculty-approved undergraduate students works, senior theses, poster presentations

How do you submit a contribution to Scholarly Commons?

Faculty and staff may upload materials themselves or submissions may be made with the assistance of a Hazy Library or Hunt Library liaison. Student works, with the exception of theses and dissertations, must be coauthored or approved for submission by a faculty member. A student can submit his or her material, along with a letter or email of approval, to commons@erau.edu. All submissions must have the publisher’s clearance for posting open source to Scholarly Commons. More information is available on the Submission Guidelines page.

How are Scholarly Commons submissions reviewed?

All submissions will be reviewed by a Scholarly Commons Faculty Support Team librarian to determine whether they meet the criteria for inclusion. The Scholarly Commons Coordinator reserves the right to make final decisions about what materials will be accepted. Submissions are also reviewed to ensure that published works have the publisher’s clearance for posting to Scholarly Commons.

Can contributions be withdrawn from Scholarly Commons?

In general, once submissions have been approved and posted in Scholarly Commons, they cannot be removed, as they constitute a permanent record of the academic output of the ERAU community. Possible justifications for removing a contribution may include:

  • The appearance of the item in the collection violates a previous copyright agreement, such as an agreement between an author and a publisher.
  • Permission to deposit the material has not been properly obtained from the copyright holder(s).
  • The contributor(s) has failed to comply with the policies and procedures mandated by APPM 2.8.5 and APPM 12.0, especially in regards to safety regulations, use of human subjects, and intellectual property.
  • The item may contribute to cheating or unfair advantage in academic work (such as tests still in use, answers to problem sets, etc.).
  • The item has been determined to contain false or libelous claims toward another individual or group.

A withdrawal request may be initiated by the depositor or, in the case of a copyright violation, an internal or external entity. Requests for removal should be directed to commons@erau.edu and should include the item title, URL, and reasons for withdrawal.

After reviewing the request, the Scholarly Commons Coordinator will inform the requestor that a work has been withdrawn, or if withdrawal is not appropriate, that the item would remain. If an item is withdrawn, a notice will be placed at the URL to inform searchers of the withdrawal.

If a contributor leaves the University, their material will remain in the repository. At their request, new contact information can be added to their files. The non-exclusive license agreement preserves the depositor’s right to submit additional copies elsewhere.


Contributors are often concerned that disseminating research online can lead to a loss of control over the way their work might be used. Making your research available for free online without restrictions ("open access") will likely result in a wider audience for your work (possibly including readers from outside academia), and it is true that digital texts can be copied much more easily than those in print. However, plagiarism is actually much easier to detect online – and of course, plagiarism existed long before the Internet. It is harder for individuals to get away with plagiarizing open-access content because plagiarism checking search engines will crawl and index your work. Scholarly Commons also helps avoid unauthorized use by explicitly maintaining the connections between authors and their materials. Items in Scholarly Commons are always accompanied by full author information, a copyright statement, publication details, and a full citation, which makes it simple for your work to be properly cited. Just like traditional publication, posting material in Scholarly Commons provides a way to "fix" your research and ideas in a tangible medium of expression, preserving it for future use and providing a secure, easily referenced record of your work. Every entry in the repository has a link to the Rights and Terms of Use. Users are reminded the content they are viewing belongs to someone else. Users can clearly see how they are allowed to use that content.

Materials posted in Scholarly Commons have the same copyright protections as those printed on paper – open access only changes the method of distribution, not the author’s rights. Contributors to Scholarly Commons must either hold copyright to the work or have the permission of the copyright holder to publish it in the repository. If the contributor retains copyright for their submission, no further efforts are required, and they may proceed to the submission process. If the contributor does not maintain copyright, he/she still may be able to submit material to the repository. Many publishers will allow placement in an institutional repository of articles published in their journals or books as a form of "self-archiving" in pre-print or post-print form. (SHERPA/RoMEO (Rights Metadata for Open archives) provides information by publisher on what kind of self-archiving activity is allowed for articles in their journals. If after consulting these sources and/or the publisher, an author is unable to determine whether they retain the right to post their material in the repository, they can contact a Hunt Library or Hazy Library liaison librarian for assistance.

What are the Rights and Terms of Use for Material Posted in Scholarly Commons?

For previously published works (journal articles, book chapters, etc.) for which the publisher retains copyright, permission has been granted (where necessary) to post this material on Scholarly Commons. For any use, which exceeds personal use or fair use, permission may be required by the copyright owner of the material.

For previously unpublished scholarly or creative works, the right to download or print any portion of this material is granted by the copyright owner only for personal or educational use. The author/creator retains all proprietary rights, including copyright ownership. Any editing, other reproduction or other use of this material by any means requires the express written permission of the copyright owner.

Except as provided above, or for any other use that is allowed by fair use (Title 17, §107 U.S.C.), you may not reproduce, republish, post, transmit or distribute any material from this website in any physical or digital form without the permission of the copyright owner of the material.

Your Rights as an Author

Unfortunately, many publishers require authors to sign over copyright as part of the standard publishing agreement. Since publishing in top journals is a major component of tenure and promotion, most authors accept such agreements without argument, resulting in the relinquishment of ownership of copyright for their own intellectual property. There are two main alternatives to this situation: (a) modifying the terms of the publication contract, and (b) open-access publishing.

Many publishers will consent to changes in the standard author agreement to allow for some retention of copyright and/or deposit of work in an academic repository such as Scholarly Commons. The Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine and the SPARC Author Addendum are tools that can be used to modify your agreement with the publisher in such a way that you are able to retain key rights to your work.

Open-Access Publishing

Alternatively, consider publishing in an open-access journal (or choosing an open-access publishing option from a traditional journal publisher) or repository, where all articles are freely available online. Publishing in an open-access context allows you to retain all copyright over your research and make your work available to the widest possible audience. The Directory of Open-Access Journals lists over 9,667 open-access scholarly journals that exercise peer-review or editorial quality control.

Who has access to the items in Scholarly Commons?

There are two levels of access for works deposited in Scholarly Commons:

  • Open-access: The full-text work may be publicly viewed by anyone, regardless of institutional affiliation.
  • ERAU-only password protected: The work may only be viewed by current students, faculty, and staff of ERAU.

Scholarly Commons encourages contributors to make their works available for open access whenever possible. However, in some cases, it may be necessary to restrict access to the ERAU community.

In some cases, contributors may request that their items be restricted for a defined embargo period, after which they will be made available as open-access. For more information on this option, please contact commons@erau.edu.

Open-access works deposited in Scholarly Commons are freely available for online viewing, printing and download for the purposes of non-commercial research or private study only. Users may make or use personal copies in print or electronic format as permitted under statutory provisions of copyright law as amended, provided that:

  • The author(s), title and full bibliographic details of the item are cited clearly when any part of the work is referred to verbally or in the written form,
  • A hyperlink/URL to the original Scholarly Commons record for the item is included in any citation of the work,
  • The content is not changed in any way,
  • All files required for usage of the item are kept together with the main item file.

Users may not:

  • Sell the whole or any part of an item,
  • Refer to any part of an item without a citation,
  • Amend any item or contextualize it in a way that will impugn the contributor's reputation,
  • Remove or alter the copyright statement on an item.

Who do you contact for assistance?

If you are interested in submitting material or have questions, please contact commons@erau.edu.