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ScholarWorks Open Access Repository

The information on this page is pending review and may be out of date. Please visit our new ScholarWorks information page.

Guide for ScholarWorks Open Access Repository projects and policies

Welcome to the CSUN ScholarWorks Open Access Repository (SOAR) information page; to access ScholarWorks itself, please visit CSUN ScholarWorks

View full text PDF version of the repository policies listed below

What is an open access institutional repository? [PDF]

What does "open" mean? [Open Definition, HTML]

1. Introduction

The California State University, Northridge, University Library is committed to maximizing the visibility and impact of its scholarly output and research activities by providing open online access to its research through the CSUN ScholarWorks Open Access Repository (SOAR).  Based on the open source software platform DSpace and hosted by CSU Chancellor’s Office, SOAR provides a sustainable and scalable platform for the long-term access and preservation of digital resources.

The development of SOAR supports the university’s commitment to open access as outlined in the Berlin Declaration on Open Access (2003), to which CSUN is signatory from August 2013, and the CSUN Faculty Senate open access resolution passed in November 2013 (cf.  SOAR is also consistent with the principles promoted by the NIH, NSF and other funders requiring publicly-funded research to be accessible to the tax-payers funding it. See CSUN Office of Research and Sponsored Projects (ORSP) for more details on grant writing and SOAR’s role in research dissemination:

SOAR is CSUN’s definitive record of research output and provides data for future research assessment as well as for internal reports and can be used for bibliometric analysis, especially in the growing area of altmetrics. As a result of the November 2013 CSUN Faculty Senate resolution, SOAR will strive to provide the full text of all peer-reviewed research published by CSUN faculty.  

It is intended that the process of submitting works to SOAR be an easy one. The University Library will ensure that a simple methodology with straightforward instructions for submissions be made available in multiple formats. Where possible, as part of its Scholar Spotlight services, library staff will assist in depositing items and creating bibliographic records on behalf of participating faculty, staff and students.

One of the most effective methods for ensuring quick and thorough population of the SOAR database is to make the deposit of research mandatory. Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs) are currently mandated as of May, 2012, and their current submission process has been streamlined via an online system.  Although not a mandate, the CSUN Faculty Senate Open Access resolution strongly recommends faculty to deposit the full text of peer-reviewed journal articles and other research -- such as learning objects, datasets, diagrams or graphs, charts, multimedia, etc. -- into the ScholarWorks Open Access Repository.

2. Policy Statement

It is the University Library’s intent to establish a comprehensive database of CSUN research that includes full-text openly accessible materials with attendant bibliographic records.  Two policies shape this intention.

First CSUN’s Electronic Theses and Dissertations policy mandates that all students submit the following to the repository:

                The electronic version of theses accepted for research degrees after May 2012 will be deposited in the repository on behalf of the students.

Second, CSUN’s open access resolution strongly encourages CSUN Faculty members to:

  1. Publish in peer-reviewed journals that allow open access archiving or peer-reviewed journals that are open-access
  2. Submit journal articles to ScholarWorks Open Access Repository (SOAR) as soon as possible after acceptance for publication
  3. Grant CSUN a non-exclusive license to archive selected previously published journal articles in SOAR
  4. Grant CSUN the right to migrate selected faculty publications to updated media or formats for digital preservation purposes.

3. Submission of content

The following is a list of recommendations and guidelines for submitting content:

  • A wide variety of research can be submitted to the repository including journal articles, conference proceedings and presentations, monographs, books (including e-textbooks developed by the CSUN e-text initiative ) and book chapters, theses, reports for external bodies, patents, software, performances (video/audio), compositions, designs, exhibitions and digital visual media.
  • Publications submitted to the repository should be as close as possible to the published version and should comply with publisher policies and conditions; the majority of journal publishers will allow authors to deposit an author’s final version (also known as a post-print) or an author’s first draft version (also known as a pre-print). This is verified by SOAR staff in the SHERPA/ROMEO database.
  • It is requested that peer-reviewed publications be submitted within 3 months of being accepted for publication.
  • If authors of works deposited in SOAR leave CSUN, the item will remain in the repository as part of the institution’s historical record of scholarship. As stipulated in SOAR’s non-exclusive distribution license, authors always retain the right to deposit the same content in another repository; authors may also opt to refer to the version already in SOAR.
  • SOAR is intended as both an access and preservation repository. As a result both accessible file and preservation file formats can be uploaded. The preferred file format for peer-reviewed articles is PDF, although other file formats are accepted. For specific works such as audio, video, slides, software, and the like, any file format can be submitted, though it is expected that works be in the most accepted formats for their type.

4. Exceptions

In certain circumstances original as well as pre-print and post-print works must be excluded from public view. Examples include:

  • Material restricted by copyright or other US legislation from being made available in a repository.
  • Material restricted by publisher or funder agreements or other licensing conditions.
  • Research that contains commercially sensitive or confidential material or intellectual property requiring protection.
  • Unpublished material containing non-copyright cleared third-party content, especially material that does not clear a reasonable and judicious Fair Use analysis.

A takedown procedure to minimize risk from copyright infringement or other complaint regarding content will be operated.

5. Embargoes or delays in publishing to the repository

An embargo is a period of time during which access to the content of the work deposited is not available. Metadata (including title, author, publication date, abstract, etc.) describing the content, however, will be made available to all users.

  • Works under embargo by publishers or funders -- or at student and student thesis advisor’s request in the case of ETDs -- will be deposited but not made publicly available until the embargo period, typically 1-2 years, has expired.
  • As outlined in Section 2 (Policy Statement), it is expected that all theses and dissertations submitted to CSUN as a requirement for graduation from May 2012 onward will be published into the public domain. Exceptions are considered on a case by case basis by the student in conference with his/her thesis committee chair/advisor. Theses published at CSUN from 1957-1988, unless specifically stated otherwise by a © symbol and registered at the time with the U.S. Copyright Office, are considered to be published into the public domain.  Theses published at CSUN after March 1989 up to May 2012 are subject to copyright restrictions, and all rights are reserved to the authors.
  • Reasons for embargoes generally fall under these categories: 1) the author intends to publish the work later and placing the thesis in open access will likely impinge on this; 2) the author’s work can be situated within a greater intellectual and disciplinary context, and as a result third parties (either proprietary or academic) may have claim to some of the intellectual property disclosed within it (the primary example of this is a thesis published as part of an experiment in a laboratory’s grant-funded project).
  • Embargoes are usually 1-2 years for ETDs and can be renewed indefinitely at the request of the student or his/her thesis advisor. In the case of a thesis advisor requesting a longer embargo written justification as well as evidence of the potential negative impact must be provided.

For more information on ETDs and embargoes please visit

For more information on how to decide whether to embargo a thesis please visit [link here]

6. Responsibilities and Quality Assurance

SOAR is designed to enable the uploading of works with minimal effort; the following policies outline the responsibilities and quality assurance steps taken to ensure it remains both streamlined as well as thoroughly vetted:

  • Authors can submit a version of their own or co-authored work to SOAR; they are, however, highly encouraged to ensure the validity and authenticity of the content.
  • Authors are responsible for ensuring that their work does not infringe the copyright and/or moral rights of any other third parties. Copyright Information [HTML]
  • Items may be submitted by delegated CSUN staff (i.e. student assistants, department support staff, etc.) or sent, as part of the Scholar Spotlight Program, to University Library SOAR staff to be uploaded on behalf of authors. 
  • Graduate students submit theses through the Office of Graduate Studies Electronic Thesis System.
  • University Library SOAR staff will confirm compliance with publisher copyright policies, if applicable, before works are made publicly available.
  • University Library SOAR staff will advise and support researchers, faculty, staff, and students in the deposit process.

7. Metadata

  • Metadata will be created by authors or delegated agents at the time of submission. As a minimum this will include title, author, abstract, publication date, publisher, citation information, abstract and keywords.
  • University library SOAR staff will create additional metadata and edit basic metadata to ensure the quality of complete metadata records.
  • All metadata in the repository is based on the recognized global standard Dublin Core (ISO Standard 15836:2009 of February 2009 [ISO15836]; ANSI/NISO Standard Z39.85-2012 of February 2013 [NISOZ3985]; IETF RFC 5013 of August 2007 [RFC5013]and implemented with the goal of creating harvestable and interoperable items and collections.
  • Where possible, controlled vocabularies will be used to maintain consistency and to enhance the quality of records exposed to search and browse services.
  • Current controlled vocabulary and keywords will be periodically examined for quality control and redundancies and inaccuracies will be cleaned up.
  • Anyone may access metadata in the repository free of charge and records may be incorporated into aggregate services.
  • Rights for reuse of metadata are defined in Section 8 below.

8. Access and Reuse of repository metadata and content

Items deposited in the repository will be made openly accessible via the Internet immediately unless subject to an embargo period.  Content is intended for free, permanent open access.

Two policies exist for metadata and for data:

A) Metadata reuse policy

  • Metadata may be accessed free of charge
  • Metadata may be reused in any medium without prior permission for not-for-profit purposes provided that the unique identifier or links to the original metadata records are given.
  • Metadata may not be reused in any medium for commercial purposes without the formal written permission of both SOAR repository staff and the copyright owners of the original materials requested.

B) Content and data reuse policy

  • Full-text items in all externally accessible areas of the repository may be access free of charge.

  • Some material is restricted to internal use and will be available for access by CSUN or University Library staff only.
  • Embargoed items are withheld from view due to legal requirements or to comply with publisher, funder, or CSUN policies. Unless the term is extended, materials are released upon the fulfillment of the embargo term.
  • Copies of open access items can be reproduced, displayed or performed; they can be given to third parties in any format or medium for personal research or study, educational and/or not-for-profit purposes, without prior permission or charge. This is subject to the following restrictions:
    • Authors, titles and full bibliographic details (i.e. moral rights to attribution, credit, etc.) are given
    • A hyperlink, URL, or URI is provided for the original metadata page
    • The original rights permission statement or creative commons license is displayed. (i.e. Copyright 2012 John Smith, Creative Commons )
  • As with metadata, full-text open access items may not be sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.
  • Some full-text open access items may still be subject to specific copyright restrictions or permissions and conditions, such as creative commons or other alternative licensing that must be obeyed on an item-by-item basis.

9. Amendment, withdrawal, and suppression procedures for CSUN ScholarWorks

To preserve the integrity of the scholarly record, CSUN does not generally support the removal or deletion of publications once posted to ScholarWorks. However, in certain circumstances, CSUN and the University Library reserve the right to amend, withdraw, or suppress items published within the repository. Such circumstances may include but are not limited to the following: submission and metadata errors; fraudulent, retracted, or otherwise discredited research; third-party copyright violations; other encroachments of third-party rights such as libel and slander, personal privacy and safety (i.e. HIPAA, FERPA), and plagiarism; and other violations of the CSU ScholarWorks Deposit Agreement. As per the Terms of Use, CSUN does not endorse or approve any posted material or content provided by others, including CSU authors.

Amendment, withdrawal, and suppression requests shall be reviewed by repository administrators and sent on to the University Library Dean for final deliberation.

The amendment, withdrawal, and suppression procedure will apply as follows:

  1. Complaints received through the Withdrawal and Suppression Requests Form will be acknowledged and investigated.
  2. Valid complaints will be referred to appropriate authorities within CSUN and the University Library.
  3. The item will be temporarily removed if the complaint is deemed to be valid, pending an agreed solution. The item will be removed in the cases where reasonable doubt exists.
  4. The depositor and/or owner of the content will be notified of the complaint.
  5. Each case will be analyzed and judged individually, encouraging amicable resolution between concerned parties.
  6. Both complainant and depositor will be informed of the outcome of the investigation and the actions to be taken, which may include the following:
    1. Content remains in the repository unchanged.
    2. Content is amended; in consultation with the author, infringing materials are removed; an edited version is returned to the repository and its new version indicated in the bibliographic record.
    3. Content is suppressed; the item remains unchanged, but access is altered to restrict unauthorized availability; a metadata record may be kept for public access (e.g. embargo) or a tombstone indicating withdrawal may be provided (e.g. dark archive).
    4. Content is withdrawn; the item is permanently removed from the repository and its metadata record deleted.

10. Digital Preservation Procedures

  • Items are retained indefinitely; items are migrated, converted and backed up on local, consortial and cloud storage solutions.
  • Though SOAR endeavors to make all content available in perpetuity, it may not be possible to guarantee the continued readability and accessibility of all items, particularly unusual or obsolete formats.
  • Repository files are backed up regularly by the Chancellor’s Office Systemwide Digital Library Services.
  • Items will not be removed from the repository, except at the discretion of University Library and SOAR staff members or CSUN administration.
  • Items may be withdrawn or deleted in accordance with the takedown procedure.
  • Items withdrawn items will be removed from public view, with their identifiers pointing to a “tombstone” stating the item has been withdrawn.
  • Deleted items will be removed entirely from the database with no record of its existence provided.
  • Except in cases of copyright infringement, changes to deposited items are not permitted. However the following is provided:
    • Errata lists may be included with the original record to indicate item provenance
    • An updated version may be deposited while the earlier version can be withdrawn from public view (upon request).
  • In the event of DSpace being closed down, the database will be transferred to another online digital archival system deemed appropriate.   


Author's final version / post-print
For Journal articles this refers to the final author-created, post-refereed version accepted for publication, sometimes referred to as ‘post-print’ or ‘accepted’ version.It is not the same as the published version, which includes publisher logos, formatting, and copyright notices.
Deposit license
The deposit license confirms that the work being submitted is original, and grants necessary permission to SOAR for the storage, preservation and dissemination of the submission.
A period of time restricting access to a work submitted to SOAR.Publishers often impose conditions on the deposit of full text items in repositories, including a time delay following publication.Publisher embargo periods are checked using the Sherpa/Romeo database.Funders may also require a period of non-disclosure. Finally, CSUN students writing a thesis may request an embargo on release of their work to protect them for a limited time.[]
Intellectual property
The requirement to deposit research must take into account CSUN Intellectual Property policies These policies outline the type of material that may be generated by staff and students, such as inventions, and the methods for protection and exploitation of Intellectual Property rights.
Metadata is the structured information used to find, use and manage information resources. SOAR uses metadata conforming to the global standard metadata scheme Dublin Core. This allows information about resources to be structured by specifically defined syntax and ensures that information can be exchanged with indexing services such as Google Search and other open access repositories.
Open access (OA)
Unrestricted online access to peer-reviewed scholarly research. Open access is primarily intended for scholarly journal articles, but is also provided for a growing number of theses, book chapters, and scholarly monographs. There are primarily two versions of open access: Green OA, Gold OA.
Green OA: also known as self-archiving, this refers to the practice of depositing articles in an institutional repository (such as SOAR) or a subject repository such as ArXiv.
Gold OA: publishing in open access journals such as Public Library of Science (PLOS). This includes Author Publication Fees. These fees are covered by authors, grant funding agencies, or institutional support.
Open Access Citation Advantage (OACA)
Documented research shows that open access provides a statistically significant increase in citations. In some disciplines this increase is upwards of 300%. (cf. Open Access Citation Advantage: An Annotated Bibliography, 2010;
A pre-print is the author's first submitted version to a journal; it is the version existing in a least-edited form, prior to peer-review, editorial changes, or publisher formatting.
An aspect of open access -- usually called Green OA -- in which an author or his/her designated representative places a version (see Author’s final version / Post print or Pre-print) of their publication into an institutional or subject repository for the sake of promoting open access.
Takedown policy
SOAR’s takedown policy is in place to minimize institutional risk from inappropriate material being made available through the repository. In the event of a legitimate complaint regarding the accessibility of repository content, the library will investigate and implement appropriate changes (i.e. keep as-is, withdraw from open access, or delete from the collection).