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Institutional Repository: ODU Digital Commons

Repository Policies


The mission of ODU Digital Commons is to provide a central repository to collect, organize, archive, disseminate, and showcase the scholarly, creative, and institutional works of Old Dominion University. ODU Digital Commons supports the university’s strategic goal to “enhance the university’s academic and research excellence” by “building a national and international reputation in areas of academic and research strength.” It is maintained by the University Libraries as a service to the ODU community and scholars worldwide.


The central scope of ODU Digital Commons is to reflect the intellectual output of ODU faculty, researchers, staff, and students. Content should be educational or research-oriented in nature. The work must be wholly or in part produced or sponsored by ODU faculty, researchers, staff, or students. Work by undergraduate students must have an ODU faculty or administrative sponsor.

Examples of appropriate content include:

  • published articles* 
  • theses, dissertations, master’s papers 
  • books, book chapters 
  • technical reports, conference papers, presentations
  • datasets

Additional content includes, but is not limited to: 

  • multimedia and audio-visual materials 
  • learning objects 
  • open educational resources (OER)
  • patents 
  • blogs 

*Permissible formats for published materials:

  • Publisher’s PDF: Copy of pdf (or scan of print article) from publisher’s website
  • Preprint: First draft submitted to publisher
  • Postprint: Author final manuscript submitted to publisher - after peer-review  and prior to copy-editing by publisher
  • Link to publisher’s website: usually because copyright permission could not be secured. Reader will need a subscription or may purchase the article. 

While we focus on materials produced by ODU-affiliated faculty, staff and students while employed or enrolled in the university, we will consider requests by faculty to include materials created at a previous institution. 

Content of archival value produced or sponsored by administrative offices and academic units may also be appropriate for deposit in ODU Digital Commons. Examples of such content include: departmental newsletters; administrative reports, annual reports, strategic plans; compilations of University data

ODU Digital Commons also serves as a platform for faculty, staff, and students to host journals and events/conferences.


ODU Digital Commons is intended as a resource for open access research. Materials will, in general, be made available for download by the public freely and without barrier*. Some content may have limited access due to an embargo period, copyright or licensing, or other issues. The following restrictions and embargoes are allowed:

  • Access may be restricted to members of the ODU community by IP address.
  • Access to the full text may be temporarily blocked (to any user) for an embargo period normally not to exceed 2 years.
  • After the embargo period, the content will be openly accessible.

*Although it goes against our principle of open access, in rare cases we may link out to a subscription resource.


ODU Digital Commons is a part of the scholarly record and is intended to provide persistent access to deposited material. Once an item is deposited, a citation to it will always remain. Under certain circumstances, however, it may be necessary to remove material from ODU Digital Commons. A request for removal should be directed to the ODU Digital Commons Manager and include the reasons for withdrawal.

If a faculty or staff member leaves the university, their work will not be withdrawn from ODU Digital Commons. We will no longer add their materials, unless the materials are co-authored by another ODU faculty or staff.


The author/owner of content deposited in ODU Digital Commons must own copyright for (or have permission to post) work submitted. If the submission contains material for which the author does not hold copyright, and that exceeds fair use, permission to use the material must be clearly identified and acknowledged within the text or content of the submission. Authors/owners grant the University Libraries a non-exclusive, perpetual right to use the digital assets for non-commercial use. Because authors retain the copyright for all content posted in the repository, they are free to reuse the content elsewhere.

See Copyright & Author Rights library guide.

Repository Practices

Tracking Copyright Policies

The libraries staff use several means to discover an author’s right to archive his or her work in an open-access repository. 

  • SHERPA/RoMEO:  A continuously updated online database of thousands of publications' archiving policies.  Journal policies regarding open access may have changed since you published some of your articles. SHERPA/RoMEO reveals what rights a publisher will grant authors for archiving in certain formats; it also lists requirements for information to provide when archiving on an open-access repository.
  • Publisher Web Sites.
  • Copyright transfer agreements: Publishers typically require authors to transfer copyright to the publisher in a copyright transfer agreement. Please save your copyright transfer agreements. Sometimes, an agreement includes a clause granting an author the right to archive the work in an institutional repository. If not, an author can often add a clause to retain this right; remember this for future publications. If you didn’t save the copyright transfer agreement, we can help you determine your rights. 

If we can’t find the policy through our typical channels, we will write to the publisher for permission. If it is not granted, we can provide a link to the article rather than a full-text download option.

Versions of Articles in ODU Digital Commons


Preprint: This is the first draft you submitted to a publisher.

Postprint: The name is misleading. This is the final manuscript you submitted to the publisher after making revisions from the peer review process; a postprint hasn’t been printed or designed or even copy-edited yet; it’s usually a Word document.

Publisher’s PDF: This is a scan or page export from the printed or online journal.

Link to publisher’s website: This takes a reader to the original publication. Some drawbacks: Sometimes, a reader must have a subscription or purchase the publication. And, it doesn't count as a full-text download. We generally do not link to items behind a paywall.

Discipline Taxonomy

Digital Commons uses a "three-tiered taxonomy of academic subject areas" to tag content and enhance discoverability. It was developed from the resources such as An Assessment of Research Doctoral Programs from the National Academies, Classification of Instructional Programs from the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) from the National Library of Medicine, etc.  Suggestions for additional headings can be made to Digital Commons. 

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