Frequently Asked Questions


What is an institutional repository?

An institutional repository like the Osgoode Digital Commons is not only a place, it is also a set of services. A repository provides a centralized digital host for the collection and preservation of faculty’s work. The services we provide include:

  • Processing submissions
  • Performing copyright clearances and verifications
  • Ensuring item discoverability via detailed metadata entries
  • Tracking item visibility via metrics
  • Performing stewardship of repository items
  • Accommodating specialized digital collections

Essentially, once faculty demonstrate an interest in having their scholarship available in the repository, we perform on their behalf as many of the associated tasks as possible

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What is the purpose of an institutional repository?

Research is more valuable when it is shared. Today’s digital world has advanced the ways in which we make sharing possible. Repositories like the Osgoode Digital Commons are a key component in this new information landscape. Not only do they carry the authority and prestige of their faculty and institution, they are also guided by the principles of openness and equity. This means unrestricted universal access to scholarship, which in turn increases the exposure of our faculty’s scholarly outputs.

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Can I submit my paper to a repository and still publish it at a later time?

Yes, a working paper that is not forthcoming in a publication is under the author’s ownership, which allows the author to share it however they like. This is known as a working paper or a pre-print. Should the author later wish to publish this paper, the greater majority of publishers will permit the retention of this paper version in repositories.

Papers that have been accepted for publication and have undergone peer-review are known as post-prints/accepted manuscripts. These papers usually remain under the author’s ownership, but this should be confirmed with the publisher/editor. The Osgoode Digital Commons is always able to accommodate changes in publisher requirements.

Once a paper is formatted, typeset, and published by the publisher, it becomes the final published version. Most of the author rights over this paper version, including the right to distribute, are transferred over to the publisher. This means that the final published version cannot be uploaded to institutional repositories. However, the pre-print and usually the post-print versions of the published paper remain under the author’s ownership and can therefore be distributed in institutional repositories.

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Can I add material other than journal articles and book chapters to the repository?

Yes, the Osgoode Digital Commons strives to preserve more than just journal articles and book chapters. We also collect conference papers, reports, working papers, editorials, images, and videos. For more information, get in touch with us at DigitalCommons@osgoode.yorku.ca.

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Does submitting my paper to a repository actually make it more widely available?

Yes, the Osgoode Digital Commons is supported by priority search indexing, which means items in the repository appear in the top search results of search engines such as Google and Google Scholar. This priority search indexing is further supported by the repository’s open access policy, which allows items to be fully discoverable and accessed by users globally.

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