ScholarlyCommons FAQ

Using ScholarlyCommons

Submitting to ScholarlyCommons

How do I create a ScholarlyCommons account?

Although you can explore ScholarlyCommons and download materials without logging in, an account will allow you to sign up for personalized notifications and other email announcements, as well as to submit materials to the site. Accounts are free. They are available both to Penn and non-Penn users and are thus NOT based on PennKey authentication.

To create an account
  1. Select My Account from the left navigation column
  2. Choose "create new account" option
  3. Click “signup”

After you provide your name, email address, and initial password (and, optionally, an institutional affiliation*), the system will confirm registration via email. Use a different password from the one you use for your university account, or other sensitive accounts. (For example, Penn users should NOT use their PennKey password.) Logins and email password notifications are currently not encrypted and may be intercepted.

*If you are affiliated with Penn, please add your institutional affiliation as “University of Pennsylvania” REGARDLESS of your school or other affiliation at Penn.

To log into your account

Select My Account from the left navigation column and then enter your email address and password. If you forget your password, you can enter your email address without a password, and will receive your password immediately by email. If you want to change your password, go to the "My Account" page and choose the "Edit Profile" option.

How do I browse for content in ScholarlyCommons?

ScholarlyCommons includes papers and other materials deposited in this collection by schools, departments, and other units at Penn, as well as links to electronic full texts of Penn dissertations, made available from ProQuest. The ScholarlyCommons home page offers options for browsing this content.

  • Browse by research unit, center, or department: Content under this option has been deposited by individual Penn units. Select this option, then select the name of a unit to see a list of available collections. These might include departmental papers, technical report series, or other materials.
  • Browse by author: Browse a list of all of the authors (alphabetical by last name) with materials in ScholarlyCommons.
  • Browse dissertations: Content under this option includes links to Penn's publicly accessible dissertations, Penn dissertations provided by ProQuest, and other ETD series within the repository. For more information about dissertations in ScholarlyCommons, visit our Types of Materials page
  • Browse Researcher Profiles (SelectedWorks Gallery): Content under this option is organized by individual authors with SelectedWorks accounts. The author's page may include published or unpublished works (which may or may not appear in ScholarlyCommons), other information about the author, such as research interests, affiliations, etc. ScholarlyCommons does not take responsibility for any work posted to these profiles that are not included in ScholarlyCommons. These pages do not represent the entirety of the Penn research community, and it is the responsibility of the researcher to keep their pages updated.

How do I search for content in ScholarlyCommons?

You can search full text and descriptions of materials in ScholarlyCommons. If you prefer, you can narrow your search to a particular section of the collection.

Simple Search

The sidebar search will locate content that includes all of the terms you enter. The terms may be in any metadata field or in the full text. Additionally, you may use the drop-down menu to specify content from only a single publication, from the repository as a whole, or across all repositories using bepress Digital Commons.

To save the results of a search, or to receive notifications of future content that matches your criteria, click the "Save this search" button. Creating an account is simple and free, and you may unsubscribe from notifications at any time.

Advanced Search

The default advanced search is set to "All Fields," which will query all the criteria used in a simple search. You may refine results using the drop-down menus provided, and use the +/- buttons to include additional criteria.

  • Peer-reviewed limits results to content in publications an administrator designated as "peer-reviewed."
  • Date range limits results to content published within the specified period. The format for date range is MM/DD/YYYY - MM/DD/YYYY. (Example: 08/01/2001 - 08/01/2011)
  • Sort by automatically displays results in order of relevance (i.e., closest match), but may be changed to publication date if desired.


Special characters can enhance your results. Lowercase your terms in combination with the following:

  • Asterisks (*) within or at the end of a term function like multiple wildcards. Example: an All Fields search for l*nn will return results with lynn, linn, and lochlann.
  • Questions marks (?) within or at the end of a term function like single wildcards. Example: an All Fields search for l?nn will return results with lynn and linn, not lochlann.
  • Quotation marks (") around terms return exact phrase matches. Example: "cooler water" will return different results from "water cooler."
  • Tildes (~) at the end of a term return fuzzy matches. Example: colour~ will return results with colour, color, and coli.

Search supports some SOLR syntax as well. Proper capitalization of names is required with the following:

  • author_lname: The last name of an author can be specified. Example: an All Fields search for author_lname: Lynn will only return content by authors with the last name of Lynn.
  • author_fname: The first name of an author can be specified. Example: an All Fields search for author_fname: Lynn will only return content by authors with the first name of Lynn.

Commas will be ignored in any search. Instead, use the tips above to construct finely tuned queries, and then save your criteria using the "Save this search" feature.

How does an individual researcher submit materials to ScholarlyCommons?

In order to submit materials to departmental papers series in ScholarlyCommons, you must be affiliated with a participating research unit at Penn. ScholarlyCommons collections may have individual procedures, restrictions, or instructions for submitting. Please see their individual pages for more information. If you are unsure if you can submit to a particular series, please contact us.

To learn more about how you can submit materials to ScholarlyCommons, including instructions for submitting, visit the submit page.

How does a department, research center, or unit submit materials to ScholarlyCommons?

If you are a department, center, lab, or other Penn group, we can set up a collection in ScholarlyCommons for your works. As with our individual researchers, we will determine permissions for all interested parties in your group and post the permitted materials to ScholarlyCommons (or help you to do so in house). We'll also work with you to develop a sustainable workflow for adding and editing content in your collection. To set up a new collection for your department, center, lab, or other group, contact us

Does ScholarlyCommons accept data?

ScholarlyCommons can accept any file type, including data, but data deposits, whether to ScholarlyCommons or a specific data repository, require you to provide additional information. To learn more about these requirements, and the options available to you, consult our Data Planning and Management Guide or contact the Research Data and Digital Scholarship team.

How do I include accents and special characters in the abstracts and titles?

The repository software supports the worldwide character set (Unicode, utf-8). Accents, symbols, and other special characters may be copied and pasted into the abstract or title field from a word processing file or typed in directly. Windows users may also use the Character Map to insert these characters. Macintosh users may use the Character Palette (available via Edit > Special Characters in the Finder).

I submitted my work, but I don't see it posted. Why is that?

All works must be approved by an administrator before they are published to ScholarlyCommons. Contact your series administrator or contact us for more information.

Why doesn't my work have a cover page?

Cover pages are automatically generated by ScholarlyCommons when you upload a PDF.  Sometimes, however, a PDF will not allow the system to automatically stamp a cover page due to certain settings associated with the file. In the majority of these situations, the solution is simply to redistill the PDF. You can do this using Adobe Reader by simply using the "Save as" option to save a new copy and then uploading that new copy. If you are still having issues, contact us.

If your paper has already been published to ScholarlyCommons, you will be unable to make edits yourself. In this case, contact us, and we will try redistilling the PDF for you.

Some of the information about my paper is incorrect. How do I revise it?

To revise a submission that has been posted to the repository, contact us with a link to the paper and a short description of the issue/revision, and we will take care of it for you.

If the submission has been submitted, but not yet posted, you may revise it via your My Account page:

  1. Locate the article on your My Account page, and click the title.
  2. Click Revise Submission from the list of options in the left sidebar.
  3. Enter your changes in the Revise Submission form, and click Submit at the bottom of the page to submit your changes. (You only need to modify the portion of the form that corresponds to the changes you wish to make.)

I've heard a lot about preprints, postprints, author accepted manuscripts, and so forth. What are the differences between the various versions of my paper?

There are three primary versions of a scholarly article:

  1. Preprint: the original version of your article that you wrote and submitted to the journal.
    • Other terms: Author's Original Manuscript (AOM), Author's Original (AO), Submitted Version
  2. Postprint: the version of your article after peer-review but before the final publisher formatting. It should NOT look like the final version. It is typically a Word document.
    • Other terms: Accepted Manuscript, Author's Accepted Manuscript, AM
  3. Final version: the final, published version of your article with all of the publisher formatting. It will likely contain headers, footers, page numbers, typesetting, etc.
    • Other terms: Version of Record (VoR), Published Version, Published Article, Final Version, Final Published Version, Publisher PDF

Do I need to hold the copyright to my work in order to submit it to ScholarlyCommons?

In order to submit a work to ScholarlyCommons you must hold the copyright to that work or have the approval of the copyright holder to do so. If the work is also being published by a traditional publisher, you may have transferred your copyright to them as part of the publication process. In this case, the publisher may allow you to still post the work but may have certain restrictions to its posting. You need to know the copyright status of your work or your publisher’s policies before submitting it to ScholarlyCommons.

If you retain copyright to the work, and have not given someone else exclusive rights to distribute it, you should be able to submit it to ScholarlyCommons.

If you do not retain copyright but have transferred your rights to your publisher, you may still be able to deposit a version of your paper in ScholarlyCommons. Some publishers, for instance, only allow posting of the preprint or postprint version of an article or book chapter, not the final published version. To determine your journal or publisher's policy towards submitting to an institutional repository, we recommend consulting SHERPA/RoMEO, a public database of publisher copyright policies as a starting point. Bear in mind, however, that SHERPA/RoMEO does not cover all journals or publishers, may not have the most current publisher information, and should not be relied upon as legal counsel. Please contact us if you have questions, or need assistance determining the copyright status of your work.

Author Rights

The best way to ensure that you can submit your works to ScholarlyCommons is to either publish open access or make sure that you retain your rights as the author. 

How do I do that?

  • Search the DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals) to find peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly open access journals.
  • Retain your rights as the author of a journal article by adding an author addendum to your publication agreement. The author addendum will ensure that you retain your copyright and can distribute your work as you see fit. Use the SPARC Author Addendum to get started.
  • Save your preprints and postprints! Even if you publish in a traditional journal, it's likely that you'll be able to submit a non-final version of your article in an institutional repository like ScholarlyCommons. 

Where can I view statistics for my work?

Analytics and usage reports can be found in your Author Dashboard. You can access your Author Dashboard from your ScholarlyCommons profile.

  • Log in to ScholarlyCommons, or, create a new account.
  • Under "Dashboard Tools", select "Author Dashboard".

Should you have any issues logging in or viewing your statistics, please contact us for assistance.