Digital Scholarship@UNLV

University of Nevada, Las Vegas Repository

— What is it and Why is it important? —


UNLV’s institutional repository (IR)—Digital Scholarship@UNLV—captures, preserves, and shares the intellectual output of UNLV faculty, staff, and students using an open access publishing model.

Open Access and its Benefits to Stakeholders

Open access is a publishing model which allows users to freely read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, and/or link to the full text of research materials and use them for any lawful purpose. Open access publishing allows for the open and free archiving and dissemination of scholarship pre-, post-, and sometimes instead of commercial publication, depending upon copyright.

By removing price barriers (subscription costs), open access publishing increases the accessibility, visibility, and potential impact of scholarship, thus creating and promoting opportunities for education, collaboration, and faculty career advancement.

According to Peter Suber1 (Berkman Fellow at Harvard University, Senior Researcher at SPARC, Open Access Project Director at Public Knowledge, and Research Professor of Philosophy at Earlham College), open access to research serves the interests of many groups, including:

  • Faculty Authors: Provides authors a worldwide audience larger than any subscription-based journal, increasing the visibility and impact of their research.
  • Students: Showcases student research and potentially increases their exposure to multi-disciplinary and cutting edge scholarship.
  • Readers: Allows readers to have barrier-free access to more scholarly materials to meet their information needs.
  • Academic Administrators: Increases the visibility of a University’s faculty and research activities, reduces their expenses for journals, and advances their mission to share knowledge.
  • Citizens: Gives citizens access to peer-reviewed research, which has often been funded through government sponsored (i.e., tax-supported) grants. Open access accelerates research and the resulting translation into new medicines, useful technologies, and problem solutions that benefit everyone (

David Shulenburger, Vice President for Academic Affairs with the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), suggests that one of the major roles of an IR is “to ensure that the extremely valuable scholarly or creative products that have been paid for by the public or by donors are ultimately accessible to them, as well to students, faculty, and researchers everywhere.”2

Some of the benefits of Digital Scholarship@UNLV are it:

  • showcases UNLV’s scholarship by providing a centralized location for research and intellectual activities;
  • offers potential as a student and faculty recruiting tool;
  • increases visibility of UNLV scholarship to stakeholders, both internal and external;
  • expands UNLV’s community and global reach;
  • supports and stimulates research collaborations by connecting UNLV researchers to one another, and external scientists and scholars to UNLV faculty;
  • provides long-term, sustainable (paper-free) access to faculty scholarship;
  • eliminates the need for faculty to maintain individual websites;
  • documents the impact of scholarship through monthly statistics (e-mailed to authors) of item downloads;
  • reduces department/unit effort and cost by providing researchers a fully supported (by UNLV Libraries staff) mechanism for submitting materials to the IR;
  • enhances current awareness through e-mail alerts or RSS feeds, which notify individuals of new materials in areas of interest;
  • exposes UNLV’s intellectual output through the most commonly used web search engines, such as Google Scholar;
  • promotes UNLV partnerships and initiatives, such as Brookings Mountain West, Black Mountain Institute, and the Lincy Institute by showcasing collaborations;
  • facilitates faculty creation and management of online, open-access, peer-reviewed journals by providing a cost-free publishing platform that automates the peer-review process; and
  • provides a service to UNLV Faculty to ensure compliance with federal regulations requiring open access publishing for research that is funded from several key federal agencies.

Digital Scholarship@UNLV Content

Created and managed by the University Libraries, Digital Scholarship@UNLV is an archive of full-text scholarship and citations to the publications of UNLV faculty, staff, students, and their research partners. It also documents conferences and events held at UNLV, theses and dissertations completed at UNLV, and other forms of publication and presentation that document the intellectual life of the academy from faculty and students alike. The work must be research-oriented, scholarly, or have archival value. The repository contains peer-reviewed work as well as other scholarly materials that might otherwise not be commercially published, preserved, or made accessible, such as conferences, technical reports, and presentations.

Content includes:

  • Journal articles
  • Conference proceedings
  • Book reviews
  • Books/chapters
  • Graduate theses/dissertations/professional papers/capstones
  • Undergraduate research (honors theses, senior projects/theses)
  • Presentations/posters
  • Technical reports
  • White papers
  • Grant output/data
  • Archival materials
  • Patents
  • Field/final research reports
  • University-produced publications: journals, magazines, newsletters
  • Administrative documents
  • Government and business documents

Content includes a range of formats in multiple media, including text, audio, and/or video.

Digital Scholarship@UNLV also supports open-access publishing for journals created, hosted, or managed at UNLV. These journals are freely available to any Internet user.

Management of Digital Scholarship@UNLV Content: Policies and Services for UNLV Faculty, Students, and Staff

Role of the UNLV Libraries
There are several library staff members, interns, and student employees engaged in various activities to capture, preserve, and share the intellectual output of the UNLV community. These activities include processing work such as uploading digital content, scanning documents, optimizing PDFs, and capturing and converting audio and video files. Beyond the routine processing activities, library staff members apply specialized knowledge to add value to Digital Scholarship@UNLV. Staff adds metadata to describe each item in order to increase visibility of UNLV scholarship, and they utilize search engine optimization techniques in order to expose UNLV’s intellectual output through the most commonly used web search engines, such as Google Scholar. In order to ensure copyright compliance, staff thoroughly research copyright permissions and licensing restrictions for each item submitted.

Archiving Materials in the Repository
Digital Scholarship@UNLV utilizes Digital Commons® from bepress to organize content by “communities” and “collections,” based on a hierarchical structure for academic departments, inter-disciplinary research groups, and/or other units at UNLV. Any school, academic department, academic program, research center, or research institute at UNLV is eligible to participate as a community. Other administrative units that produce scholarship or governance content may also have communities. Groups that do not fall under this definition will be considered on a case-by-case basis. UNLV communities interested in Digital Scholarship@UNLV should contact the IR Administrator, Marianne Buehler.

All materials will be uploaded and managed by UNLV Libraries staff. Library staff members check for copyright considerations in an open access environment and add rich descriptive information (metadata) to facilitate discovery via web search engines. Such terms can include academic disciplines, format, dates, and topical keywords.

Individual Contributors
Individuals must belong to a community registered with Digital Scholarship@UNLV in order to submit content. Communities determine who may submit content to the repository. If a contributor to the repository leaves UNLV, his or her content will remain in the repository in perpetuity. Individuals interested in submitting content to Digital Scholarship@UNLV should contact Marianne Buehler.

Community Content Policies and Guidelines
In collaboration with the IR Administrator, communities determine policies regarding participation and content, within the following guidelines:

  • The work must be produced, submitted, or sponsored by UNLV faculty, administration, students, or staff. Content may be authored by a UNLV affiliate and be included in the repository. For example, a UNLV community member may use the repository to deposit papers written by faculty from other institutions that were presented at a UNLV-sponsored conference. Organizers or sponsors of an event must, in advance, inform authors of the intent or requirement to archive presentations and other author content. An author/owner must be willing and able to grant UNLV the right to preserve and distribute work in Digital Scholarship@UNLV.
  • The work must be research-oriented or scholarly, as defined by the community. The work must be in a community’s acceptable version—ideally in digital form. If materials to be submitted are in multiple parts and/or file formats, all of the digital pieces will be provided as a set (e.g., a PDF document with its associated data file(s)). The repository accepts a wide range of digital materials, including text, images, video, and audio files. A community determines who may submit items to the collection and may view items in the collection, either by embargo or a collection limited to a specific audience (e.g., department minutes).
  • Repository Citation Styles
    • The American Psychological Association (APA) citation format is the default reference style employed across Digital Scholarship@UNLV. In the case of a college or department preferring its own discipline’s citation style, it can be accommodated. Please contact Marianne Buehler to request an alternative citation style.

Managing Materials and Checking Copyright for an Article or Other Scholarly Effort

Authors and/or publishers retain copyright for all content contributed to institutional repositories. Individual journal policies vary; 65% of journal publishers have specific policies that allow open access. Digitization and copyright permissions are reviewed by library staff members. Sherpa Romeo, an online database of publisher copyright policies, is a useful resource to consult. If a publisher policy is not found at the Sherpa site, library staff members review digitization and copyright permissions on the publisher’s website. Staff may also contact the publisher for open access archiving authorization. If library staff cannot procure the article or its permission by these means, the IR Administrator will contact an author to request a post-print—an author’s final peer-reviewed version—for archiving in the repository.

Authors are encouraged to retain their final article (post-print) that is emailed to an editor, as many publishers only grant copyright permission for post-prints to be archived in a repository.
If a working paper or another type of document is later published in a journal (either in the same format or revised form), the publisher may require that the paper be removed from Digital Scholarship@UNLV. The publisher may grant an exception if the author requests it. It is the responsibility of the author to check the terms of his/her contract. If the publisher prohibits submitting a journal article to the repository and will not grant an exception, the author may consider submitting a pre-print with a corrigenda file (i.e., corrections supplied after publication).

Permissions and Restricting Access to Materials

Graduate and undergraduate research, such as presentations (posters, PowerPoints, etc.) not submitted by the students, such as facilitated by faculty or administrators to be archived in Digital Scholarship@UNLV, must have accompanying documentation indicating student awareness of their works being deposited. The authorization can be either an email stating, “Emailing your poster to the (faculty or administrator (list names)) constitutes consent to have your work archived in the Digital Scholarship@UNLV repository.” Another option is to have students sign a permission form. Group and individual permission forms are available from Marianne Buehler.

Material deposited in the repository may be restricted with approval from the IR Administrator, in one of two ways:

  1. By restricting access to the UNLV network only, such as peer-review workspaces for journal editors.
  2. By placing an embargo period on particular works, after which they would be openly accessible (might include a thesis or an article).
The Libraries do not encourage restricting access to any material. However, the Libraries recognize that there are legitimate circumstances under which restricted online access is preferable to no online access. Depositors who would like to request such restrictions on materials deposited in the repository must state their reasons for restrictions prior to deposit.

Graduate students may request an embargo for a thesis or dissertation for six months, 1 year, 2 years, or 3 years. Students contact the UNLV Graduate College for embargo approval, and library staff members instate approved embargos. For more information:

Stewardship and Preservation

It is the responsibility of the UNLV Libraries to submit content using accepted preservation file types and techniques. If the UNLV Libraries can no longer support Digital Scholarship@UNLV, the Libraries will return content to contributing units.

Withdrawal of Material

Authors may request, under specific circumstances, the removal of content they have submitted. When a paper is removed from the site, a placeholder is left behind to inform readers returning to that page that the materials have been withdrawn.

Policies for Journals and Peer-Reviewed Series

UNLV library staff members provide assistance in the initial set-up and training on the Digital Commons® software for utilizing Digital Scholarship@UNLV as a publishing platform for journals. The platform includes a workspace for editing and peer review. The following are basic requirements for using Digital Scholarship@UNLV to electronically publish a new or existing journal:

  • Journal must be sponsored or edited by UNLV faculty or research group. Students may publish a journal using Digital Scholarship@UNLV with faculty sponsorship.
  • Journal must be peer-reviewed, refereed, or edited with articulated author guidelines.
  • Active journals must be published at least once each year. Inactive or discontinued UNLV journals may be archived.
  • Journal must have an ISSN and/or e-ISSN number(s). (See additional information below “What is an ISSN?”)
  • Once content is deposited in a journal, it may not be removed or changed. Addendums based on new information should be linked to the original document.
  • Journal must have an author review step, so authors may verify the final article before posting.
  • Content will be clearly marked as peer-reviewed or editor-reviewed. A link will be provided to a description of the review process.
  • Journal editors handle all content decisions.
  • All editorial, peer review, publicity, indexing, and related duties are the responsibility of the editorial board or editor.
  • Participating journal publishers agree to disseminate information about open-access procedures and policies for the journal, including author responsibilities regarding copyright, as set forth by the UNLV Libraries and communicated through written documents, correspondence, and training sessions.
  • 1See Suber (2012), especially the section: OA serves the interests of many groups

    2 See Bankier, Smith, & Cowan (2009), especially pages 6, 8, 13, 15