Frequently Asked Questions

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Institutional Repository Collection Guidelines

What is a repository?

A repository (or institutional repository) is an archive for collecting, preserving, and disseminating digital copies of the intellectual output of research institutions. UAB Digital Commons is a digital collection of open access research and scholarship from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Versions of copyrighted or otherwise published material may be included only when sufficient rights have been secured to make that content openly available.

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What types of materials can be found in the repository?

Student Scholarship - includes ETDs (electronic theses and dissertations), selected mentored student works, and winning entries of sponsored research competitions.

Professional Scholarship - includes faculty research and publications, and where appropriate, links to supporting data.

UAB Publications - includes periodical publications published by units on the UAB campus.

Refer to the Institutional Repository Collection Guidelines for more information.

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How do I submit my work to the repository?

We plan to have a self-submission process in place, at some point in the future. For now, we'll be happy to assist with getting your content into the repository. Contact Amy Reese ( or for assistance.

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Can my work appear in the repository if it is hosted somewhere else?

Check with the organization hosting your work for what they will allow you to do. Oftentimes, a contractual arrangement has been made with regards to copyright. For more information on copyright, contact Jeff Graveline ( for assistance.

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I need help understanding copyright and how it relates to my work.

Please refer to for help.

Other things to consider:

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Who can access my work?

UAB Digital Commons is an Open Access repository and places no restrictions on who is able to access materials.

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Can I delay when my work is available?

Embargoes or publishing delays are not currently available.

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Can research be included in the repository if the project's PI is at a different institution?

Check with your PI first to ensure you have sufficient rights to do so.

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I don't have electronic versions of old working papers that I'd like to include in the repository. Is it okay to scan the printed page to a PDF file?

PDFs are the preferred format for document submission. Scans utilizing OCR (Optical Character Recognition) are preferred because OCR allows for full-text searching of the document. Contact Amy Reese ( or for assistance or to discuss options.

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How do I include accents and special characters in 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). Verify that your document can be viewed as you intend it to be viewed before the submission process has been completed.

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How do I revise a submission?

To revise a submission that has been posted to the repository and is discoverable, contact the repository administrator for assistance (Amy Reese or

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

  1. Log in to your account and locate the article on your My Account page, then 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.

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How can I submit a multi-part file, such as multiple chapters for a book?

Combine all of the sections together as one Microsoft Word file or PDF file and submit that.

If the size of the consolidate file seems excessively large, we still suggest that you submit the consolidated file as the full text of the article, then, additionally upload the separate chapter or sections of the document as Associated Files. These files will appear on the web page alongside the complete document. For more information about uploading associated files, see below.

If you wish to submit an edited book, with different authors for each chapter, contact Amy Reese ( or for assistance or to discuss options.

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Can I post related files (sound clips, images, data sets, etc.) alongside the published article?

Related files may be added to your submission as Associated Files. The file names will appear along with your short description of those files. Keep in mind that repository users must have the necessary software to open your files.

You will also need to secure permission to use related materials that you have not created. This can be done, in writing, by contacting the rights holder and asking for permission to use the material. The written reply granting permission should also be submitted - it will not be publically available, but will provide proof, should any questions arise in the future about your right to make the content available in the UAB Digital Commons.

Please note, whenever possible, related content should be included directly in the article.

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Can I post a reprint from a journal?

It depends on what the journal allows, which is usually found in the author's publishing agreement. Since copyright applies to previously published content, check your publishing agreement to see if you are permitted to post a reprint or other version to the UAB Digital Commons. Standard permissions for many publishers can be found at SHERPA RoMEO.

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A working paper in the UAB Digital Commons repository site has been published in a slightly revised form in a journal. What should I do?

Many journals have no restrictions for a working paper that preceded an article, especially if substantial revisions were made. Check your author agreement to confirm that it is ok for the working paper to remain in the UAB Digital Commons repository. Availability here would constitute a noncommercial use. For works of this nature, it is recommended to add citation information for the published version. Contact Amy Reese ( or for assistance.

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When I copy and paste abstracts into the submission form, some formatted text reverts to plain text. What's going on?

Unfortunately, the submission form does not accept formatted text. To ensure your abstract presents the way it should, you may use basic HTML tags, once you've selected the corresponding option on the submission form. Below are some common tags that should help you with formatting. If you need assistance, contact Amy Reese ( or with regards to your submission.

How to include HTML tags

HTML tags
<p> - paragraph
<p>This is the first paragraph.</p>
<p>This is the second paragraph.</p>

This is the first paragraph.

This is the second paragraph.

<br /> - line break
<p>This is a line of text with a linebreak here. <br /> This is text after</p>

This is a line of text with a linebreak here.
This is text after

<strong> - strong/bold
<strong>bold text</strong>

bold text

<em> - italics/emphasis
<em>italicized text</em>

italicized text

<sub> - subscript
Text with <sub>subscript</sub>

Text with subscript

<sup> - superscript
Text with <sup>superscript</sup>

Text with superscript

I still have questions about the repository. Who can I contact?

Contact Amy Reese ( or - we'll be glad to help with any questions about the repository, it's content, the submission process, or any other questions you might have.