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Third Party Vendor Recommendations from the Digital Commons Community

December 16, 2014

Have a project that requires the use of a third-party vendor but aren’t sure where to start looking? Over the years, members of the Digital Commons community have been sharing ideas and swapping third-party vendor recommendations with each other for a wide variety of services. We’ve collected a few of them here for the most frequently sought-after needs—keep them in your back pocket to use when the need arises!

On-Demand Printing

  • Lulu – One of the most popular services for printing full-length books on-demand among the Digital Commons community.
  • Amazon – Amazon offers on-demand printing through their BookSurge service.
  • MagCloud – For those looking to print smaller magazine and journals, MagCloud is a great option. This is particularly popular among creative writing programs.


  • Atiz – Their BookDrive product is desktop-sized and automatically turns pages for scanning.
  • Backstage – Recommended by a Digital Commons admin for books as well as difficult, large-scale archival items.
  • Crowley – Crowley offers a spectrum of services, including technical support and supplies.

Embeddable Readers

Want to know more about the pros and cons of these vendors for your Digital Commons repository? Get in touch with your Consulting Services Representative at

Digital Commons Announces Unlimited Storage

December 9, 2014

We are delighted to announce that Digital Commons now offers unlimited storage.

At bepress, our philosophy has always been to offer unlimited services whenever possible. Doing so lets you say yes to any and all projects that come your way. Our client support model has been unlimited from the start, and earlier this year we lifted restrictions on journals, too. Sometimes, though, the size of the repository itself can be a concern—especially when you’re faced with questions about large datasets from researchers on campus. We hope to eliminate these concerns by offering unlimited storage space for all Digital Commons repositories.

What makes this unlimited model possible? Primarily we do it through careful monitoring and planning. Earlier this year we upgraded our storage infrastructure to make our platform more nimble in adapting to growth. We run at 30% capacity to give us plenty of headroom for growth spurts and sufficient lead-time to extend our system to meet needs in a controlled, cost-effective manner. By monitoring our growth along with yours, we make sure to increase our capacity well before the need arises. We continue to grow alongside—and ahead of—our subscribers’ repositories.

As a result we feel confident that our system can handle all subscriber storage needs. If, by some miracle of gargantuan proportions, you prove us wrong with a truly extraordinary amount of content…we’ve still got you covered. If you push our system beyond the limits, we’ll be happy to support the extra content and consider looking into cost-sharing options; first, though, we’d have to offer you a hearty congratulations for finding that much content!

Montana’s ScholarWorks Makes a Rich Set of Data Openly Available for Future Researchers

December 2, 2014

Undecipherable audio tapes, old filing cabinets, rusty paper clips—these are just a few of the challenges in University of Montana, Department of Geosciences, faculty affiliate Bob Lankston’s journey to recover and share a 40-year-old set of seismic data. The Flathead Lake Seismic Survey collection provides a unique opportunity for future researchers because so many new methods of processing the data have been developed in the intervening years. As Bob puts it, “this is the greatest visibility the data have had in the past 40 years and my biggest hope is that someone will find this collection and push forward with research using the new tools that are available.”

Bob’s graduate school office-mate had collected the data in question in 1970. It was several years later that Bob discovered the data being used by campus researchers. His interest piqued, Bob went back to explore the files and learned that much of the material was stashed away in old filing cabinets and that a lot of the data was now in an unusable format. Tracking down AV companies who could translate these files, and scanning fast-aging hand-written notes, Bob ultimately developed a complete collection of digital images and numerical tabulations of the data associated with the project.

As he looked for the best way to present the data, Bob joined forces with Wendy Walker, Assistant Professor and the Administrator for the school’s newly acquired IR, ScholarWorks. With a number of heterogeneous file types including bathymetry, survey maps, seismic sections, and the salvaged audio recordings, Bob and Wendy worked together to develop the best method to showcase the research. They ultimately decided on a creative use of the book gallery format because some of the data sets contained small audio or jpeg files. Each data set is posted as a separate ‘book’ and contains a unique record. Bob supplemented the metadata for each set with an attached narrative document, creating a very robust set of instructions for future users of this research.

After the data had been posted, Bob was contacted by an Italian researcher interested in using the .wav files of seismic data who wanted to play them as “music”—as Bob says, “you never know what value the data will take on once it becomes widely accessible.” Check out Digital Commons’ Resources page for more on data management, including a new “Snapshot on Data” suggesting talking points for conversations with faculty on data.

What You and Your Editors Should Know about the New DOAJ Application

November 25, 2014

With the recent flurry of press about the Directory of Open Access Journals’ new eligibility requirements, many journal editors are wondering where their journal stands and what they should do about it. We’ve done a little sleuthing and are happy to report that your journal is almost certainly in good shape for the upcoming changes.

DOAJ’s new application is designed to keep out predatory publishers who take advantage of authors by charging exorbitant article-processing charges; you, too, should benefit from DOAJ’s move to distance it from the predatory publishers that give open access publishing a bad name. As editors and publishers of library-led journals that don’t function on an author-pays model, you should be put at ease. DOAJ isn’t trying to kick you out; in fact, it wants to list as many legitimate open access journals as possible.

Although the application form has swelled to an intimidating 52 questions, this isn’t a test that your journal needs to ace in order to be included in DOAJ. Something well below 100% “yes” answers will get you in DOAJ. Many of the questions are used by DOAJ not as inclusion criteria but instead to group journals by categories within their site and otherwise gather information on journals.

Hopefully, that news alone prevents you from treating the application like a to-do list and trying to get all those boxes checked before your next issue comes out. Although the application brings up a lot of ideas that your journal might want to look into, such as a standardized plagiarism policy and clear copyright and licensing information, these things take thought and time to implement. There’s no rush!

A DOAJ representative has informed us that the open access journal aggregator will be reassessing all its existing stable of journals in 2015. When DOAJ is ready, one of its staff members will be contacting journals’ editors/publishers directly to invite the journal to reapply to the DOAJ database—so you don’t need to worry about getting caught off guard.

Finally, we will be actively tracking survey responses and application success rates in order to be able to help you submit an accurate application that is most likely to win approval. The DOAJ Editorial Team works with applicants throughout the process to help ensure that their applications are accepted. And, even if rejected, applicants can apply as many times as they like. So rest easy—and know that we’re always happy to answer any questions that come up at

“Keep Talking and the Projects Will Come”: One IR Project Leads to Another and Content Leads to Downloads

November 18, 2014

Becoming a trusted scholarly communications expert on campus is a strategic process, something Jonathan Bull at Valparaiso University and Lucretia McCulley at the University of Richmond illuminated in their informative Digital Commons webinar. The keyword in this equation is “communication”: as Jon says, “Keep talking and the projects will come!” Further, projects keep coming because admins are able to show success along the way with readership reports. Jon and Lucretia have both cultivated their expertise over time and are now the go-to people on their respective campuses for a variety of needs. These range from authors’ rights issues and data management to publishing student work. Jon and Lucretia shared successful outreach ideas, messages that have connected with their stakeholders, and strategies for staying on top of the evolving scholarly communications landscape.

Jon stressed the importance of continually speaking to stakeholders and other librarians. For example, when Jon spoke with a faculty member about putting his research in the IR the professor responded “I can do you one better!” and asked about putting upcoming conference proceedings online. Jon then responded with “one better” than that: putting the whole conference online. The ball kept rolling, culminating in the prestigious collection of the U.S.-Japan Bilateral Workshop on the Tropical Tropopause Layer, an international partnership including multimedia and poster presentations. One IR project leads to another, and content leads to readership—ValpoScholar just passed 1 million downloads—success in action!

Once the downloads come and the IR can demonstrate success, this can beget more success and funding through continual content recruiting and marketing. A healthy IR needs “care and feeding,” as Jon says. Word of mouth can be powerful, as when a Liturgical Conference at Valparaiso was fully hosted in the IR, and a student journal was later developed out of this conference’s success.

Lucretia and Jon both emphasized ongoing education for themselves and their colleagues in the form of webinars, conferences, DC User groups, blogs, copyright workshops, following “conversations beyond the campus” through email lists, and making time for ongoing professional reading of such journals as JLSC and D-Lib Magazine. Lucretia also mentioned that attending bepress’s Scholarly Communications Course was especially helpful in positioning herself as a trusted resource for campus needs.

Lucretia underlined the importance of a faculty engagement program. As Lucretia says, “roam and mingle with faculty” to discover what their current research is. She has let their needs direct her, as when she enriched a Scholarly Communications LibGuide with answers to faculty questions about predatory publishing and evaluating journals—a guide which is now used to educate faculty chairs and the tenure committee. Jon developed a LibGuide on Copyright Issues so faculty could be educated about owning their intellectual property, and which all can turn to for answers on use of copyrighted material on campus. Check out their webinar for a detailed list of suggestions and many more useful tips!

Development Sneak Preview: November 2014

November 11, 2014

Jean-Gabriel Bankier, President and CEO of bepress

I hope everyone enjoyed the last round of improvements to Digital Commons, including pan/zoom for image galleries and a new featured collections page. We enjoy sharing with you our development plans, and I want to give you another peek at what’s ahead for the Digital Commons community.

At a glance:

• Take These New Maps Anywhere
• Preservation Enhancements
• Searchable Custom Fields
• PDF Cover Page Improvements
• Download Filtering

Take These New Maps Anywhere

New Playback Readership Map
The readership activity map is a very popular way of showcasing the impact of the full repository collection in Digital Commons. By community demand, we will provide a way to showcase the impact of individual Journals, Communities, Conferences, etc. The new Playback Readership Map will be possible to display on any collection in your repository. Instead of real-time activity, the Playback Readership Map is designed to display the download activity from a select time period (e.g., last 7 days). Even if the visitor is in the middle of the night, the pins will be dropping and showing the collection’s impact. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post with details.

Embeddable Readership Activity Map
Another way of broadcasting your success is by embedding the readership activity map on your related campus websites. The homepage of your library, law school, or Office of Research can show the global impact of your scholarship. Do they require SSL? No problem! Embeddable maps will include SSL support.

Readership Maps on Mobile Devices
The map has been so effective at expressing the demand for your scholarship that we are expanding support to include mobile devices. You’ll be able to bring an iPad to casual meetings and wow your faculty with downloads.

Preservation Enhancements

Safeguarding content has always been a priority for bepress. In addition to our own array of protocols to help ensure perpetual access to your content, we have been working with a group of institutions, forming a Private LOCKSS Network (PLN) as an additional preservation method for their scholarship. We are further streamlining the ability of LOCKSS crawlers to gather content. These improvements also help to support institutions outside of the PLN, such as those using MetaArchive, to retrieve and preserve their scholarship in multiple locations.

Searchable Custom Fields

One of the most popular feature requests is to expand the search capabilities within Digital Commons. Currently visitors can search all of the basic fields and the full text of any record. But researchers are often searching for unique terms that are outside the default fields. Authors may be required to provide other metadata, such as grant information, and make it easily accessible. Searches will be able to easily locate content wherever the metadata is captured.

PDF Cover Page Improvements

Another popular feature of Digital Commons is our PDF cover pages. The cover pages encourage return visitors, save time for editors, and help to guarantee your institution attribution for its scholarship. We will be upgrading the technology that generates these cover pages and helping to support the wider variety of PDFs in existence today.

Download Filtering

As you know from our previous post, we spent significant time this year fighting a new rash of bots that was artificially inflating the download reports. Much of that work was responsive to particular patterns of abuse that we were trying to quash. We are completing related improvements that make our algorithm easier to adjust so that we can be more responsive to sudden shifts in behavior.

As you can see much of this work was driven by requests from the community. We have another iron in the fire, a new data visualization, but it’s too soon to share details yet.

Okay, so when do we get to see the new features?

These features are currently under development, but stay tuned to the DC Telegraph for updates on these features, news about other upcoming improvements, and a continued closer look at our development process.
For questions about upcoming or recently released features, feel free to contact our Consulting Services team at!

Congratulations to the Second Graduating Class of the Scholarly Publishing Certification Course at bepress

November 4, 2014

From October 7th – 9th, 2014, IR admins from institutions across the country came to our offices in Berkeley, California for our second annual “Scholarly Publishing Certification Course: A Training Program for Library-Led Publishing Initiatives.” According to our participants the course was “extremely helpful,” featuring “a variety of excellent presentations,” workshops, technical training sessions, and opportunities for admins to meet one-on-one with their bepress Consultants.

Martin Kelly, Assistant Director for Digital Collections at Colby College, said “I have come away with ideas for reinvigorating and repositioning Digital Commons @ Colby within the college. I have also picked up many ways to improve our current collections and pending projects.”

“It was great to hear from other IR managers / share experiences and talk about what works,” said Karen Bjork, Digital Initiatives Coordinator, Library, at Portland State University. Every participant reported that it was very helpful to work in person with their Consulting Services representative at bepress. “It was wonderful to be able to talk to her about issues and successes,” said Karen of her Consultant.

“We had several opportunities to ask questions, so I am leaving with all my questions answered,” said Jacklyn Rander, Publishing Services Manager at Grand Valley State University. She added that even though GVSU already has a thriving publishing program, “The course was helpful in gaining new ideas on how to improve our program and hearing what peer universities are doing with their publishing programs.”

“It was very helpful to have a lot of this info as we prepare to launch [a publishing program], rather than back-training when problems arise,” stated Andrea Wright, Science & Outreach Librarian at Furman University.

Topics for the course ranged from copyright and policy considerations to pitching a publishing business plan to provosts. Participants explored tools for managing submissions and peer review, defined their goals and action plans for their publishing initiatives, and developed a network of professional relationships with other library-publishers. We’re excited to announce our class of graduates:

Joshua Beatty, SUNY Plattsburgh
Karen Bjork, Portland State University
Martin Kelly, Colby College
Jacklyn Rander, Grand Valley State University
Lawrence Ross, George Washington University Law School
Andrea Wright, Furman University

Congratulations, Graduates!

We’re looking forward to reviewing all the helpful feedback we got in preparation for our upcoming spring IR Manager Certification course. Keep an eye out for more information on that in the near future or email for more information.


Best Practices from Your Peers: ETD Removal Policies

October 29, 2014

One topic we see come up a lot on our Digital Commons user group are ETD policies and workflows. In one thread—reposted here with permission—Margaret Heller of Loyola University Chicago and M Ryan Hess of DePaul University shared two expert perspectives on ETD removal policies that we wanted to highlight on the blog.

Mies Martin, formerly of Michigan Technological University, posed this question to the group:

“We are preparing our formal DC roll out and one policy or procedure we need to establish has to do with removal of content in Digital Commons. Right now our DC site consists mostly of Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Rather than reinventing the wheel I wanted to see if anyone could share their polices or procedures regarding removal of ETDs from their sites. I’m also interested in learning if anyone posts this information and if so, where on your site do you post it?”

Margaret responded first:

“We don’t have anything documented particularly well, but several experiences over the past year have led to the following set of practices:
1. When a withdrawal request is made, we first clarify the motivations. Is there a book contract at stake? Simple misunderstanding of the requirement to deposit?
2. Next we see if an embargo or access restricted to campus is acceptable.
3. In the one case where none of the above has been acceptable, the item was withdrawn, but the PDF is stored elsewhere with the understanding that is still archival material just as the print copy in the archives.
So far this has worked, with most people willing to accept embargo over withdrawal.
Our general withdrawal policy is on a policy page. It was written before I began managing the repository, and has never come up.”

Then M Ryan Hess offered his experience:

“We have a pretty established policy which largely puts the burden on the Colleges and Schools. Our largest ETD contributor made it a departmental policy that adding dissertations and theses to the repository was a requirement for graduation. Students must sign an agreement that they are posting their ETD on our repository. The aim of our ETD program is to promote the intellectual legacy of the campus, reinforce our reputation via Google and Discovery system results and also promote open access in general. Pretty much all the other schools follow this model. In fact, we highly recommend this to new schools and colleges that want to post ETDs. We have about one or two students a year come back with complaints about their writing being posted and so it’s very good to have consent documented. I think it also makes it really easy to enforce because it’s very simple and straightforward.
We also defer to the schools in terms of embargoes. Some use this. Some don’t. In some cases, the schools that do allow them, require that the faculty advisor sign off on any embargo.”

Margaret was kind enough to follow up and let bepress know that

“we discovered a retrospectively digitized thesis from the 1940s containing copyrighted material. The publisher asked us to withdraw it under the DMCA. Rather than withdrawing the entire thesis we consulted with library administration and chose to redact the pages with the copyrighted material and replace that with a page stating the copyright holder requested that the material be removed. This particular situation is relevant to current ETDs when they contain material that wasn’t cleared, and might be a way to make the entire thesis available without copyright violation.”

Thanks to Margaret and M Ryan for their great answers, and to Mies for posing such an important question!

The world of scholarly communications is constantly changing, but if there’s one thing we here at bepress can always count on, it’s the vast collective knowledge of our Digital Commons community. Though our team of IR experts are always here to help, we know that sometimes the most useful answers to your questions are the ones that come straight from your peers. That’s why a few years ago we set up an online Digital Commons user group dedicated to just that. Are you subscribed to the group yet? If not, email your Consulting Services Representative to find out how!

Commercial Contracts and Publishing Opportunities Result from Openly Sharing Group’s Work Online

October 21, 2014

J.R. Dennison, Professor of Physics at Utah State University, leads a group of graduate and undergraduate students who test aerospace materials called the Materials Physics Group, now represented online in Utah State’s institutional repository, Digital Commons@USU. He is thrilled that having his group’s work in the IR has led to funding and contracts, created publishing opportunities, made them more connected to their peers, and made the research more easily discoverable. The Materials Physics Group showcases a wide variety of work including faculty publications, conference publications, theses and dissertations, posters, presentations, reports, senior theses and projects.

A big opportunity came along when Professor Dennison got a call from the president of a small business with a NASA/U.S. Air Force contract who urgently needed help with testing, and found the Materials Physics Group in a panicked search of the Web. “One hour [later] he was talking to me and that started our collaboration.” The business partnership continues to be a success. “Beyond the contract funds, this contract is exciting to me because it opened up a door for me into a new branch of work—commercial and practical application of my craft.”

Professor Dennison describes further important professional opportunities as well. “The students, both graduate and undergraduate, have benefited greatly from the group’s presence in their USU IR too. The commercial application work that we have all been doing together has been driving real material science…. My students are writing topical articles and getting published.”

Professor Dennison is quick to give credit to his liaison librarian, Betty Rozum, Associate Dean for Technical Services, for recognizing the value of organizing, sharing and preserving all of this valuable research in the IR. “Betty was the one who got me to imagine the benefits that might come from making my group’s work accessible online,” said Professor Dennison. His monthly readership reports from Digital Commons showed that “people were actually finding and noticing my work.” Having the group’s research widely available has made it possible for new colleagues from around the globe to find Professor Dennison through his work. A colleague in China who found the work in DigitalCommons@USU contacted him—“He had read my work and had detailed questions. It was nice to get that kind of feedback and to get a new contact, especially someone I knew by reputation.”

This robust collection of work has become the home for the Materials Physics Group online, offering significant professional benefits, and Professor Dennison couldn’t be more pleased.

Model Collections: A New Resource Just in Time for Open Access Week

October 14, 2014

We’re pleased to announce a new resource: Model Collections!  Organized by discipline, these collections are designed to help you and your liaison or reference librarians further engage faculty with your repository initiative.  More specifically, we wanted to provide samples of each possible type of collection that a department might want to showcase.  We hope that you and your liaison librarians will share these examples of services the library can offer when presenting to departments.

So far, we have collected together some exemplary journals, conferences, faculty and student research, books, special collections, and other content in the following disciplines:

We would love your feedback and suggestions on this new resource!  What disciplines should we do next?  How might you use this resource?  Let us know by e-mailing us at


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