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Introduction

Scholars Commons @ Laurier is an online collection of the intellectual output of the members of the Wilfrid Laurier University community. Scholars Commons @ Laurier collects, preserves, and disseminates, securely and reliably, the intellectual and creative digital works of the university faculty, staff, and selected students. Its purpose is to make the university output accessible to a wider audience than traditional forms of distribution. By sharing this content globally through the Internet, the university supports open scholarly communication, collaborative research, and lasting visibility and recognition for scholarship at Laurier.

The following policies and guidelines outline various aspects of depositing and managing content in Scholars Commons @ Laurier. These policies and guidelines and subject to internal review and modification. The communities will be alerted to any changes which affect them or their collections in Scholars Commons @ Laurier. General Policy

  • This is an institutional repository for Wilfrid Laurier University. As such, all materials are created by or on behalf of the University, its faculty, staff, or students, and affiliations
  • Anyone may access full items free of charge, with the exception of journals requiring subscriptions or when embargos have been placed on publications
  • Copies of open access items can generally be reproduced, displayed or performed, and given to third parties in any format or medium for personal research or study, educational, or not-for-profit purposes without prior permission or charge, provided the work is properly attributed with the authors, the title, and full bibliographic details, a hyperlink or URL is given to the original work, the content is used for non-commercial purposes and is not changed in any way. However, as not all materials contained in Scholars Commons @ Laurier are open access, it is the responsibility of the individual user to ensure that author and publisher rights are not violated.

Content and Submission Policies

Scholars Commons @ Laurier holds materials in a variety of formats and may contain the following types of documents produced by the Laurier community:

  1. Journal articles (preprints, postprints, or published versions)
  2. Books or chapters
  3. Popular media articles
  4. Conference and workshop papers
  5. Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs), Cognate Essays, and Major Research Papers
  6. Lectures and speeches
  7. Completed research reports, including technical reports
  8. Outstanding student projects as selected by academic units
  9. Multimedia and audio-visual materials
  10. Selected course-related materials and learning objects produced by instructors
  11. Data sets and code (software) where they are part of a thesis, research report, or published work and also where the data has been deemed to be of academic or archival value or in response to granting agencies guidelines
  12. University administrative records and other materials pertaining to the operations of the institution will be accepted only if given approval by the University Archives
  13. Other material not expressly stated here, upon approval by the repository administrator and on a case-by-case basis. Should a work not be approved for submission, it may not be resubmitted until it complies with the administrator’s recommendations

In addition, the following requirements must be fulfilled to deposit material in Scholars Commons @ Laurier:

  1. Content must be produced, submitted, or sponsored by the faculty (current, emeritus, and retired), students, or staff at Wilfrid Laurier University and affiliations.
    • All student contributions are selected in consultation with academic units.
    • Works published or created prior to an author’s affiliation with Laurier may be retroactively deposited as long as the authors are currently affiliated with Laurier and meet all submission requirements.
    • Works published or created by authors who are no longer affiliated with Laurier may be retroactively deposited as long as the work was published or created by authors while affiliated with Laurier and meets all other submission requirements.
  2. Content must be scholarly, educational, or research oriented or of cultural or historical value to the Laurier community. Works must be written in accordance to the tradition appropriate to the discipline, including review and editorial intervention.
  3. Content must be digital.
  4. Content must be complete and ready for distribution.
  5. The author/creator must be able and willing to grant the Institutional Repository the right to preserve and distribute the work, including fulfilling publisher conditions for depositing works and clearing copyright permissions when appropriate.
  6. If multiple files constitute an ‘Item,’ all of the digital pieces must be provided as a set.
  7. If the work is part of a series or set of related works, the other works in that series should, if possible, also be contributed so that a full set can be offered.
  8. Contributors are encouraged to deposit materials to Scholars Commons @ Laurier themselves or through their communities. Assistance with the submission process is available upon request.
  9. All deposited materials will be forwarded to community administrators or the repository administrator for approval. Materials deposited by individuals other than eligible contributors or that do not meet submission or content guidelines will be rejected.

Community and Collection Policies

Scholars Commons @ Laurier is a co-venture of Laurier Library and the Laurier Press, but includes the active participation of numerous units, including the Office of Research Services and the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Scholars Commons @ Laurier content consists of collections produced by defined communities of Wilfrid Laurier University. These collections are managed, preserved, and made accessible by the Library and the Press through BePress software. Some of the collections will be subject to institutional guidelines defined by the Laurier administration. As in all partnerships, it is important that all stakeholders understand and agree to the policies, guidelines, and procedures required to build an institutional repository.

A community is defined as a unit that:

  1. Produces or sponsors the generation of digital materials resulting from research, teaching, and academic support activities
  2. Has long-term stability
  3. Can assume responsibility for setting community policies
  4. Has a demonstrable affiliation with Wilfrid Laurier University

Examples of communities may be departments, research centres, institutes, or recognized University affiliations. Groups that are not considered communities under this definition but wish to contribute to Scholars Commons @ Laurier will be considered on a case-by-case basis and should contact the repository administrator for further assistance.

Community Responsibilities and Rights

A community is expected to:

  • Make decisions about the definition and scope of the community and its collection(s) within Scholars Commons @ Laurier guidelines
  • Submit all required documentation for the creation and maintenance of the community and its publications accurately and in a timely fashion
  • Arrange for submission and description of content
  • Name a coordinator who can work with Scholars Commons @ Laurier staff and oversee the creation and uploading of content
  • Notify Scholars Commons @ Laurier staff of organizational changes affecting submission
  • Understand and observe university policies relevant to Scholars Commons @ Laurier and educate submitters regarding these policies
  • Confirm or obtain copyright permission for items submitted, including clearance from third party copyright holders
  • Decide upon a submission workflow for each collection
  • Recommend action regarding withdrawal request from the community’s authors

A community retains the right to:

  • Determine policies regarding content submission and author guidelines except where those policies would infringe upon the policies of Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Decide who may submit content within the community
  • Limit access to content as negotiated with Scholars Commons @ Laurier staff in accordance with the Access Policy
  • Remove items and collections as outlined in the Withdrawal Policy
  • Approve the addition or elimination of sub-communities
  • Request customization of community or collection content pages

Scholars Commons @ Laurier Responsibilities and Rights

Scholars Commons @ Laurier is expected to:

  • Retain and maintain content submitted to Scholars Commons @ Laurier
  • Distribute content according to community decisions and in accordance with the Access Policy
  • Preserve content using accepted preservation techniques
  • Notify communities of significant changes to content
  • Maintain appropriate technology infrastructure and security
  • Address concerns with technical difficulties, maintenance, or disruptions of service directly with BePress
  • Comply with University policy on issues that affect Scholars Commons @ Laurier
  • Edit and update metadata assigned to the items placed in Scholars Commons @ Laurier
  • Vet items for the exclusion of spam. However, the validity and authenticity of submissions is the sole responsibility of the author(s).
  • Find alternate hosting solutions should BePress software become unavailable
  • Conduct periodic reviews to gather user feedback and adjust processes, policies, and strategies as necessary

Scholars Commons @ Laurier retains the right to:

  • Redistribute or amend metadata for items in Scholars Commons @ Laurier
  • Refuse or remove items or collections under certain circumstances, as outlined in the Withdrawal Policy
  • Renegotiate terms of original agreement with communities
  • Perform appraisal for long-term archiving in the event that communities cease to exist
  • Migrate items if format is in danger obsolescence
  • Set quotas (size of files, number of items) as necessary to allow for the containment of the repository

Wilfrid Laurier University Responsibilities and Rights

The University is expected to:

  • Set policy at the university level regarding issues that affect Scholars Commons @ Laurier, such as copyright rules, thesis and dissertation requirements, etc.
  • Support functions mandated by existing policies
  • Comply with existing granting agencies regulations of open data and open access

The University retains the right to:

  • Request the removal of items under certain circumstances, as outlined in the Withdrawal Policy

Licensing Policies

Non-Exclusive Deposit License

It will be necessary for users when depositing into Scholars Commons @ Laurier to sign a non-exclusive, non-transferable, royalty-free license agreement. This will appear in the submission template. This grants Scholars Commons @ Laurier the right to distribute scholarly works online and to migrate these works to new formats in the future if necessary. No transfer of copyright will occur as a result of this license.

Creative Commons Canada License

Creative Commons licenses are Web-based agreements whereby authors can release some of the rights they are automatically assigned by copyright law. If the creator is the copyright owner, he or she can specify conditions under which others can copy, distribute, or modify his or her work, provided due credit is given.

When submitting an item to Scholars Commons @ Laurier, users have the option to apply a Creative Commons license that will:

  • Allow or bar commercial uses of a work
  • Allow or bar modifications of a work

In the case of Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs), Scholars Commons @ Laurier automatically applies a CC BY-NC-ND license (Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial, No Derivative Works) which bars both commercial usage and modifications of the item. However, if the author is of the opinion that a different license better serves his or her purposes, he or she is welcome to contact the repository administrator about this.

Although Creative Commons licensing may apply when a contributor is submitting directly to Scholars Commons @ Laurier, as is the case with ETDs or faculty research, some communities within Scholars Commons @ Laurier, for example subscription journals, may have additional policies regarding licensing. If these additional policies preclude the use of Creative Commons licensing, the contributor may not apply such licensing without the approval of the community.

It is important to note that one can apply a Creative Commons license only if he or she is the copyright holder or has express authorization from the copyright holder to do so. The Library, The Press, and Creative Commons do not provide legal advice or services and assume no legal responsibility on behalf of copyright holders. For more information about Creative Commons licenses, please visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ or contact the repository administrator.

Memorandum of Understanding

All communities falling outside of Faculties or Departments, including journals and centres, will be required to submit a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which outlines the rights and responsibilities of all parties involved. The MoU is provided by Scholars Commons @ Laurier and has been agreed to by both the Library and the Press. It may be revised to better meet the needs of specific communities, but these revisions must be approved by both the Library and the Press before the MoU is accepted. A community cannot be established until the required MoU has been submitted. Failure to do so in a timely fashion will result in significant delays.

Access Policy

Some items in the institutional repository will be considered free for all to view, in accordance with standard “open access” principles, unless otherwise negotiated with the Scholars Commons @ Laurier staff. In these cases anyone may access full items free of charge. Contributors may also request to have access restricted to members of the Laurier community, for example. Under negotiated circumstances, an item can fall under an “embargo” in which access is blocked, preventing the ability to view the item. Items can be embargoed for one or more years before defaulting to open access.

Open access is not mandatory for all contributors, particularly in the case of publications such as journals which operate on a subscription basis. In the case of some series, such as journals, a portion of the content may be made open access while the remainder is restricted for a set period of time to be determined by the community or series editor.

Privacy Policy

Wilfrid Laurier University collects, uses, discloses, and retains personal information pursuant to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. The institutional repository collects personal information from users who are involved in the submission of content and metadata and users who subscribe to the institutional repository alerting service. For further information please contact the repository administrator.

Preservation and Withdrawal Policies

Format Support

We wish to provide support for as many file formats as possible. Over time, items stored in the institutional repository will be preserved as is, using a combination of time-honoured techniques for data management and best practices for digital preservation. As for specific formats, however, the proprietary nature of many file types makes it impossible to guarantee preservation. Although we will recognize and support as many known file formats as possible, we strongly encourage submitters to use open file formats such as PDF (Portable Document Format) and PNG (Portable Network Graphics) whenever possible, given the difficulties associated with preserving proprietary formats.

Withdrawal Policy

All items submitted to Scholars Commons @ Laurier will be retained indefinitely and Scholars Commons @ Laurier will try to ensure continued readability and accessibility. Items may not normally be removed from the repository, but it may become necessary to withdraw items from Scholars Commons @ Laurier.

Acceptable reasons for withdrawal include:

  1. Proven violation of intellectual property rights, including copyright violation or plagiarism. Copyright violation includes failure to obtain permission from third party copyright holders
  2. Any other legal requirements and proven violations, including any work that infringes upon the rights or privacy of an individual or group or is found to contain libelous material
  3. Any proven violations of Wilfrid Laurier University policy
  4. Falsified research
  5. Other reasons not expressly stated here upon approval of a written petition. In such instances, a written request must be made to the repository administrator, who will then present the request to Library and/or Press Administration.

The content can be withdrawn

  1. At the request of the author
  2. At the University’s discretion
  3. At the Library’s discretion
  4. At the Press’s discretion
  5. At the community’s discretion
  6. By legal order

Changes or modifications to deposited materials are not permitted. In the event that an updated version of a work is available, this may be deposited in Scholars Commons @ Laurier and an appropriate note will be added to the metadata record of the previously deposited item. The revised version is subject to the current author submission guidelines and Scholars Commons @ Laurier’s policies.

When a work is withdrawn, it will become inaccessible but the metadata record will remain. This is to prevent broken links and to ensure that citations already made are verifiable. A note will be placed in every metadata record indicating that the item has been withdrawn from the collection. Although it is possible to delete an item by requesting this action through BePress, Scholars Commons @ Laurier does not delete items as this eliminates the metadata page and will lead to error messages and subsequent confusion.

Disclaimer

Although care has been taken in preparing the information contained in this policy statement, Wilfrid Laurier University does not and cannot guarantee its accuracy. Anyone using the information from this policy uses it at his or her own risk; any loss arising from the use of information is the sole responsibility of the user. Wilfrid Laurier University, the Library, and the Press will not be responsible for any injury or damage arising from its use.