OpenBU FAQ

An institutional repository is a single, online place where a community (in this case, Boston University) gathers and preserves scholarly output produced by its members and makes these materials available to the world free of charge (copyright permitting). This output may include both publications in peer-reviewed journals and materials not published elsewhere (datasets, pre-prints, post-prints, performance recordings, syllabi, theses and dissertations, etc). Books are not typically included in institutional repositories.

OpenBU is the institutional repository of Boston University. OpenBU is freely accessible to the public, and as such, is open access. This does not mean that every item’s files are available for viewing by anyone; some items are restricted for publication-related or other reasons. Our goal is to make as much of OpenBU open-access as possible.

Members of the BU community (faculty, staff, students, departments, research centers, and administration) may submit items to collections in OpenBU on their own behalf or, where authorized, on behalf of another user.

Journal articles, book chapters, pre-prints, working papers, theses and dissertations, datasets (see details below), audio, video, presentations, conference materials, technical reports, etc. Additional information on what currently can and cannot be deposited into OpenBU may be found in the sections below.

OpenBU does not currently support the archiving of websites, but we aim to enable this in the future. At the moment, we can only archive HTML pages. For more information, please contact us.

Certainly! There are practical considerations to keep in mind: for example, if your files are very large, users might have trouble downloading them. The BU Libraries, together with Information Services & Technology and in consultation with the Sponsored Programs, are working on offering a set of services and information relating to data management planning. If you have a dataset you’d like to archive and/or make available to the public, please contact us and we’ll work together to determine the best way to do that.

Absolutely. We are interested in peer-reviewed materials, teaching and learning objects, presentations, lab experiment procedures, and many other products of original research. Please contact us if you have any questions.

For text documents we generally prefer PDF over other formats. The Library of Congress Recommended Formats Statement is an excellent resource to help you figure out which file formats would be most appropriate for deposit into OpenBU. Please contact us if you have any questions.

If My CV has been rolled out to your academic unit, please use My CV to submit scholarly articles. Alternatively, use our simple web submission form to easily send us a journal article or other materials (under 100MB). To submit a collection of items or larger files, please see instructions on submitting to OpenBU. We are also happy to deposit materials for you; please send them to us along with the following information:

  • a statement such as “I authorize the BU Libraries to deposit the enclosed item(s) on my behalf”;
  • which version of your work these files represent (pre-print, post-print, publisher’s copy, other);
  • publication information, if any;
  • written permission from the publisher, if necessary.

If My CV has been rolled out to your academic unit, please submit your articles through the My CV system.

We are looking for any materials you, the author, care to give us. Strong preference is given to what we can disseminate openly. For peer-reviewed work, this means materials created and/or negotiated for publication at present and in the future, as well as past articles, providing they do not conflict with contractual obligations.

If you wish to deposit past research but do not know whether you have the rights to do so, we can help you sort it out—please contact us and tell us about it.

Your work does not need to be peer-reviewed or previously published to be deposited into OpenBU (see below).

If you have a static website that is periodically updated, then you know how difficult it is to keep it up to date. We can help BU researchers and faculty members manage their materials in a central location, in standardized formats, and in ways that allow for more effective search, retrieval, and long-term preservation.

Yes. Google and other search engines will pick up materials located in OpenBU. This exposure is a major benefit of open access. Each object (article, video file, etc.) is tagged with metadata (descriptive data) that, while not modifying the object itself, allows indexing systems such as Google Scholar to ensure wider visibility for your work.

While we work to adapt to the latest technological developments in file formatting, we encourage the preservation of data in open, sustainable, internationally standardized formats such as PDF and XML. The Library of Congress Recommended Formats Statement is an excellent resource to help you figure out which file formats would be most appropriate for deposit into OpenBU. If you have questions about which file formats can be maintained and preserved within OpenBU, please contact us.

Authors submitting to OpenBU grant BU a non-exclusive license that does not necessarily preclude other publication activities, which may or may not involve payment. As long as any charges imposed on processing and/or publication are intended to cover the costs of these activities, and not make a profit, the activities are in compliance with the spirit of open access.

If you deposit an article into OpenBU and then decide to revise and/or submit it for publication, please contact us to discuss your options. We are able to place an embargo on the deposited piece, such that its description is still open but the files themselves are inaccessible for a set period of time (usually six months to three years). You do not need to withdraw your work from OpenBU in order for it to be considered by a publisher.

You can consult your agreement, the publisher’s website, or SHERPA/RoMEO, a searchable database of many publishers’ open access and institutional repository policies. Most major publishers will allow you to place a version of your article into an institutional repository, but many of those request that you not use the publisher’s version, and instead post a pre-print or post-print manuscript (see below).

If you have not yet signed a publication agreement, we encourage you to find out your publisher/journal’s self-archiving policy before signing. Some publishers already have self-archiving permission as a standard feature of their agreements. If yours doesn’t, or is too restrictive, consider adding a standard publication addendum, with which many publishers are already familiar. SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition) has a short write-up on copyright management and your rights as an author. Their standard addendum is downloadable from that page. Additional addenda for authors, made available from different organizations, can be found here.

We are also, of course, available for consultation.

  • A pre-print manuscript refers to your own version of the article as it existed when it was submitted for peer review.
  • A post-print manuscript refers to your own version of the article after revisions following peer review.
  • The publisher’s copy will include the journal formatting and page numbers, and will usually be a PDF document.

We do active collection development on our own. We may have found your work in an open-access subject repository such as PubMed Central or arXiv, or in an open-access journal. Or we may have found your CV online, and done some research to find out which of your publishers allow us to deposit your work (often after an embargo period).

We do this partly for your benefit, and partly for BU’s. We value your work, and it deserves to get as much recognition as possible; depositing it into OpenBU makes it more discoverable and accessible in the long term. In addition, BU has an active interest in collecting and preserving the institution’s intellectual and artistic output. OpenBU is a good venue for that.

See also: Open Access FAQ