How to Contribute to OpenBU

This is a guide to submitting items to OpenBU. It’s not very long, and the actual submission process should take less time than reading and understanding this guide.

If this is your first submission to OpenBU…

As a first step, if you’ve never logged into OpenBU before, you must do so (using your BU account if you are a BU community member, or the Non-BU Registration link if you’re not), so that the system automatically creates an account for you. Then we can give you access to the collection(s) you need.

Members of the BU community may submit items to collections in OpenBU on their own behalf or, where authorized, on behalf of another user. Permission to submit to one or more collections may be obtained by sending a message to If you intend to submit one or more items on behalf of another individual (for example, you’re a departmental administrator or a research assistant helping out a faculty member), please have that person send us a note as well, authorizing you to deposit materials on their behalf. When we give you the authorization, we’ll let you know by email.

Each School, College and Center has a community that can contain sub-communities and/or collections. These are used to organize the materials submitted. If you need a new sub-community or collection, you may request it by sending a message to

An item can include one or more related files that share the same descriptive information (author or creator, title, date, etc). For example, an item might include a video from a lecture or presentation in addition to a PowerPoint file with the slides that are used in the presentation.

Once you read through the instructions below, presuming that you have all the rights information you need before depositing, the deposit itself should not take more than about ten minutes. You may save a deposit in progress and come back to it later.

Submitting an Item

The following steps to submit an item assume you already have an account on OpenBU and permission to submit items to one or more collections. Please take a few minutes to read through all the steps before proceeding.

  1. First, make sure you own sufficient rights to the work you’re about to deposit. If this is a previously published article, please see this section of the OpenBU FAQ. If this material is previously unpublished and is your original work, then you have copyright. Copyright exists immediately upon the creation of a work; it does not have to be registered with the US Copyright Office (although that might make it easier to prove that you have copyright).
  2. Go to Click on: the Person icon to Login at the upper right, or “Login” under DEPOSIT MATERIALS in the right-side menu, and choose one of the two available login options. If you are a BU community member, please use your regular BU account for this.
  3. After logging in, click the “Submissions” link in the DEPOSIT MATERIALS menu at the right. Then click on the “start a new submission” link.
  4. Screen 1: from the drop-down menu, select the name of the Collection to which you are submitting materials. If you do not see the collection you need, please email to request access. Click the NEXT button.
    *NEXT and PREVIOUS buttons are at the bottom of each page to navigate forward or backward. The SAVE & EXIT button allows you to save your incomplete submission. You can return to complete it by clicking on the Submissions link in the right-side menu after login.
  5. Screens 2, 3 and 4, “Describe,” ask you to provide descriptive information about the item you are submitting, including the author, title, keywords, abstract, etc. Please provide the appropriate information. If you don’t have information for those fields, just skip them and go on. Some notes on specific fields:
    1. Authors: these and some other fields have an ADD button. Clicking it saves the data you have entered and provides an additional field for additional entries. If the name you are entering is a common one, and might be confused with someone else’s name, consider adding a birth year or middle name. Please be consistent with your naming conventions, and contact us if you need help normalizing across submissions.
    2. Title: a required field
    3. Type: if you don’t find the exact Type you would like, select the closest matching category or “Other.”
    4. Subject Keywords: please use words or phrases appropriate to your field (using sentence case). To enter multiple subjects, please use the ADD button to the right of the field. Do not enter multiple subjects on a single line.
    5. Description: your submission will be reviewed by an authorized editor before it is made public. If you have any questions or notes for us, please put them in this field and ask us to delete the note before the submission goes live. If you don’t ask us to delete any text, we’ll assume that it’s part of the submission and leave it in.
    6. Degree Name, Degree Level, Degree Discipline, Degree Granting Institution: this page of fields is for theses and dissertations only. If your submission is not a thesis or dissertation, please leave these fields blank.
  6. Screen 6, “Upload”: Upload the relevant file by clicking on the “BROWSE” or “Choose File” button and locating it on your computer. Please provide a brief file description (such as “Chapter One,” “Main Article,” “Supplementary Materials”). If you have multiple files to upload, click on the “Upload file & add another” button. The item must contain at least one file. Please note: if you are uploading a preprint or postprint, please indicate this in the file description. The Library of Congress Recommended Formats Statement is an excellent resource for figuring out which file formats would be most appropriate for upload into OpenBU.
  7. Screen 7, Duplicate Check: This step will automatically verify if there are any potential duplicates already deposited in OpenBU. If no potential duplicates are found click the Next button.
  8. Screen 8, “Review”: Verify the accuracy of the information you provided. Click on “Correct one of these” if you need to edit the information.
  9. Screen 9, “License”: If you hold the copyright to the work being submitted (and you do, if you’re the/an author and have not signed a publishing contract that assigns copyright to someone else), we recommend that you select a Creative Commons license. It allows you to define in advance those reuse permissions you want to grant to the end-user. More information about Creative Commons can be found at: If you wish to select a License Type, click on the button to “Select or modify your license …”  Otherwise, select “No Creative Commons License”, and click the Next button.
    1. If you are unsure what license to select, we recommend going with the default Creative Commons choices, which will yield a CC-BY (attribution) license. This means that your work can be shared and re-purposed, including in commercial contexts, but must be attributed back to you. This is just a suggestion; BU will accept any Creative Commons license you choose.
    2. When you have selected the license click the Next button.
  10. Screen 9, “Complete” presents a non-exclusive license agreement permitting Boston University to host, preserve, and distribute the item being added. Review and accept the license by clicking on the checkbox next to “I Grant the License” to proceed. Click the “Complete Submission” button to complete your submission.

At this point, your submission is complete. It will go into our review queue. When it is approved, you will receive an email with the permanent URL of the item and can view it. The URL is a persistent link that you can use to point to the item you submitted; even if BU’s internal links change in the future, the Handle link will always work.

Additional information and resources for using OpenBU are available. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to email us at