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Open Scholarship Policies

Open Scholarship Collections & Content Management Policy | Open Scholarship Submission & Use Policy | Open Scholarship Student-Authored Work Policy

These policies apply to Washington University Libraries staff and all contributors of content to Open Scholarship, including faculty, students, and staff of the Washington University in St. Louis.

The Open Scholarship repository aims to advance the University Libraries’ mission to facilitate the discovery, creation, utilization, preservation, and dissemination of ideas. It is dedicated to the long-term acquisition, management, and broad accessibility of the scholarly output of Washington University faculty, staff, and students for the Washington University community and beyond.

In accordance with the Faculty Senate’s Open Access Resolution (PDF) of May 9, 2011, Open Scholarship aims to provide open access to our collections online to the fullest extent possible. The Open Access Resolution encourages faculty members to make their scholarly and creative works openly available online and to retain the right to include a version of their publication in an institutional or other open access repository where it can be viewed, free of charge, by anyone with Internet access.

Please see the following for further details on University Libraries Open Scholarship Policies.

Open Scholarship Collections and Content Management Policy

Open Scholarship holds content from Washington University in St. Louis and the University Libraries in accordance with the University Libraries’ Collection Development Policy and the following scope and content criteria.

  • University Libraries
    • Digitized and born-digital library collections
    • Purchased library content that is locally hosted and distributed to University Libraries-facilitated digital scholarship
  • Washington University in St. Louis
    • The scholarly output produced wholly or in part by University affiliates (e.g., peer-reviewed articles, author manuscripts, student scholarly posters, presentation notes or lectures, capstone projects, faculty white papers, student theses and dissertations, digital scholarship)

Content Criteria

All objects included in Open Scholarship must:

  • Be wholly or in part produced or sponsored by a University student, faculty, researcher, staff, or other authorized University affiliate. This can include selection by a librarian, curator, or other authorized WUL staff member;
  • Be in digital form;
  • Be scholarly, educational, creative, or generally relate to the University’s mission and reflect the intellectual environment of the campus, as defined in the University Libraries’ Collection Development Policy;
  • Comply with applicable copyright law;
  • Meet applicable technical requirements;
  • Meet applicable accessibility requirements;
  • Be intended for University or public viewing and use, according to the Rights and Permissions outlined below; and
  • Be intended for permanent dissemination and storage in Open Scholarship.

Objects included in Open Scholarship cannot be:

  • Externally linked content, if the University Libraries have no control over the management of the objects;
  • Objects that are freely available via other online platforms (e.g., digitized books that are not unique to University Libraries’ collections and can be found on Google books or as a PDF elsewhere), unless that object’s creator is a University affiliate or a University Libraries’ department; or
  • Personal work unrelated to the collection scope of Open Scholarship.

Student Work

Student work currently accepted includes graduate theses and dissertations, and undergraduate senior honors theses. Under U.S. Copyright Law and Washington University’s Intellectual Property Policy, students retain ownership of all copyright in papers written to earn credit in university courses or otherwise satisfy degree requirements. Student work is subject to additional departmental and University Libraries’ policies and procedures. Please see the relevant academic department and the Open Scholarship Student Work Policy for more information.

Embargoed Content

At the request of depositors, content can be “embargoed,” or restricted, from view for a limited amount of time; for example, for pending patent applications, or for reasons of personal privacy. Please refer to the Open Scholarship Submission and Use Policy for details.

Deaccessioning, Retention, and Digital Preservation

Content is not to be removed once it is deposited in Open Scholarship except in accordance with the University Libraries’ Collection Development Policy or under extraordinary circumstances, including those related to violations of U.S. Copyright Law, academic fraud, or harm to our community. In the event that an item is removed, the metadata for the item will be retained with a notation that the item was removed from the archive. All withdrawal requests will be reviewed by Open Scholarship staff. Depositors are welcome to deposit additional updated versions of their work, in lieu of replacing existing versions.

Washington University Libraries agree to maintain the content deposited in Open Scholarship for the long term. Each digital object deposited in Open Scholarship will receive a persistent identifier, which will continue over time. Open Scholarship accepts deposits of research products in all formats, but strongly encourages the deposit of materials in standard, open formats (such as .PDF, .jpg, .tiff, .mpeg) for a higher chance of long-term viability. The University Libraries’ Digital Preservation Policy includes additional information about preservation strategies and best practices.

Open Scholarship content is stored and managed as part of the University’s technology infrastructure. The data is regularly backed-up, and regular backup copies are stored off-site in multiple locations.

Open Scholarship reserves the right to migrate content to future mechanisms of digital storage and reserves the right to migrate file formats to future compatible formats for display. Because of the emerging nature of digital preservation and the ephemeral nature of file formats, no guarantee of perpetual access can be made at this time; however, Open Scholarship agrees to use “best practice” models and emerging standards to increase the likelihood that materials deposited in Open Scholarship will be available for generations of scholars to come.

In the event that a file format becomes obsolete without a viable replacement format, the University Libraries will attempt to notify the depositor before removing access or deaccessioning the object.

Related University Policies

Open Scholarship Submission and Use Policy


Works submitted to the repository must comply with, and are subject to, University policies. Upon submission, authors or their proxy depositors agree to the Open Scholarship terms and conditions, which include granting a non-exclusive license to Washington University in St. Louis to store and distribute the work. Complete terms and conditions are specified in the deposit agreement. Contributors retain ownership of all rights to their work.

Campus Collaboration

Storing scholarly work long term to the highest level of digital preservation standards requires a great deal of human resources and digital infrastructure. While we are happy to accept individual deposits, departments interested in depositing a multi-item collection of material should contact to initiate a request and determine its feasibility. In the event that Open Scholarship is not an appropriate solution to a department’s needs Scholarly Communication and Digital Publishing Services (SCDPS) may be able to recommend alternatives.


Content is not to be removed once it is deposited in Open Scholarship except under extraordinary circumstances, including those related to violations of U.S. Copyright Law, academic fraud, or harm to our community. Please refer to the Open Scholarship Content and Collections Management Policy for full details.


At the request of depositors, content can be “embargoed,” or restricted, from view for a limited amount of time of up to three years. Reasons for requesting an embargo might include:

  • The author is pursuing a patent for the work
  • The research sponsor requires a specified embargo period
  • The submission includes sensitive or proprietary content, such as work conducted with a corporate partner or a risk of research participants’ identity exposure

Open Scholarship requires an end date to the embargo, at which time the content automatically becomes available for viewing in Open Scholarship. However, the depositor may submit one renewal request to extend the embargo for a maximum of three additional years, for a total maximum embargo of six years. Embargoed content can be viewed only by Open Scholarship administrators. University Libraries staff will mediate embargo requests. In the case of student theses and dissertations, academic departmental policy may govern the use and duration of embargoes and students should consult their department for this information.

Rights and Permissions


Washington University’s Intellectual Property Policy allocates ownership of works created by University constituents. Contributors to Open Scholarship retain all copyright and related rights to submitted materials. Jointly-owned works may be deposited by any of their joint owners. In all cases, contributors must have the legal right or authorization to grant Washington University a non-exclusive license to the material as set forth in the terms of the deposit agreement.

Contributors to Open Scholarship are encouraged—consistent with the University’s mission to disseminate knowledge—to make their work available for open access under terms of a Creative Commons license, which allows others to copy, distribute, and make some use of their material without the need for permission (e.g., CC BY NC 4.0). Providing access to materials via Open Scholarship does not otherwise constitute permission to publish or authorize use. 


Site visitors are solely responsible for obtaining any necessary permission and ensuring that their use is permitted under applicable law. If the copyright author is not stated in the metadata and if the item is not in the public domain, it should be assumed that the item is under copyright and that the author or publisher is the copyright owner. In most cases, Washington University does not hold copyright to works in Open Scholarship, and users may need to contact the author or contributor for permissions to use materials on the site. Materials may be subject to privacy or confidentiality restrictions, or other rights protected under federal and/or state law. University Libraries may share relevant rights information about the copyright status of specific objects or collections in Open Scholarship.

University Libraries encourage the use of materials in Open Scholarship for teaching, scholarship, and research as described by the fair use of provisions of U.S. Copyright Law (17 U.S.C. §107), and other exceptions. Washington University does not assert copyright in copies of public domain materials made openly available on its websites.

More information on copyright is available through the University Libraries’ Understanding Copyright resource.

Open Scholarship Student-Authored Work Policy

Scope and Applicability

This policy applies to Washington University in St. Louis full- and part-time graduate and undergraduate students, faculty sponsors of student work, and Washington University Libraries staff.


This policy governs the deposit of student work into the Open Scholarship repository and provides guidance on the rights and responsibilities associated with the inclusion of student work in Open Scholarship.

Policy Details

This policy should be applied in conjunction with the Open Scholarship Submission and Use Policy and the Open Scholarship Collections and Content Management Policy.

The following categories of student work are within the scope of content that may be deposited to Open Scholarship.

Graduate student work:

Undergraduate student work:

All undergraduate student work meeting these criteria must be approved by a faculty sponsor or other designated authority before it is approved for deposit in Open Scholarship. The University Libraries reserve the right to decline submitted works that do not meet the criteria stated in the Open Scholarship Collections and Content Management Policy and Open Scholarship Submission and Use Policy.

Under U.S. Copyright Law and WashU Intellectual Property Policy, students typically retain ownership of intellectual property rights to works they create. As copyright holder, students may decide whether and when their work will be made available beyond the typical course setting. As a general rule, distribution of material developed by students requires permission from the student creator.

Students have a right to restrict the release of personally identifiable information contained in their education records, which include any student-authored work or scholarly output from which a student can be personally identified. In compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and subject to certain exceptions, the University does not disclose a student’s educational records and information to others without the student’s written authorization. Submission terms for Open Scholarship include waiver of FERPA rights. Individuals depositing works on behalf of student authors are responsible for obtaining any necessary consent and authorization.

Open Scholarship content can be “embargoed,” or restricted, from view for a limited amount of time. Requests to embargo a thesis, dissertation, or capstone project are subject to review and approval by the affiliated department. Please refer to the Open Scholarship Submission and Use Policy for additional details on the embargo request process.


Dissertations are submitted to Proquest. After final approval by the academic department, Proquest makes the dissertations available for deposit to the Open Scholarship by SCDPS.

Other student work is submitted directly to Open Scholarship according to the procedures outlined in the Open Scholarship Submission and Use Policy.

Students submitting a dissertation, thesis, capstone, or Undergraduate Research Symposium scholarship should consult their department for applicable policies and procedures.