eCommons FAQ

Deposit Considerations

Access Considerations

eCommons Communities and Collections

Deposit Considerations

Why deposit in eCommons?

As part of its social commitment as a research university, Cornell strives to ensure that scholarly research results are as widely available as possible. eCommons provides open access to the work that makes the Cornell a leader in research, teaching, and creativity. eCommons is where the Library preserves the scholarly and artistic work of our faculty, staff, and students. eCommons showcases the work of individuals as well as departments, programs, institutes, and other formal and informal campus communities.

What you get when you deposit your work in eCommons:


Making your work accessible via eCommons will ensure more of your peers can find it (in Google Scholar, for example) and will cite it.

Permanent links

eCommons technology ensures a stable online location for your work, with no broken links. eCommons is as reliable as a scholarly journal and as accessible as any website.


Cornell University Library is a world leader in developing standards and best practices for digital archiving and preservation. The Library is committed to preserving your work in eCommons for the long term, exactly as you deposit it.


eCommons supports a variety of formats, and we encourage you to deposit not just the finished work, but also related materials (including data, images, audio and video files, etc.). Beyond what a traditional journal can accommodate, eCommons allows you to create a "director's cut" that gives context to your work and promotes further scholarship.

Institutional context

Cornell University is a destination for the best researchers and scholars, and eCommons places content in the larger context of the Cornell environment, side-by-side with the scholarly and artistic contributions of colleagues, students, and others in the Cornell Community.

How to submit your work to eCommons?

Depositing digital content in eCommons is an easy process and open to anyone affiliated with Cornell University (faculty, staff, students, or groups/organizations). A one-time registration, to create an account in eCommons, is necessary before submitting content. Below are the steps for submitting content to eCommons:

  1. Create an account in eCommons by registering. First submission only.
  2. Login to your account and "Start a New Submission."
  3. Select the Collection you wish to submit to.
  4. Read and accept the Deposit License.
  5. Fill in two forms that give a description of the work you are submitting (author name, title, subjects, etc.).
  6. Select the file or files on your computer and upload.
  7. Verify the information provided and approve the submission.

How does FERPA impact my deposit?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 protects the privacy rights of students. It requires that "educational records" be released only with a student's signed consent. With respect to eCommons, we require that all undergraduate student work submitted to eCommons, such as a term paper or honors' thesis, must be accompanied by a signed release form. Such forms are typically created, administered, and maintained by the student's department.

More information can be found at the Cornell University Policy Office.

Does deposit in eCommons constitute "prior publication"?

Most work, if submitted for publication, will undergo revision, and most publishers do not consider earlier drafts as prior publication. A few academic journals, however, have policies against publishing previously printed or archived work. Consult your publisher, thesis advisor or the honors office, as appropriate, if you have questions about this.

Can I deposit confidential information?

No. Submitting work to eCommons requires you to attest that the work contains no confidential or proprietary information. Confidential information includes data that can uniquely identify someone, such as a Social Security number, credit card number, or driver's license number. Proprietary information is information, such as patentable information, that is owned, or may be owned, by someone else.

Access Considerations

Can I limit access to my work in eCommons?

By default, material deposited in eCommons will be openly accessible worldwide. If necessary, some types of access restrictions are allowed. See the eCommons Access Policy for more details.

What are the advantages of openly accessible content in eCommons?

What are the disadvantages of openly accessible content in eCommons?

The author of any work submitted to eCommons retains copyright to the work. Submission to eCommons imposes no restrictions on your future use of the work. However, it is a good idea to be explicit about what others can and cannot do with your work by applying a license to it. Creative Commons provides an easy way to license your work; all Creative Commons licenses require that any use of your work is credited to you. In many cases, the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license is a good one for eCommons content; see also our Data Deposit policy for more information about applying licenses to data sets.

eCommons Communities and Collections

What are eCommons communities and collections?

Communities and collections are the structuring mechanisms by which eCommons content is arranged. Communities may contain any number of other communities (called "sub-communities") and any number of collections, but they don't contain individual items (records, with associated files). Collections may contain any number of individual items, but only items. Other than these restrictions, there is considerable flexibility in the arrangement of communities and collections.

Top-level communities and sub-communities tend to correspond to Cornell University academic or administrative units (e.g., a department, institute, or research center) that produce research and scholarly work. Collections can be organized around a topic, or by type of information (such as working papers or datasets) or by any other sorting method a community finds useful in organizing its digital items. Many types of collections are possible and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. To request a new collection, please contact the eCommons administrator.

Each eCommons community and collection has its own entry page which can display relevant information, images, and links for that group.

A collection may be administered by a Collection coordinator who acts as a liaison with eCommons staff at the University Library.

What are the benefits of having a collection coordinator?

If a coordinator has assumed administrative responsibilities for an eCommons collection, then those responsible for that eCommons collection have the right to:

What responsibilities does a collection or community coordinator assume?

If a coordinator has assumed administrative responsibilities for an eCommons collection or community, then that eCommons coordinator agrees to:

How will the Library assist the eCommons collection/community coordinator?

The University Library will: