eCommons Policies

Content Collection Policy

The following describes the characteristics of content appropriate for submission to eCommons.


Content deposited in eCommons reflects the intellectual output of Cornell faculty, researchers, staff, and students. It is educational or research-oriented in nature. Examples of appropriate content include:

Content of archival value produced or sponsored by administrative offices, academic units, and student groups may also be appropriate for deposit in eCommons. Examples of such content include:

Content produced by others but of research and/or teaching value may also be appropriate for eCommons. Such material is normally solicited, collected, or identified by Cornell faculty, researchers, staff, and students, who then arrange all necessary clearances needed to deposit the material (see Deposit Policy & License below). Examples of such content include:


eCommons can accept many electronic file formats. Certain formats, however, such as plain text, XML, and PDF/A, are recommended because the likelihood of their full preservation in the future is much higher (see Preservation Support Policy, and Recommended File Formats for eCommons).


Individual files deposited in eCommons should normally be less than 2 GB in size. The total size of a collection of files associated with a research project and deposited into eCommons should not exceed 10 GB per year. If you have questions about these size limitations, please contact the eCommons Administrator.

Ownership/Intellectual Property

The author/owner of content deposited in eCommons must be willing and able to grant Cornell University the right to preserve and distribute the work via eCommons (see Deposit Policy & License below).

Deposit Policy & License

Requirements for depositing content in eCommons are:

eCommons Deposit License

In order to deposit content in eCommons, the depositor must agree to a non-exclusive distribution license. By accepting this license, the depositor agrees that:

The author/original copyright owner retains copyright on all works. CUL will clearly identify your name(s) as the author(s) or owner(s) of the submission, and will not make any alteration, other than as allowed by this license, to your submission.

See the complete text of the eCommons Deposit License for more information.

Data Deposit Policy

In addition to the above requirements, datasets may be accessed and preserved in eCommons, subject to the following conditions:

Cornell researchers planning to use eCommons as a component of their data management plan (subject to the above conditions) may include the following language in the plan:

[Specify datasets] will be deposited in Cornell University Library's institutional repository, eCommons (, for preservation and access. Datasets will be available via the world wide web without restriction. eCommons provides each item with a persistent URL and is committed to preserving the binary form of the digital object.

Access Policy

The purpose of eCommons is to provide stable, long-term public access to digital content produced by members of the Cornell University community. By default, material deposited in eCommons will be openly accessible worldwide over the Web.

Under certain circumstances, restrictions or temporary embargoes on worldwide open access may be imposed. Access restrictions are set during the deposit process but may be relaxed at a later date.

The following restrictions and embargoes are allowed:

Requests for restrictions on access should be addressed to the eCommons Administrator.

Alteration Policy

Once deposited, content should not normally be modified. If removal is necessary, that process will follow the Withdrawal Policy. If the description of the content (its metadata) is incorrect, the depositor must send an explanation of the error and its correction to the eCommons Administrator. Reasonable corrections to metadata will be made by eCommons staff.

Adding a new version or replacement of content is allowable according to the following policies.

Adding a new version

If the depositor wishes to update a work, providing a new version of an existing eCommons item, he/she must contact the eCommons Administrator with an explanation. Standard practice is for eCommons to maintain access to previous versions, with all versions visible on the landing page, with the reason for each subsequent version. The newest version is listed first, and the original handle always resolves to the newest version. Handles for older version are generated by appending a number to the original handle, so it remains possible to refer to a specific older version when a newer one exists.


Complete replacement of a file requires justification from the requestor. The requestor must note in their request the specific changes that have been made, in order to allow eCommons staff to assess the request.

Examples of reasonable requests for replacement include correcting errors, or marking a version of an item as deprecated or superseded. Superseded content may be indicated by adding a watermark or cover page to the replacement item (for example), stating that the content has been superseded. Such content modification is the responsibility of the requestor. When a replacement is made, a note will be added to the content description ("Content replaced at author's request on [date] for [reason]").

There are some cases in which a replacement cannot be made, such as requests to replace an official record such as a thesis or dissertation that has been formally approved.

Withdrawal Policy

eCommons is intended to provide persistent access to deposited material. Under certain circumstances, however, it may be necessary to remove material from eCommons.

A request for removal should be directed to the eCommons Administrator and include the reasons for withdrawal. eCommons staff may contact the requestor for additional information.

Since the goal of eCommons is persistent long-term access to content, original item records are retained for all withdrawn content. These records, including all original metadata, will be displayed to users. These records will contain one of the following statements:

Privacy Policy

Cornell University Library is committed to preserving your privacy. Any personal information collected in the process of operating eCommons or providing access to content within eCommons is subject to the Library's Privacy and Confidentiality Policy. The operation of eCommons also complies with Cornell University's policies governing Privacy of the Network.

Preservation Support Policy

Cornell University Library is committed to responsible and sustainable management of works deposited in eCommons and to ensuring long-term access to those works.

All work deposited in eCommons will be assigned a persistent identifier and a persistent Web address (URL).

While prudent efforts will be taken to preserve work in any digital format submitted to eCommons, submission in a recommended file format is strongly encouraged in order to facilitate long-term preservation..

At this time, eCommons is committed to preserving the binary form of the digital object. Further practical measures to preserve as much functionality ("look and feel") of the original content as possible will be taken as resources permit.

Digital preservation is an evolving field. Current long-term preservation strategies and technologies employed by eCommons are shaped by the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) reference model (ISO 14721:2012) and informed by relevant international standards and emerging best practices. eCommons preservation activities and policies will be reviewed regularly to ensure that they remain current as technology and institutional practices evolve.