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ResearchWorks Archive FAQ

General information

What is a digital repository?

A digital repository is a system for disseminating and preserving scholarly work to researchers and other interested people around the world. The University of Washington Libraries repository is based on DSpace, open-source software created at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( and in wide use by North American universities.

The phrases "digital repository" and "institutional repository" are often used interchangeably.

How is ResearchWorks at the University of Washington organized?

The repository is organized into Communities (colleges, schools, research centers, or other groups). Sub-communities for departments can be established in the college or school community and Collections, such as e-Prints can be set up within sub-communities.

Colleges, Schools, Departments and Research Centers can easily present their work to prospective students, faculty, granting institutions, as well as colleagues and other interested individuals around the world resulting in higher visibility for your work. In addition, each College, School, Department and Research Center primary page can be enhanced with text, logos, and links to departmental websites.

Who decides what types of material go into the repositories?

The Communities in collaboration with the Libraries define the kinds of material they want to include. The Libraries encourages contributions from all communities across the three campuses. Please visit our Collections Policy page to learn more.

Do other universities have digital repositories?

Yes: examples include the University of California system (EScholarship: and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (DSpace:

How do I start?

First visit the Communities and Collections page, to see if your department is represented. If it is not, please contact us.

Depositing your work

What type of materials can be deposited?

The system will accept any file format or content that a Community decides it wants to deposit into the repository (but see below for long term preservation implications). No special software is needed for you to submit materials.

Examples of appropriate content may include numerical datasets, working papers, technical reports, pre-prints and post prints of published articles. Additional information can be found on our Collections Policy page

The copyright of articles that have been previously published is often owned by the publisher. To determine your publisher's policy on self-archiving, please use the link from this site's front page or visit For further information about author rights and copright please visit our Copyright and Author Rights page.

I have a large number of previously published articles that I wish to contribute. Can you help?

Yes. Please contact the ResearchWorks team at rworks @ uw[dot]edu. It is possible that we may be able to assist with researching copyright policies, scanning the offprints into PDF, metadata record creation and the batch import of large quantities of materials.

Preservation and access

Why should I participate? I don't need to worry about managing my publications... the publishers will take care of that.

Yes, and no. While publishers may indeed preserve your materials over time, it may be that the Libraries will not be able to afford to pay publishers the price they charge us to provide access to your work. In addition, in the past the Libraries purchased a copy of the journal your article appears in and made the commitment to preserve the paper copy. Now, however, the system has shifted and the Libraries typically licenses access to online content. That could mean that if we cease paying for access, we have no retrospective access at all.

Using the University of Washington Libraries digital repository will save departmental staff time and money. Because the Libraries has made the commitment to support server maintenance and upgrades, a staff member or graduate student in your department or lab will not need to back-up, maintain or restore these files. Instead the Libraries assumes this responsibility. If others link to your work, putting items into Washington ResearchWorks will provide them with a persistent identifier. In addition, those interested in obtaining copies of your article no longer need to contact you directly; they can simply access the article from the repository.

In the not too distant future, we will be able to send you emails with information on how often your articles and other materials are downloaded from the Repository.

The University of Washington Libraries participates in a number of consortia that distribute our digital collections through a variety of search engines and interfaces. This means that faculty materials are more widely distributed and easily found. Papers will be findable via Google, GoogleScholar, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.

Can I still link to my papers from my own website?

Yes - using the repository can relieve you of maintenance chores for your files but you can still link to your collection or individual papers from your personal or department website. In addition, if you leave the University of Washington you will also be able to continue linking to your papers.

What about preservation? How long will the files in the digital repository last?

The repository addresses two aspects of digital preservation. First, the University Libraries has made a financial commitment of staffing and server space to preserve the files deposited in the repository. Second, depending on the file format, we may be able to preserve the full functioning of that file (for supported formats such as ASCII) or we may be able to preserve only the bits (for known or unsupported formats - usually created with proprietary software). In addition, the repository software creates persistent addresses (handle - e.g., that will not change over time. They will be enduring citations.

Can I delete a file after depositing it?

Because the purpose of this repository is to provide long-term preservation and access, deleting files is not recommended. However, in certain instances files can be deleted by the Libraries. Additional information about withdrawing items from the Archive can be found on the Withdrawal Policy page.

Who can read the files in the repository?

The UW Libraries Digital Repository is a platform for freely distributed research. The default is open access to all deposited items for all users of the World Wide Web. See the ResearchWorks Archive Access Policy for more information.


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