About ScholarSphere

ScholarSphere is Penn State’s institutional repository - a repository service for research and scholarly work produced by the university community. Through ScholarSphere, Penn State researchers - faculty, students, and staff alike - are able to share their work on a worldwide scale and be assured of its long-term preservation and thus ongoing access.

As the institutional repository for Penn State, ScholarSphere provides the following:

Penn State's open access policy, AC02: Open Access to Scholarly Articles, effective date January 1, 2020, requires that university researchers provide the post-print version of their scholarly articles to the University Libraries to be made available to the public (unless they have obtained a waiver). Depositing in ScholarSphere satisfies this requirement. A post-print is the author's final manuscript of a peer-reviewed paper accepted for journal publication, including all modifications resulting from the peer-review process. It is the version before the journal makes edits that will constitute the final "version of record."

Here's what ScholarSphere can do for your research:

ScholarSphere collects the following types of content:

For more details about what is permitted to deposit and what is not permitted (e.g., sensitive data), please review our Content Policy below.

To deposit your work, go to our upload page.

Questions? Please submit them via our Contact Form, and a member of the service team will respond.

ScholarSphere and The Underlying Technology are Open Source

Learn about how researchers are using ScholarSphere:


Content Policy

Deposit Policy 

Preservation Support Policy


Visibility (Access Levels) and Sharing

Content Policy

>> What is permitted in ScholarSphere: content primarily of scholarly import, including curricular materials and creative works produced in support of Penn State's teaching, learning, and research mission. Such content may include but is not limited to the following:

ScholarSphere makes no restrictions on the state of the research submitted, as long the depositing author deems the item in a complete enough state to share and distribute.

>> What is NOT permitted in ScholarSphere: content that is not scholarly and content that is sensitive, such as the following: 

Research involving the use of human subjects must be approved by Penn State's Institutional Review Board (IRB), and proper consent must be obtained from participants in order to share their information.

If any sensitive or non-scholarly content is found in ScholarSphere, the files will immediately be made private; the depositors will be notified; and the content will likely be withdrawn from the system.

If you are unsure whether your data is considered sensitive, please consult Penn State policy AD95 or contact the ScholarSphere service team via the Contact Form. In addition, ScholarSphere will not accept content if it is in violation of copyright agreements. In the event that such violations are found, ScholarSphere reserves the right to withdraw the submitted content. See our Deposit Agreement for clarification.

ScholarSphere welcomes deposits from the Penn State community - faculty, students (undergraduates and graduates), postdoctoral researchers, administrators, and staff. Deposit of Penn State co-authored materials is also encouraged, provided the co-author has secured any requisite copyright permissions for deposit in ScholarSphere.

Deposit Policy

Depositing your work in ScholarSphere means the following:

Deposit of content to ScholarSphere grants Penn State University non-exclusive rights for preserving that content and, if you choose, disseminating that content (see our "Preservation Policy" below). To increase the reach, impact, sharing, and preservation of the research, Penn State and ScholarSphere allow content that has been deposited in other repository services to be deposited as well in ScholarSphere, assuming the depositor has not signed an exclusive licensing agreement with another entity. The deposited materials may be freely deposited and distributed elsewhere, in venues such as disciplinary data repositories, electronic journals, pre-print archives, conference proceedings, or course/learning management systems. Please consult our Deposit Agreement for clarification. 

As part of the deposit process, the depositor will be prompted to describe the file (content) that has been uploaded. This process includes selecting a Creative Commons license that describes what the depositor permits others to do with the uploaded content. The default license level (i.e., the license level that automatically appears in the "Rights" field) is Attribution-Non-Commercial-No-Derivs 3.0, or CC-BY-NC-ND. With this license you share your work with others and allow them to download it, provided they attribute you as the creator; they must also refrain from changing the content in any way and from using it for commercial means. HOWEVER, you may select a different license in the drop-down menu. For further guidance, please consult the Help page, where we address Creative Commons in the FAQ.

Preservation Support Policy

Penn State Libraries and Information Technology Services are committed to providing long-term access to all material submitted to ScholarSphere. Initial preservation services have been informed by international standards and best practices. In addition to providing basic services like secure storage and redundancy, ScholarSphere has been designed to preserve all content in the form it is deposited.

All work submitted to ScholarSphere will be preserved at a basic bit-level. File characteristics (such as format, mime type, date created) will be captured and stored as metadata during the deposit process to mitigate potential format obsolescence. All files deposited will receive a SHA-1 (Secure Hash Algorithm) checksum, which is used to document file integrity over time. Regular file integrity checks will be run to check for changes (such as file corruption), and can even be scheduled on-demand.

Beyond this initial level of preservation, the ScholarSphere team is planning for additional preservation services, including file migration and normalization. Details of new services will be announced as they are released.

Certain file formats (such as openly-documented, non-proprietary, lossless) are more easily preserved than others. To better assist contributors, ScholarSphere will in the future provide guidance related to file formats and documentary types.

Visibility (Access Levels) and Sharing

The depositor sets permissions during the upload process. Access permissions give the depositor of content the ability to control who can find, see, edit and download their content. You have the option of setting both "Visibility" (who can see an item) and "Share With" (who can edit.)

Visibility: ScholarSphere used the following visibility settings.

Public: The default setting for visibility of your content is Public. The Public setting will allow your content to be discovered in Google and accessed by anyone. 

Penn State: Allows only users who are logged into ScholarSphere (via WebAccess) to view the content. 

Embargoed: Keeps your content private or open only to Penn State until a specified date (no more than 3 years). At this point your content will become public.

Leased: Makes your content initially public then reverts to Penn State only or Private after the specified amount of time.

Share With Collaborates:  You may grant "View/Download" or "Edit" access for specific users and/or groups to files. Enter a valid Penn State Access Account Id, one at a time, select the access level for that user and click Add. The list of groups in the drop-down marked "Select a group" is a list of User Managed Groups managed by Penn State's ITS department. You may select a specific group and assign an access level for a file within ScholarSphere - similar to adding user access levels. However, management of these groups and their membership is handled centrally at umg.its.psu.edu.

Permission Definitions