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Table of Contents

  1. User Support
  2. Support Hours
  3. Frequently Asked Questions

User Support

If you need to report a problem using ScholarSphere, or would like to request service assistance, consultation, or share feedback, please use the following contact options:

Support Hours

  • Service Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • System Maintenance Hours: To keep systems running at peak performance, and to ensure the best possible service, routine testing and maintenance are performed during the daily maintenance window from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. EST/EDT. During this time, systems and services may be affected

Frequently Asked Questions

Using the ScholarSphere Service

Who can use ScholarSphere?

  • The content in ScholarSphere is open to the public and free for anyone to search and download.
  • In order to deposit files into ScholarSphere, you must be a Penn State faculty, student, or staff, with a current Web Access Account ID and password. Penn State emeriti faculty may also use ScholarSphere.

Does it cost anything to upload to ScholarSphere?

  • No, the University provides this service at no cost to current Penn State faculty, students, and staff and to emeriti faculty.

What can I deposit into ScholarSphere?

  • Anything concerned with your scholarly work. (i.e. articles, presentations , data. reports)
  • NOT student work, resumes, curricula vitae, images not related to your scholarly work, theses and dissertations

Can I use ScholarSphere for managing my data, to comply with data management plan (DMP) requirements?

  • Yes! Researchers are welcome to use this boilerplate language, adapting and revising as needed, into their data management plans – see: Boilerplate Language for DMPs
  • In addition, you are strongly encouraged to contact Robert Olendorf, ScholarSphere User Services and Research Data Librarian, to ensure the best possible planning for your research (email:; phone: 814-865-6766). We also suggest that you also consult these resources from the Libraries:
    1. Data Management Toolkit
    2. Data Repository Services and Tools
    3. DMP Tool (Penn State has an institutional login; just use your access account ID and password – only you see any DMPs you create with this tool)
    4. DMP Tutorial

I'm interested in uploading my articles to ScholarSphere make it open access. How do I know what I can upload?

  • Typically, scholarly publishers allow researchers to upload the version of the article before it was published, i.e., the pre-print article, or the version of it after it was submitted and peer-reviewed, i.e., the post-print. 
  • The best resource to consult on this is SHERPA/RoMEO, where you can look up the journal in which the article appeared, or the publisher of the journal, and see what they allow for deposits into institutional repositories.
  • ScholarSphere encourages uploading pre-prints of articles (version before peer review), or post-prints (the version of the paper after peer review). Visit the SHERPA/RoMEO site for guidance in the difference between pre-prints and post-prints of articles.

Does ScholarSphere track downloads?

  • Yes, ScholarSphere tracks views and downloads for each deposited file, via the "Analytics" link in the item record.
  • Example of an item record:
  • The "Analytics" link is underneath the image of the file. Click on "Analytics" for this item; then, a graph showing numbers of views and downloads then appears

What happens to my files in ScholarSphere after I leave Penn State?

  • The files remain in ScholarSphere and continue to be discoverable, accessible, and citable, since ScholarSphere is a preservation as well as access service. If you have any questions or concerns about your files after you have left Penn State, you may submit them via our Contact Form.

Uploading Files to ScholarSphere

How large can a file be to be uploaded to ScholarSphere?

  • For a single file - 500 MB; for a folder or group of files - ~1GB.  This is not uncommon for web-based uploads. The larger the file, the more likely a timeout will occur. You can also upload files via the cloud providers, like Dropbox and Box, that ScholarSphere integrates with. See the next question.

How large a file can I upload via Dropbox and Box (cloud providers)?

  • The maximum for uploading via Dropbox is 1.9 GB. Via Box, it is 5 GB.

What if I have a file larger than 5 GB or many files to upload?

What's the difference between ScholarSphere and cloud services like Dropbox and Box?

    1. Reliability: ScholarSphere is a Penn State service that is fully funded and supported by the University Libraries and Information Technology Services. That is, the two most reputable organizations at Penn State responsible for knowledge management and information security and organization oversee the service and the infrastructure supporting it, to make persistently accessible the content that is deposited into ScholarSphere.
    2. Preservation: Our main focus is to preserve your scholarly work and make it accessible for the long term. Files deposited into ScholarSphere undergo audits and other digital preservation checks. This helps ensure that your scholarship will be available for generations to come. Dropbox and Box, on the other hand, are primarily file-sharing and file-storage services, rather than digital repository services implementing digital preservation best practices.
    3. Sharing scholarship for public access: ScholarSphere collects scholarly and scientific research outputs primarily for public access to them, largely in accordance with Open Access principles and in compliance with funding agency data management planning requirements. As commercial services focused mainly on file sharing and file storage, Dropbox and Box are open to a variety of content and not really intended for making content accessible and searchable via the web.

Are there limits to how much I can deposit into ScholarSphere?

  • At present, no. You may deposit as many files as you need to.


Works and Collections

What is a work and what is a collection?

You can think of a work as a single functional unit. Just like a book might have many pages all of which are need for the book to make sense, a work can have many files, all of which are required for the work to function properly.

collection is a just that. A collection of works, but the collections functionality isn't dependent on any single work in the collection existing. A collection will typically be organized around some theme or characteristics, but it isn't necessary.