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Table of Contents

  1. User Support
  2. Support Hours
  3. Frequently Asked Questions
  4. User Guides
  5. How-To Videos

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?

  • Anyone can search ScholarSphere. 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.

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.

I notice that the Rights field in the form I complete about my file is automatically filled in with CC BY-NC-ND. What is this?

  • "CC BY-NC-ND" refers to the Creative Commons license that allows use of the file, but such use must acknowledge who the creator (author) is and it must be used for non-commercial, non-derivative purposes. You are free to change the default license to whichever license is more appropriate.
  • For more information about Creative Commons and their licenses, please visit its site and this guidance on which license to use.

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 - just under 1 GB.  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?

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, rather than only scholarly materials. 

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

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

How can I get larger files into ScholarSphere?

  • Submit your request through our Contact Form, and a service team member will get back to you.

Creating Collections (Sets or Groups of Files) in ScholarSphere

How do I create collections, or group my files, in ScholarSphere?

  • Please see this "cheat sheet" (PDF) on creating collections and/or view the demonstration video below.

I have only private files in my collection, but I notice that my collection is public. Can people see the files in it?

  • If the files you have in your collection are private, then no one but you can see those files. (If you share those files with another Penn State user, then he/she will be able to see them.) 

Is it possible to share collections, the way we can share files in ScholarSphere, so that more than one person can administer or manage the collection?

  • At the moment, no. For now, one person is responsible for starting, and adding to, a collection.

Can I delete a collection I've created?

  • Yes, it's possible to delete a collection you have created. Make sure you're logged into ScholarSphere, then from your dashboard, go to "View Collections," which will take you to the "My collections" tab and show a listing of collections. To the far right of a collection name, you'll see a drop-down menu labeled "Select an action." Click on the arrow pointing down, and there you'll see the option for "Delete Collection." Select that option, and your collection will be deleted. If you have any further questions about this, please inquire through our Contact Form.

User Guides

For step-by-step instructions on how to upload a file to ScholarSphere: Getting Started

For step-by-step instructions on how to create a collection in ScholarSphere: Collections

How-To Videos: Uploading Files and Creating Collections

How to upload files into ScholarSphere.

How to create a collection in ScholarSphere

*For additional assistance using ScholarSphere, please submit a request for consultation via the Contact Form (link to contact form)