Digital Commons @ ESF Guidelines and Policies


Digital Commons @ ESF, a service of SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s College Libraries, is a digital repository and publication platform designed to collect, preserve, and make accessible the scholarly output of ESF faculty, students, staff, and affiliates.

This document outlines policies and guidelines regarding the submission of content to Digital Commons @ ESF, including submission criteria, author and user rights, and procedures for removing posted content.

Submission Criteria

To best represent the spectrum of ESF’s scholarly communications, Digital Commons @ ESF maintains an inclusive collection policy based on the principle of open access, which emphasizes broad electronic dissemination of scholarly works. Members of the ESF community interested in submitting materials should review the policies and guidelines below prior to submission. Please contact the Digital Commons Manager for questions or clarifications:

Appropriate content may be added following the guidelines below:

  • The work must be original, produced and submitted, or sponsored by a faculty, staff, student, organization or department of ESF
  • The work must be creative, scholarly in nature, research oriented, or of institutional significance
  • The work should have lasting value for the college’s history, mission, or body of scholarly work
  • The author must own the copyright to all components and content within the work, or have received and shown permission to have the material available in Digital Commons
  • The author or representative of the organization or department must accept the terms & conditions that are presented upon submission prior to material being uploaded to the repository, granting ESF the right to distribute and preserve the material via Digital Commons @ ESF
  • Content submitted by students will require the approval of a faculty mentor or sponsor involved in the creation of the work
  • Contributors may include non-affiliated scholars if they are co-authoring with ESF authors, are affiliated closely with the college, or are submitting via an ESF-sponsored publication, conference, or event
  • Although most content is open access, some material may be available only to current college faculty, staff and students, or may be the subject of a publishing embargo for a fixed period
  • We will not link out to content that exists on other websites or through subscription databases. However, when work is available on other repositories it may be acceptable to link to that content
  • The work must be in digital form, including supplementary materials. Ideally, all of the digital components of a submission will be provided as a set
  • A wide range of file formats is accepted (including text files, datasets, audio files, and video files) and there is no formal limit to size of material.
    • The Library will work with authors to ensure appropriate file types are used
    Examples of possible content include:
  • Published articles or preprints when copyright and/or license allow
  • Books or book chapters when copyright and/or license allow
  • Journals produced by the ESF community
  • Conference papers
  • Technical reports
  • Honors projects, senior theses, and other distinguished student work
  • Datasets
  • Institutional or organizational newsletters, reports, and related materials
  • Image collections or audiovisual materials, either primary or supplementary

Please note that the following content is not permitted for submission/publication to Digital Commons @ ESF:

  • FERPA-protected information, including student email addresses
  • HIPAA-regulated information (protected health information), including any information related to the past, present or future physical or mental health of an individual, except only if the individual has authorized release of his or her information in writing, and such release is in the hands of the publisher
  • Content barred by law or regulation from publication
  • Intellectual property for which the submitter does not have permission to submit and distribute
  • Non-public personally identifiable financial or contact information of any kind, including, but not limited to, social security numbers, credit/debit card numbers, account numbers, account balances, and private residential addresses, except only where such records preexist as legitimate publicly accessible records outside the college
  • Photographic depictions of individuals in areas where a reasonable expectation of privacy exists, except only if all individuals depicted have given written consent to publication of their image
  • Records protected by state privacy laws. Please note that privacy laws vary by state, and protect their residents even when they are out of state

Author Rights

  • The author retains the copyright for all works submitted
  • We strongly advocate using the Creative Commons Licenses to clarify how the work that will be submitted can be used. For more information on the available licenses, click this link:
    • Please contact if you have any questions about which license to use
  • The author is free to reuse the content, but it is his or her responsibility to check the terms of the publication agreement if a document published in Digital Commons is published elsewhere
  • Authors may update and add to existing works
  • Click this link for State University of New York Copyright and Patent Policy:

Implications for future publication

Authors maintain copyright of works published in Digital Commons @ ESF, so works may be submitted for publication elsewhere. Some journals require that manuscripts not be previously published.

Most journal publishers do not consider posting a work in a repository like Digital Commons @ ESF to constitute a previous publication. However, if you have concerns about a specific journal, please contact us at

If the work involves ongoing faculty research that is not appropriate to share publicly, please contact us about embargo and other options to restrict access to content.

User Rights and Responsibilities

  • All users must respect the intellectual property rights of the copyright holder.
  • For previously published works (journal articles, book chapters, etc.) for which the publisher retains copyright, permission has been granted (where necessary) to post this material in Digital Commons @ ESF. For any use which exceeds personal use or fair use under U.S. copyright law, permission may be required by the copyright owner of the material. Click this link for information on Fair Use exceptions to copyright law:
  • For previously unpublished scholarly or creative works, the right to download or print any portion of this material is granted by the copyright owner only for personal or educational use. The author/creator retains all proprietary rights, including copyright ownership. Any editing, other reproduction or other use of this material by any means requires the express written permission of the copyright owner.
  • Material may not be copied, distributed, displayed, altered, or used for commercial purposes, unless specified by Creative Commons License.
  • Except as provided above, or for any other use that is allowed by fair use (Title 17, §107 U.S.C.), you may not reproduce, republish, post, transmit or distribute any material from this web site in any physical or digital form without the permission of the copyright owner (not necessarily the author) of the material.

Withdrawal of content

Digital Commons @ ESF is a permanent repository. Once deposited, an item will not be withdrawn unless removal is legally required. However, under some circumstances a work may be removed from view:

  • Authors or affected parties may request that works be removed for reasons of factual inaccuracy, plagiarism, or potential copyright infringement
  • No materials will be removed without an attempt to reach the author
  • If a work is removed, a citation including original metadata will always remain, with a note regarding the removal, e.g. “removed at request of author,” or “removed at the discretion of ...,” or “removed by legal order”

ESF College Libraries would like to thank Pepperdine University Libraries for permission to adapt their Content Submission Policies and Guidelines. We also thank Musselman Library at Gettysburg College for permission to adapt their Policies and Information for Authors.