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Institutional Repository Guide

A guide to the University of Alabama's Institutional Repository. What it is, the services provided, and how to use it.

General Deposit Guidelines

General Deposit Guidelines

  • The work must be wholly or in part produced or sponsored by The University of Alabama faculty, researchers, staff, or students. Undergraduate students may submit work to the repository only under the sponsorship of a faculty member.
  • The work must be scholarly, research-oriented, educational, creative, or generally reflect the intellectual environment of the campus as defined in the Office for Research & Economic Development's Strategic Plan.
  • The work must be in digital form. See the File Format Recommendations below.
  • Deposits are intended to be permanent contributions to the repository; therefore, a work should be complete and ready for dissemination. However, we highly encourage the deposit of works that may be published in another format at a future date (for example, preprints, post-prints, and working papers).
  • The author/copyright owner should be willing and able to grant the University of Alabama the right to preserve and distribute the work via the repository. The author/copyright owner retains copyright for all works submitted. 
  • If the work is part of a University series (such as discussion papers or technical reports), we encourage the submission of other digital works in that series so that we can offer as complete a set as possible.


Deposit an Item

Prepare to Submit

The University of Alabama faculty, staff, and graduate students can deposit work in the IR. Undergraduate work may be submitted by a faculty member. If you are not affiliated with The University of Alabama, you may submit work that was produced in affiliation with a program here, co-authored with a UA researcher, involved in inter-university research in The University of Alabama System, or affiliated with a conference held here. To do so, please contact and include contact information for your UA colleague.

Depositing or submitting an item is a multi-step process that, depending on the complexity of the item deposited, can take between five and ten minutes. At any point in the deposit process, you can stop and the IR will automatically save your work. The data you have already entered will be stored until you come back to the deposit. You can also cancel your deposit at any point.

To begin the deposit process, log in to your account. Once logged in, you can start a new deposit by clicking "contribute your work". If you are viewing a collection and are authorized to submit to it, you may use the “Submit a new item to this collection”.

Select a Collection

When you begin the submission process, you will first need to select the collection that you want to deposit into. All University of Alabama faculty, staff, and graduate students are able to immediately submit their research to their department's collection.

You may be authorized to deposit items into another collection. If you would like to create an appropriate collection, contact to find out about getting your unit or department set up. If you can already access the collection you want to use, select it and click “Next” to proceed.

If you have clicked the “Submit to this Collection” link on a collection page, you will not need to select a collection; you will be directed immediately to the next page.

Deposit Agreement

The IR requires agreement to this non-exclusive distribution license. The deposit does NOT require the transfer of copyright.

To grant the distribution license, you must have permission to do so. If you are unsure whether you may grant the license for a published work, see below for some strategies on determining whether you may deposit:

  • Check the original copyright agreement, if you have it, to see whether there is language that specifies that you may make your work available via an institutional repository or a personal website. Often this means that you can deposit into the IR; however, if you have any doubts, please contact your publisher with questions.
  • Use the SHERPA/RoMEO list of publisher copyright policies and self-archiving to search for the journal title or publisher if you do not have access to the copyright transfer agreement. The SHERPA/RoMEO database provides information about whether the publisher allows 'self-archiving', that is, posting the paper on the author's web page, in an institutional repository, or into a disciplinary repository like arXiv. The SHERPA/RoMEO database is an excellent place to start, but, whenever possible, authors should double-check the policy with their publisher (either directly or by looking at the policy on the publisher's website).
  • Contact Elaine at for assistance. If you do not have access to the copyright agreement and cannot find the publisher in the SHERPA/RoMEO database, a librarian can work with you to contact the publisher directly.
  • Once you have determined that you can deposit the item, you should determine whether you can deposit the published version (i.e. with the publisher's formatting and page numbers) or whether you need to deposit the final manuscript version. 

Please read the license carefully. If you have any questions, please contact

Check "Yes" and click "Begin Submission" to proceed.

File Format Recommendations

File Format Recommendations 

The Institutional Repository will accept your research no matter the file format. However, as you prepare it for submission, please keep in mind the following file format preferences. 

Digital preservation requires maintenance to ensure its longevity in providing accessible open access. We consider the following formats ranked with the Highest Preference:

  • Is openly documented;
  • Is supported by a range of software platforms;
  • Is widely adopted;
  • Uses lossless data compression (or no compression); and
  • Does not contain embedded files or embedded programs/scripts.

Many proprietary formats (e.g. Microsoft Office formats) are not openly documented or viewable using third-party or free software. Based on this, most proprietary formats often are limited to Moderate Preference at best. 

  • Textual Formats (including Office/Presentation Formats):

    1. Highest Preference - Comma-Separated values (.csv), Plain Text (.txt), XML (.xml), XHTML (.html), Formats

    2. Moderate Preference - Rich Text (.rtf), HTML (.htm, .html), Microsoft Word (.doc), Microsoft Excel (.xls), Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt), Acrobat PDF (.pdf), Postscript (.ps)

NOTE: Files with embedded content (for example, a PowerPoint (.ppt) with an AVI video file (.avi) inserted into it) are more preservable if the files are deposited as separate files within the same item in the repository. If the content remains embedded, it will likely not remain intact when the file is transformed to a more preservable format.

  • Image Formats

    1. Highest Preference  - TIFF (.tif, .tiff), JPEG 2000 (.jp2)

    2. Moderate Preference  - GIF (.gif), PNG (.png), JPEG (.jpg)

  • Audio Formats

    1. Highest Preference  - AIFF (.aif), FLAC (.fla), Ogg Vorbis (.ogg), Wave (.wav)

    2. Moderate Preference - AAC (.aac), MP3 (.mp3), Real Audio (.ram), Windows Media Audio (.wma)

  • Video Formats

    1. Highest Preference - AVI (.avi), Motion JPEG 2000 (.mj2, .mjp2)

    2. Moderate Preference - MPEG-2 Video (.mp2), MPEG-4 Video (.mp4), Windows Media Video (.wmv), Quicktime (.mov)