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Libraries Research Guides

eCommons and Selected Works: Better than ResearchGate?

An introduction and startup guide to the University of Dayton's institutional repository and faculty scholarship platform

Open-access repositories and social media


The short answer is ... yes. But who at a university likes a short answer? Here's the long one:

Institutional repositories such as eCommons provide a stable, reliable, high-quality and highly discoverable medium for scholarly communication.

True, social media sites such as ResearchGate and boast more than 57 million subscribers. They also include spammers, scammers, predatory publishers, bogus and unreviewed research, and student scholarship not identified as such. And, depending on the terms of service, these sites and the people on them may be able to use your work in ways you don't intend. For example, just look what you sign away on 

"By making available any Member Content on or through the Site or Services, you hereby grant to a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, view, copy, adapt, modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site or Services. does not claim any ownership rights in any Member Content and nothing in these Terms will be deemed to restrict any rights that you may have to use and exploit any Member Content." (From Terms of Use, downloaded Feb. 12, 2015, from

In a recent online discussion of scholarly communications librarians, one theme prevailed: Social medican be a powerful tool in promoting your scholarship when used in combination with your institutional repository. Their recommendation: Rather than provide a full-text download on social media, provide a link to your archived work in the institutional repository. That way, all of your downloads and altmetrics will come from the same place, and you can protect your own copyright. 

Other benefits of using eCommons:

  1. We do copyright clearance, so you don't have to lose sleep at night wondering whether you've violated your publisher's copyright agreement.
  2. No spam, scams, ads or predators: In both eCommons and SelectedWorks, your address is cloaked, so it can't be scraped by automated data harvesters and other nefarious entities.
  3. The URL your paper receives in eCommons is stable and persistent: Wherever you post it, the link works — and it leads to a system that tracks readership.
  4. Detailed reports: You'll see how many downloads each paper receives, along with referrers and searches that led to your work.
  5. Not to mention: You get to know the friendly people in University Libraries.

If you have questions or would like to have your scholarship added to the repository, get in touch with your University Libraries liaison or with eCommons staff. We look forward to working with you.

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