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Office of Library and Information Services (OLIS)

SUNY Open Access Repository (SOAR)

SOAR, built in DSpace OpenRepository, is a centrally managed online digital repository that stores, indexes, and provides access to scholarly and creative works of SUNY faculty, students, and staff across SUNY campuses. SOAR serves as an open access platform for those SUNY campuses that do not have their own open access repository environments. It supplements, rather than supplants, local SUNY campus repositories.


The scope of collections in SOAR include scholarly and creative open access works of SUNY faculty, students, and staff. For more information, please review the SOAR content guidelines to determine what content is suitable, or contact


  • Community: top-level organization; each SUNY Sector will be a Community
    • Doctoral Degree Granting Institutions
    • University Colleges
    • Technology Colleges
    • Community Colleges
  • Sub-Communities: organizational divisions. The top-level sub-community will be the campus listed under the sector community. Further sub-communities can be defined by the campus as needed. 
  • Collections: structures that store the repository content, and are made up of metadata item records with associated content files.

Submission Options:

  • Web Interface: can be used by authorized contributors to add metadata and items to a collection one at a time
  • PubMed or CrossRef Metadata Imports: for published content available through these resources. Provided as an option on the item submission form.
  • Batch Import: may be available upon request, uses a .zip file (documents/bitstreams) and a .csv file (metadata)

General Documentation

The SOAR platform is based on the DSpace Open Repository; it integrates with PubMed and CrossRef for importing metadata, provides ORCID integration for authors, enhanced statistics including Altmetrics, and provides a separate test (staging) environment for each campus community. 

OLIS Responsibilities

  • Provide consultation services to review the functionality of the platform
  • Setup of campus communities, sub-communities, collections
  • Setup of user accounts for campus administrative control of their community, and for item record creation and submission of content
  • Provide training on functionality, item record creation, and content input
  • Provide documentation and information on basic workflows
  • Provide guidance on metadata use of Dublin Core
  • Provide default templates for record input
  • Review requests to batch input metadata and/or content with the understanding that this could incur costs that would be charged back to the campus
  • Review request for functionality not included in the Open Repository platform with the understanding that this could incur costs that would be charged back to the campus
  • Provide first line support for questions related to general functionality
  • Liaise with Atmire regarding technical issues
  • Provide support through the account

Campus Responsibilities:

This model of support requires each campus to identify local contacts who will be responsible for working with their community to solicit and add content into the repositories. Questions on content (accessibility, copyright issues, take-down requests, etc.) will be forwarded to the campus liaison for a decision on how to address.

For support inquiries contact

Getting Started

If you are considering using SOAR or ready to get started with it on your campus, please start with the SOAR Content Guidelines, then review the following questions:

  • What types of open access content are your faculty, staff and students producing? 
    • Graduate and undergraduate theses?
    • Articles in academic journals?
    • Monographs or book chapters?
    • Preprint or Postprint (submitted or accepted manuscripts) works?
  • How will content be identified/found?
  • Who will be involved in soliciting content?
  • Who will be involved in submitting content?

Other considerations:

  • Authors are required to complete forms confirming: 
    • The work is original 
    • The SUNY author(s) owns the copyright or have permissions to deposit
    • The SUNY author(s) grants permission for distribution  
  • Several licensing options are offered, primarily Creative Commons 
  • Deposit agreements for SUNY students may need to include sign-off by their primary faculty advisor 

Organization of Content

Most discovery will be done through Google Scholar and other search engines, rather than via browsing the repository user interface.

Best Practices:

  • When developing hierarchies of sub-communities, consider how much content will be available for each area; in other words, will some sub-communities/collections have the bulk of content while others may have only a few records or perhaps none?
  • Avoid empty sub-communities/collections by creating them only when content is available

Structural Requirements:

  • Name and description of your campus
  • Name and description of further sub-communities (if needed)  
  • Name and description of the collections  
  • Any logos/graphics appropriate for the collection/sub-community, etc. (if desired)
  • Name and email addresses of the administrators for the campus environment
  • Name and email addresses for authorized contributors to specific sub-communities and/or collections if applicable
  • Basic information about the content of the collection, approximate number of items, etc.

User Accounts

Each campus will assign administrator(s) for their local community. Additional roles may be assigned for the entire campus environment or specific sub-communities and/or collections.

  • Administrator (required): manages the entire campus environment including all subcommunities and collections. 
    • Assigns roles based on sub-community/collections
    • Creates sub-communities and collections
    • Adds/edits content and metadata.
  • Submitter: has permission to submit new items to designated collections
  • Reviewer: has ability to accept or reject incoming submissions; cannot edit submitted metadata
  • Editor: has ability to edit metadata of incoming submissions, then accept or reject
  • Final Editor: ability to edit the metadata of incoming submissions, but will not be able to reject them


When developing a local workflow, there are many factors to keep in mind:

  • Accounts: if mediated deposits are necessary, campuses will need local administrative and/or submission accounts
  • Content Retrieval: Metadata and full-text may be submitted by authors to site administrator through web forms, email, or a combination of the two
  • Content Submission:
    • Metadata may be imported from PubMed or CrossRef if an article exists on one or both platforms. This is the easiest way to submit a document, and especially useful when there are multiple authors 
    • SOAR Submission Process: for individual metadata and bitstreams. Least complex method and best for using the metadata import functionality 
    • Bulk Load: Metadata and full text may be exported in .csv file, cleaned, and uploaded in bulk upon review with OLIS Repository administrators 
      • Bulk uploads work best for documents which have less complex metadata  (e.g., single authors)
      • Full text (also called "bitstreams") are uploaded as a .zip file. Bitstreams may be uploaded in advance in a .zip file or added after by editing each record 
      • Metadata are uploaded in a UTF-8 .csv file
      • The full text zip file must be uploaded before the metadata.csv, and the PDF file names in the .zip file must be entered into the .csv exactly
      • Dates and other metadata must be formatted correctly to upload properly
      • More complex, troubleshooting and knowledge of how to use metadata needed 
  • Optional steps:
    • Follow up with authors to confirm that the work(s) have been submitted and provide the persistent URL to the record 
    • Customize the thumbnail on the brief details page by appending a page to beginning of to the document being submitted  

Submission Template:

  • SUNY Office of Library Services staff have created a submission template for common content types. Contact for more information about the template and submission process.
  • The template includes:
    • Minimum required fields
    • General information on how each field is to be used
    • Values included in drop-down selections where applicable
    • Fields that display on the simple item record (if they have content)
    • Fields that are automatically generated as part of the submission process
  • It is possible to add additional metadata fields as defined in the Metadata registry.

Promoting SOAR

Talking Points

Primary benefits for authors/creators:

  • Works are indexed by Google
    • Provides additional exposure an access points
    • Increased citation rates
  • Better usage statistics than offered by publishers, including downloads by location
  • Permanent links to works to use on CVs, websites, etc.
  • Ease of use
    • Mediated deposits

Value-added services offered by the Library (if applicable)

  • Creative Commons license assistance
  • Provide publisher requirement look up
  • CV/citation analysis – provide list of closed access articles and version that may be deposited per publishers’ policies
  • Push statistics to faculty (monthly, quarterly, annually, etc.)


Active methods (most effective)

  • One-on-one liaison meetings and consultations
  • Presentations to faculty
  • New faculty orientations
  • Department meetings
  • Faculty organization meetings
  • “Lunch n’ Learn” or brown bag sessions
  • Participation in campus writing and/or research-related events
    • “Research days"
    • Faculty/disciplinary retreats,
    • Conferences / poster sessions
  • Organized training sessions
    • “Lunch n’ Learn” or brown bag workshops
    • Instruction sessions for graduate students
    • Library-sponsored Faculty development workshops
    • Partner with campus faculty development personnel to offer training
  • Develop and foster relationships with faculty, recruit champions
    • Join campus committees and participate in faculty

Passive methods

  • Link to IR submission information from library home page (easy to find)
  • Link from other department sites where possible (Research Admin, Graduate Studies, writing center, etc.)
  • Posters/fliers in high-traffic areas on campus
  • All-faculty or campus-wide emails
  • Social media (blog postings, fb, etc.)
    • Highlight success stories, authors, high usage items
    • Highlight select interesting deposits
  • Search engine optimization – make your IR-related web pages easier to find
    • Add in-bound links from other campus websites, social media, Wikipedia, etc.
    • Update page content regularly
    • Use descriptive text and metadata on web pages

Overcoming Barriers to Use

The most common barriers to using the repository and suggestions for breaking them down.

Lack of awareness of the repository and how to use it

  • Provide liaison librarians with talking points about SOAR (see below) so that it is easy to discuss
  • Develop a marketing plan and strategies (see Promotion)
  • Increase exposure
  • Make SOAR and information about it easy to find on the Library home page and/or other high-use pages
  • Encourage other departments to do the same, especially on pages used frequently by authors/creators (i.e., research administration, graduate programs/colleges, etc.)
  • Use search engine optimization techniques where possible to improve search result rankings
  • Lack of time
    • Streamline the submission process as much as possible with easy to use and find submission methods
    • Require as little as possible from submitters by providing the information needed, including the version the publisher
    • Many campuses use a faculty members' CVs to provide them with a list of publications that are closed access and advise version that is needed for the repository

Jargon/terminology is confusing

  • Be prepared to clarify terms when discussing self-archiving with faculty
  • Clarify terms and acronyms on web pages and other documents related to SOAR
  • Try to remember how foreign the terms were to you and your library staff when first learning about repositories

Confusion about copyright

  • Clearly state that the author/creator retains copyright for all works submitted to the IR
  • Provide basic information about copyright v. licensing, and link to additional in-depth resource

Concerns about publishers’ policies about licensing and version that may be deposited

  • Educate people about publishers' policies and Sherpa/Romeo
    • More than 80% of well-established publishers and journals allow self-archiving of accepted or submitted manuscripts
  • Provide information from Sherpa/Romeo to authors/creators on demand