Academic Commons


Who can upload works to Academic Commons?

We accept research and scholarship from affiliates of Columbia University, Barnard College, Jewish Theological Seminary, Teachers College, and Union Theological Seminary. Specifically, eligible groups are:

  • Current faculty and staff
  • Emeritus faculty
  • Registered retired faculty
  • Departments, centers, institutes, and programs
  • Students can upload works that meet specific requirements. Some degree programs encourage or require students to upload their thesis or capstone project in Academic Commons.
  • Students may also be able to upload other work.

For more information, see our Participation Policies.

What types of work can I upload?

We accept research and scholarship produced at Columbia University and its affiliate institutions, including the following types of work:

  • Journal articles
  • Books and book chapters
  • Working and technical papers
  • Reports
  • Data
  • Software and code
  • Presentations
  • Images
  • Maps
  • Theses (with program approval)
  • And more!

Note: You must ensure you have the right to upload any given work. See the Columbia Copyright Advisory Services website to learn more.

How do I upload my work?

Members of the Columbia community with a UNI can log in to Academic Commons and follow the upload directions. If you don’t have a UNI, email us at

Is there a limit to the number of works I can upload?

There is no limit on the number of works you can upload.

Is there a file size limit?

Our upload form cannot accept individual files of a size larger than 100 MB. If you have files larger than 100 MB, please contact us at and we will arrange an alternative transfer method.

Which file types do you accept?

We don’t have any restrictions on file type. As a general rule, we archive files in the format in which we receive them.

Can I use Academic Commons as the data repository for my upcoming research project?

We welcome research data and are happy to discuss how Academic Commons can meet your data management needs. We strongly encourage you to contact us when you are planning your project, especially if you will be collecting large amounts of data or if you expect to generate large individual data files. Email us at

How can I describe Academic Commons in grant application data management plans?

You can use some or all of the text below. The first paragraph gives an overview of Academic Commons. The second paragraph provides a detailed description of our long-term digital storage system.

Academic Commons is Columbia University’s institutional repository, offering long-term public access to research shared by the Columbia community. A program of the Columbia University Libraries, Academic Commons provides secure, replicated storage for files in multiple formats. Academic Commons assigns a DOI and accurate metadata to each work to enhance discoverability.

Files uploaded to Academic Commons are written to an Isilon storage cluster at Columbia University and replicated to an identical system at a secure, offsite facility. The local cluster stores the data in a "best protection possible" policy which provides, at a minimum, guaranteed protection against the loss of any two disks or any one node. When sufficient capacity is available, this is increased automatically. Multiple snapshots are replicated to our disaster recovery site every two hours. The secondary cluster employs the same protections as the primary cluster and both conduct integrity scans to validate that data has not been altered at any point during rebalancing, snapshot, or replication processes.

What do I need to know about ethical data sharing?

You are responsible for ensuring that data you upload to Academic Commons are being shared ethically and in compliance with federal, state, and institutional regulations. See the Columbia Research website for more information.


When can I expect to see my work in Academic Commons?

Please allow approximately one week for cataloging. If you need your work available sooner, send us an email at and we will try to accommodate you.

What does the cataloging process involve?

When you upload a work, the file(s) and descriptive information you provide are placed in a queue for review by Libraries staff. As part of our review, we add descriptive metadata, including language, genre, and subjects.

How do you choose subjects for my work?

We assign subjects using a controlled vocabulary called Faceted Application of Subject Terminology (FAST). FAST subject terms are based on the Library of Congress' subject headings, providing a widely-recognized set of uniform subjects.

We do our best to choose appropriate subjects for your work but we welcome your guidance. You can provide suggested subjects in the Notes field of the upload form or email us any time at to provide feedback on the subjects we have assigned. Please note that the constraints imposed by the FAST vocabulary mean that suggested subjects may not show up verbatim in Academic Commons. If we can’t use the exact term you would like, we will refer to your suggestions to help us find the best match in the vocabulary.

Are works peer-reviewed before they go in Academic Commons?

No. We do not make editorial decisions about content in the repository. However we do have guidelines for the types of content that are eligible for upload. See our policies for more information.

Can Academic Commons provide campus-only access to my work?

No. All content in Academic Commons is freely accessible to anyone online. Works that cannot be shared openly online should not be uploaded to Academic Commons. However, works can be embargoed (i.e., files are not available for download, though descriptive information is available) for a limited time.

What is a DOI?

Each work in Academic Commons is assigned a DIgital Object Identifier (DOI), which is a type of persistent URL. A sample DOI is: 10.7916/D8ZS2W8R. DOIs expressed as URLs look like this: Use the DOI when citing or referring to a work in Academic Commons. Learn more about DOIs at

Are works in Academic Commons under copyright?

Most works in Academic Commons are under copyright. See our copyright policy to learn more.

How do I report a possible copyright violation?

If you believe that the inclusion of a work in Academic Commons is in violation of your copyright, you may submit a notice of copyright infringement to Columbia University. See the Columbia University copyright page.


Does Academic Commons hold all Columbia dissertations?

No. Academic Commons holds a copy of all Columbia dissertations written as part of a Ph.D., D.M.A., J.S.D., or Dr.P.H. program starting in 2011. The repository also holds dissertations written as part of the Teachers College Ed.D. program starting in 2011. In addition, Academic Commons holds some earlier dissertations uploaded by authors who wished to make their work openly available online. You can do a comprehensive search for all Columbia dissertations—including those in Academic Commons—using the Columbia University Libraries catalog CLIO.

Can I extend the embargo on my thesis or dissertation?

Contact your degree-program administrator and explain the reason for the embargo extension and the amount of additional time you are requesting. If your request is approved, the administrator will direct Academic Commons staff to extend the embargo on your thesis or dissertation.

Columbia Graduate School of Arts and Sciences alumni should email