Frequently Asked Questions


MINDS@UW is designed to store, index, distribute, and preserve the scholarly outputs of the University of Wisconsin. Content, which is deposited directly by UW faculty, researchers, and staff, may include: research papers, pre-prints, datasets, photographs, videos, theses, conference papers, or other scholarly intellectual property in digital form. The content is then distributed through a searchable Web interface. MINDS@UW uses DSpace software; for more information about DSpace, please visit:

Below we provide answers to a few commonly asked questions about MINDS@UW. Please feel free to reach out to us for more information on any of the topics listed below or if you have any questions you didn’t see covered here.

Feel free to contact any librarian that you normally work with. Your institution may also have a MINDS@UW liaison:

You may also email the MINDS@UW coordinator Cameron Cook with any MINDS@UW-related questions or questions about a specific contact. If your campus does not currently have a MINDS@UW liaison, the MINDS@UW coordinator is your contact.

Ownership, Copyright, and Permissions

Current faculty, staff, & students of the UW System are eligible to deposit in MINDS@UW.  Research outputs created cooperatively with co-authors who are not affiliated with the UW are also accepted, as long as at least one of the authors is affiliated with the UW and the submitter owns sufficient rights to the material.

Unfortunately, we do not collect content that was created prior to someone joining UW. We also do not collect materials created after someone leaves UW. MINDS@UW does not remove content once submitted; if you leave, your content will still be preserved. You may add it to another repository or site, if you like, without needing to consult MINDS@UW.

Maybe. We recommend checking your publishing agreement with your publisher for any restrictions regarding depositing in a repository. You can also check with the UW-Madison Libraries resources on Managing Your Copyright.

If you originally created the work, but you signed some sort of copyright-transfer agreement with your publisher:

For journal articles: Many publishers give blanket permission to post one or more of the pre-print (pre-peer-review manuscript), post-print (final manuscript after peer review and editing), or publisher’s typeset PDF to a repository like MINDS@UW. The first place to look for such permission is SHERPA/ROMEO, a database of publisher policies. The next place to look is the publisher’s own website, which often includes its policies or its standard publication agreements.

For books: If the book is out-of-print in the United States, and your contract with the book publisher contained a clause that reverts the copyright to you after the book goes out-of-print, then you have sufficient rights to submit the book to MINDS@UW. Check Bowker’s Books in Print for your book’s publication status.

Prior to publishing, you may be able to retain your right to deposit your articles in MINDS@UW by adding an “author addendum” to your publication agreement. For more information please see the UW-Madison Libraries pages on Options for Managing Your Copyright and Steps for Authors.

No. The MINDS@UW license is non-exclusive, meaning that you give MINDS@UW permission to do what it normally does—preserve and display content—but you do not give up any rights to do the same things yourself. You can review the distribution license here.

MINDS@UW does not limit what else you do with your work.

Creative Commons licenses allow you to give blanket permission to end-users for certain uses of your work under certain conditions, without in any way damaging your rights over the same work. They are excellent for teachers and scholars, who can allow other teachers and scholars to reuse their work without the tiresome process of seeking additional permissions. You can contact us to add license language to the metadata.

The Creative Commons license is not a substitute for the MINDS@UW license. Creative Commons licenses are an agreement between you (as the depositor) and those who download your work from MINDS@UW. The MINDS@UW license is an agreement between you and the University of Wisconsin; it covers actions (such as transformation of your digital files for preservation purposes) that Creative Commons licenses do not. Accepting the MINDS@UW license is not optional.

MINDS@UW does not accept institutional records. Institutional records should follow proper records-retention procedures. Please get in touch with University Archives and Records Management Services for advice on records management. MINDS@UW has no provision for using retention schedules or other important records management policies.

MINDS@UW is an open access repository and we strongly prefer that you make your work available to the world, in agreement with MINDS@UW’s mission and the Wisconsin Idea. However, we can restrict content in special circumstances, to do so please contact us.

The descriptive information (author, title, keywords, etc.) about an item in MINDS@UW cannot be access-restricted. Digital content can be restricted to a range of Internet addresses, either by default in a given collection, or on a case-by-case basis.

Depositing Work

If you have not added anything to MINDS@UW before, please check with your MINDS@UW liaison to be given deposit rights to the appropriate MINDS@UW collection(s) for your content. If no appropriate collection exists, your MINDS@UW liaison will help you get one started.

Once you have permissions assigned, to deposit content, you can follow the MINDS@UW Guide to Depositing Your Work. You will need to log in (using your NetID) and click the “Start a New Submission” button. You may pause a submission at any time and as long as you save your progress, MINDS@UW will remember what you have already entered. If you have questions or run into difficulties, ask your MINDS@UW liaison or simply use the feedback form.

No. Only a web browser.

To help ensure that your content remains readable and usable long into the future, however, MINDS@UW prefers open, standard, non-proprietary, common formats whenever they are available. You can find our guide to file formats and best practices here. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about appropriate file formats.

Unfortunately, no. Check with your campus’s IT division for scanning equipment and training. If you have a substantial and/or highly valuable collection, consider contacting the UW Digital Collections Center about their digital project development process. When scanning, we recommend the use of optical character recognition (OCR) to ensure that the file is full-text searchable.

Under most circumstances, no. MINDS@UW’s primary goal is to preserve its contents indefinitely. MINDS@UW is not meant for ephemeral content and items likely to be revised.

Mistakes do happen, and problems do arise; in that case, contact the MINDS@UW coordinator.

Using, Searching, and Browsing MINDS@UW

MINDS@UW is an open archive and its contents are therefore accessible free of charge to anyone on the World Wide Web. While it may be possible to restrict access to parts of MINDS@UW, we do not encourage it. The goal of MINDS@UW is to allow any person with an Internet connection and web browser to view its contents.

For most items, yes. Exceptions would include scanned pages that do not undergo optical character recognition (OCR).

You could use Google or Google Scholar, but your results would be mixed with non-academic sources.

Try OAIster instead. It crawls MINDS@UW and hundreds of repositories like it. Also consider the Registry of Open Access Repositories, the National Science Digital Library, and for open access journal content, the Directory of Open Access Journals.

If you’re interested in open access within a particular discipline, ask the MINDS@UW coordinator what resources are available.

Yes. Google indexes MINDS@UW regularly, and MINDS@UW contents are included in Google Scholar as well.

If a collection in MINDS@UW is closed or the item is restricted, it is likely because of  copyright reasons. If you would like to request a restricted item, we ask that you contact your institution’s library and have them make a request to our Interlibrary Loan Department. If you do not have a library to make the request through, you can also use Wisconsin Tech Search. .

MINDS@UW Organization

A community is a group of people, such as a campus, department, or research unit. Communities may contain sub-communities and collections.

A collection is a group of content items. Decisions about deposit rights and workflows happen on this level.

The MINDS@UW coordinator can provide initial training (as well as consultation later on) in getting your community off the ground. This instruction will help your community to establish its workflow and to learn about the MINDS@UW interface. The process of putting items into MINDS@UW is relatively intuitive and does not require knowledge of any specialized software.


MINDS@UW was created to collect and disseminate scholarly material created at the University of Wisconsin. It was envisioned as a means to preserve scholarly output and disseminate material not supported by traditional print media publication.

The Libraries, in partnership with DoIT, are responsible for maintaining MINDS@UW’s hardware, software, and interface.