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About the Digital Conservancy

The Digital Conservancy is:

  • a venue for faculty to deposit copies of their works for long-term preservation and open access
  • a venue for certain categories of student works, such as dissertations, Master's Plan A and professional papers, honors theses, capstone papers, and UROP projects.
  • centralized, searchable access to institutional digital resources that would have traditionally gone to the University Archives.


There are some big benefits that come with including your works in the Digital Conservancy. The Digital Conservancy provides:

Features: Benefits:
free/open access
  • your digital works will be made available to the widest possible audience, free via the web
  • for more on the benefits of open access, see: SPARC
  • you specify the terms of use for your own works
  • for tools to manage the use of your works, see: Creative Commons
increased visibility
  • content in institutional repositories like the Digital Conservancy receive higher ranking in Google and Google Scholar search results increasing your works' exposure
  • studies show journal articles available in an inst rep have higher impact (are cited more frequently) than those only available through the publisher
compliance and accountability
  • sharing your works through the Digital Conservancy can satisfy requirements for open access to publicly-funded research
  • sharing your data through the UDC can satisfy data management planning required by NSF or other funding agencies
full text searching
  • search across the full text of your works using Google, Google Scholar, or the Digital Conservancy search box
long-term access/preservation
  • a permanent url for each of your works guarantee no more broken links
  • Digital Conservancy strategies ensure that your works will remain accessible and usable over time

However, there are some important issues you may need to consider before sharing your work. We hope that, after considering all the issues, you will share your work in the Digital Conservancy.

Issues to Consider: Steps to Sharing:

sensitive data

Works in the Digital Conservancy are accessible to anyone with an internet connection, worldwide - but some sensitive or private information should not be.

  • You may need to obscure or anonymize private information about identifiable individuals, or data such as social security, health, or education records that are protected under specific privacy laws, before you upload your work to the Digital Conservancy.
  • You may also have some legal and ethical obligations to remove or obscure information - or even references to information - that you obtained after signing a non-disclosure agreement.
  • In some cases information may be so sensitive that public sharing will simply not be a good option for your work, even with the information obscured. It may become possible to share your work at some time in the future.
  • While we are happy to work with you to help you understand and manage issues around sensitive or private data and information, ultimately you are responsible for meeting all relevant legal and ethical obligations.

potentially patentable inventions

If information about a patentable invention is shared publicly before the inventor applies for a patent, the patent may be denied.

  • If you are not the primary investigator or inventor, and your work discloses information about new discoveries, technologies, or inventions, please ensure you have the permission of the primary investigator or inventor before uploading to the Digital Conservancy. You may find that they prefer you wait to share your work publicly.
  • If you are the inventor, please be sure that you have taken all necessary steps relating to your patent applications before sharing your work. The Office of Technology Commercialization can help you determine what you may need to do with regard to securing a patent.

commercial publication

Some commercial publishers prefer not to publish works that are already available in full online.

  • If you intend to commercially publish your work, you may find fewer opportunities to do so if you share it via the Digital Conservancy before speaking with publishers. However, if you expect you'll make significant revisions or edits to the work before commercial publication (as with revising a dissertation) this is often less of a concern


Co-authors, supervisors, and advisors may have interests in your works.

  • If your work was authored jointly with other collaborators, you must obtain permission from all authors before uploading the work to the Digital Conservancy. It is good practice to make sure that all interested parties agree on sharing publicly via the Digital Conservancy.
  • If your work was produced under the supervision of someone else or if there are other interested parties, you should consult with your supervisor or advisor or administrator before uploading. In such a case, it may be that you are not actually authorized to sign the Deposit Agreement, or there may be other considerations of which you are unaware.

Please contact the Digital Conservancy at udc@umn.edu if you have further questions.


Go to the UDC home page