UBC Librarian's Guide to Depositing Faculty Publications in cIRcle

This is a user guide to assist UBC Library subject librarians and staff to identify and submit faculty journal articles for discovery and preservation via cIRcle, UBC's digital repository. Typically, the cIRcle office is responsible for submitting content to the repository; this workflow offers a unique opportunity for library staff to receive training to perform this work. Depositing faculty publications in cIRcle provides an opportunity for librarians and library staff to support faculty in Open Access initiatives and requirements (see Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications) while also increasing the visibility of digitally available UBC materials.

The cIRcle repository provides access to a variety of materials including journal articles, book chapters, technical reports, conference proceedings, and more. This work flow will largely focus on journal articles, if you are interested in pursuing preservation for materials other than journal articles, please contact the cIRcle Office at circle.repository[at]ubc.ca for more information. An additional resource that may be of use is the Author's Guide to Self-Archiving. This guide provides quick reference on how to identify and interpret publisher self-archiving policies is available for authors, librarians, and staff. This document is co-owned by the cIRcle and Copyright Offices.

How to Use This Wiki Guide

This user guide introduces a 5 step workflow for depositing faculty publications in cIRcle. Steps 1, 2, and 3 of the process are optional so as to to provide the opportunity to modify and adapt the workflow for various purposes. Steps 4 and 5 of the procedure are required to ensure content is submitted properly. If you would like to discuss potential workflows and criteria, please contact the cIRcle Offfice at circle.repository[at]ubc.ca for a consult.

Step 1: Set Up an Automatic Search Alert

Step 2: Review & Save Content Results

Step 3: Check Copyright Permissions

Step 4: Requesting Author Permissions

Step 5: Submitting Content to cIRcle

Step 1: Set Up an Automatic Search Alert

A search alert is a search string crafted for a specific database that can be used to identify new content suitable for submission to cIRcle. Once saved, an email alert will be sent when new content meeting the search criteria is added to that database. This step will describe how to pick databases, craft a search string, and set up a search alert.

Choose Databases

Select databases relevant to your subject field. We recommend selecting at least two large databases; however, include as many that are necessary to cover the desired field. Consider focusing on journals where UBC faculty have been most published in the last two years and have favourable Open Access self-archiving policies. When comparing possible journals we recommend that librarians and staff consult the Scientific Journal Rankings.

Craft a Search String and Set up Alert

The image below shows an example of how to set up a search alert in a select database. To being, create a search string using the search box in your selected database. When creating the string, consider the following:

Search criteria: All content added to cIRcle must have a UBC author affiliate. To limit your search to UBC authors, use database supplied limiters or the search string "University of British Columbia." To further refine your search, apply an affiliation parameter and/or a proximity operator to the string, if possible. Combining an affiliation with subject specific terms where appropriate is also recommended.

Accuracy & Frequency: It's recommended to revisit these search strings every 3 to 6 months. Having an up-to-date search string can help you evaluate their effectiveness and improve search result content. Most databases also have a “frequency” setting for search alerts. This will set up email alerts for any new results on a query at a specific time. We recommend setting the frequency alerts to once per week. The parameters and operators are often database specific so be sure to investigate how to refine results in your selected database.

Creating Search Alert.png


Tip In some cases you may be able to set up a search alert without creating a login. However, creating an account allows you to modify, delete, or view all of your alerts.

Step 2: Review & Save Content Results

Review content received from searches and search alerts to identify articles to pursue for the repository. This step will describe how to establish review material criteria to use when evaluating potential articles for submission, as well as how to save article citations.

Review Material Criteria

Save the Citation/Metadata

We recommend saving citations for potential articles for submission using a consistent method like an Excel spreadsheet. Elements that we suggest tracking include:

Step 3: Check Copyright Permissions

In most cases, authors have signed the copyright for their articles over to a publisher as a condition of publication. This step will explain how to recognize different types of copyright permissions and how to check the copyright permissions for journals in which identified content is published. Due to increased emphasis on the need for open access to research materials, in particular those created via publicly funded research grants, most publishers have established self-archiving policies that allow authors to deposit a copy of their articles in institutional repositories. Since most authors are not familiar with these policies, your role is to identify and communicate to the author the conditions for deposit to cIRcle. Some aspects of the conditions, such an an embargo, must also be added to the item record metadata in cIRcle. An embargo is a period during which access to academic journals is limited to users who have paid for access or have access via a library subscription. It is important for authors to know that they can add embargoed articles to cIRcle at any time. An article can be stored within the repository with barred access until an embargo period expires, at which time the article will be released and become publically available for use. A key part of the permissions checking step, therefore, is for the library staff member to check for embargo periods and to apply them to the cIRcle item record. The terms citation or acknowledgement may refer to the requirement that an originating journal be cited in a repository record, generally this requirement can be met by including an article citation within the cIRcle record.

Identifying Permitted Self-Archiving Versions

It is also important to consider is the manuscript version of an article. An author may only be authorized to submit certain versions of an article depending on the permissions of a given journal. Therefore, it is necessary to recognize different manuscript version types. Popular terms for version types include:

Ideally, you would prioritize journals that allow archiving of the publisher versions which will be available for download from a database or the journal's website. In this case, the author is only required complete the cIRcle Non-Exclusive Distribution License form to have their content submitted to cIRcle. However, it is more likely that a journal will only permit the archiving of a pre-print and/or post-print version of the article. If this is the case, the post-print is the preferred self-archive version. It is crucial that the appropriate version be acquired from the author with a completed cIRcle Non-Exclusive Distribution License form. Publishers don't use consistent terminology to refer to these version types but it is important that you do (eg. a post-print is also known as the author's accepted manuscript but we use the term post-print to be consistent with applied metadata values in cIRcle). As these version types can look very different, you will need to become adept at identifying the version types and, if needed, following up with the author to ensure you have the right version. In many cases, authors will need clarification from you to understand the differences between the version types For more information refer to our Author's Guide to Self-Archiving.


The main permissions database for checking this information is SHERPA/RoMEO. It is often used as a starting point for identifying self-archiving permissions, but it is strongly recommended that you also consult the publisher's website. This is particularly the case if information listed on the SHERPA/RoMEO result page is older than two years or broad in scope (e.g. embargo periods of 12-36 months). To check permissions, go to the database and type the journal name or ISSN, and click search. Once the specific journal is located in SHERPA/RoMEO, check the table of copyright permissions information. For an example, review this screenshot with the numbered instructions below. The most important information is numbered and highlighted in yellow.

  1. Copyright. This field provides links out to policy and other relevant documents on the publisher website.
  2. Permissions. This area clarifies the publisher's copyright policy at each stage of the manuscript: the pre-print, post-print, and publisher versions. Permission for archiving a particular version is indicated with a red “x” or a green check mark.
  3. General Conditions. This area outlines conditions attached to the archival permission given by the green check mark. The conditions will vary by journal. Terms to look for include “embargo” and “citation.”
  4. Last Updated. This area tells you when the SHERPA/RoMEO journal table was last updated. Please consult the publishers open access policies page if the table hasn't been updated within the last 3 years, two embargo periods are listed, or if the overall information presented seems ambiguous. (For many journals/publishers, this information is listed in the “Copyright” section of the website.) Please note that many publishers use different terminology. Be sure to consult the UBC Library Author's Guide to Self-Archiving for more information on publisher self-archiving policies.
  5. Published by. This area tells you the publisher of the journal. If more information about the embargo or permissions is needed, you can use this link to go directly to the publisher's website.


IMPORTANT! If the journal is not available in SHERPA/RoMEO and the journal does not have a self-archiving policy posted, it is recommended that you contact the journal editor for more information. If you need assistance with this step, please contact the cIRcle Office at circle.repository[at]ubc.ca for more information.

Step 4: Requesting Author Permissions

This step will describe how to determine what to request when contacting authors. Linked below are email templates created by the cIRcle Office for requesting content and permissions from authors. Instructions vary depending on the required self-archiving version type: pre-print, post-print, or publisher version. cIRcle provides a template request for each version type, as well as those articles that do or do not require an embargo period. Be sure to use the template that best suits the content and its self-archiving policies.

Email Templates

Use the template to draft your request message to the author. If you are requesting an embargoed article you will direct the author to complete the cIRcle Non-Exclusive Distribution License Form and email the article directly to you. If you are requesting a non-embargoed article you will direct the author to fill out the cIRcle Item Submission Form. (The form will allow the author to complete the cIRcle License and attach a copy of the content in a single form.) If an author uses the Item Submission Form for an embargoed article, please notify the cIRcle Office immediately circle.repository[at]ubc.ca.

If more than one article is required from the same faculty member, include all requested citations in your email. Recommend that the author copy and paste the article list into a single cIRcle License Form for greater efficiency. If the author sends an unaccepted self-archiving version, you will need to follow up and provide clearer instruction on version types.

cIRcle License Requirements

A single author can complete the form on behalf of all co-authors to permit the article to be made available in the repository. For this reason, we recommend that the signing author notify co-authors that a copy of the paper has been added to the repository by cc'ing a copy of the license and notification email. We also recommend that you ask authors to cc you on the license and notification email to ensure the submission process is properly completed. Please note that an author must complete the form--research assistants or other support staff who are not co-authors do not have signing authority.

Step 5: Submitting Content to cIRcle

Final Review

This step will briefly explain the submission process. Once the Non-Exclusive Distribution Licence form and the correct version of an article is received, review the checklist below. To familiarize yourself with the deposit process please refer to the Uploading a Submission guide. As you become more familiar with the process, you can use the checklist listed below as a shortcut for submission information checks.

The article meets repository Material Criteria (e.g. UBC affiliation, scope, author permissions)
You've received the correct version of the article permitted in the publisher's self-archiving policies
All self-archiving conditions such as embargo period or copyright statements have been identified to create the cIRcle record
You've received a completed cIRcle Non-Exclusive Distribution License Form submitted by at least one of the authors


Once the content is submitted to cIRcle, Technical Services cIRcle Reviewers will be notified by email. Reviewers check for metadata accuracy and completeness. If all is correct, they will approve your submission to be added to cIRcle. If elements are missing or incorrect, they will reject the submission and ask for additional information. You will receive an email notification with a persistent link to the item when your submission has been archived in cIRcle. You may choose to forward this message to the author as is, or to draft your own notification template that includes the persistent link.