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Guide to student publishing

Explains why students should publish their academic works in a repository, how to make the most of depositing their works, and where to get started with academic repository publishing.

Get and use identifiers

When you publish you want to make sure that you get credit for the work and not someone else with your name. The best way to do this is to use an ORCID iD.

An ORCID iD is a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher. You own your ORCID iD and can connect your iD to your Stanford record, to other works you author, to conference submissions, and to all the other contributions that you may make throughout your academic career. (Find out loads more about ORCID iDs.)

Having and using an ORCID iD will ensure that you are linked to your contributions even if you change institutions, fields, or even your name.

When you deposit a work into the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR), you'll have the option to include an ORCID iD for each author and contributor listed on the work. The entered ORCID iD is used to automatically fill in the person's name, making it easier for you to fill in the form and get everyone the proper credit.

Register for an ORCID iD -- it's quick!

Like ORCIDs, DOIs are persistent digital identifiers, but DOIs are used for objects and not people. A DOI always points to the location of a specific digital object somewhere on the web. As long as you have the DOI for an object, you can type it into a browser and find that digital object.

DOIs are also the gold standard for publishing (pretty much everything other than books) in the academic world. DOIs are nearly always included when citing works, making it super easy to cite a work, find a cited work, and get credit for that work if you are the author.

Most scholarly and research information systems, search engines, catalogs, and databases track and index DOIs. By getting a DOI for your work, you are making your work more discoverable by many more information systems. That translates to more potential readers of your scholarly content.

When you deposit a work into the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR), you may have the option to get a DOI. We recommend that you do this! To maximize the benefit of getting a DOI, be sure to include your ORCID in the author section when you deposit your work.

Assign a license to your work

As the author of a work, you have the right to assign a license to that work. This may sound complicated, but in a nutshell assigning a license makes it clear to others what they are allowed to do with your content and under what conditions.

You may choose to assign a broad license that allows anyone to do whatever they like with your work -- like a CC0 license -- or you may assign a more narrow license that requires that you be cited when the work is used and that restricts the use of your work to non-commercial activities and prevents the distribution of derivative works, such as a CC-BY-NC-ND license.

More open licenses with fewer restrictions make your work more accessible and allow others to build upon the work that you have done.  

If your work includes material that you are using under a license from another source, like someone else's published work, be sure the license you assign to your work is consistent with the license assigned to that work. For example, you will not be able to assign a CC0 license to your work if it includes material from a source that has a CC-BY license.

Concerned about preserving your ability to publish your work elsewhere or to apply for a patent? Check out our FAQ on Copyright, licenses, and access restrictions. You may also want to check out the SDR service catalog for more information on Undergraduate honors theses and capstones, Masters these and other graduate level capstones, and Electronic theses and dissertations.

When you deposit into the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR), you may have the option to choose a license for your work. We strongly recommend that you choose a license. If you want help understanding the options, visit our page on SDR licenses.

Consider copyright

Managing copyright is an important part of any academic career and as such, every Stanford student who publishes their scholarly work online must consider copyright. In most cases, your work will incorporate previously copyrighted material, such as quoted text from other sources that support your arguments, and you must ensure that your reuse is legal. You’ll also be creating a copyrightable work, and want to consider carefully how you will manage your intellectual property.

When reusing copyrighted material, you must have explicit permission to do so unless the use is considered a Fair Use under Section 107 of US Copyright Law. The term “fair use” means the reuse is permissible without obtaining explicit permission for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research. Using short quotations is generally a fair use, while republishing charts, graphs, photos, art work, cartoons, or whole sections of a publication are more likely to require a license from the copyright owner(s). If the scholarly work itself is criticizing or analyzing the art work, then it may or may not be a fair use. If the art work (chart, etc.) is serving the same purpose it did in the original publication (e.g., you are re-publishing data without commentary), then permission is probably necessary.

When you publish your work through the SDR, it is effectively copyrighted automatically. With your name and the date of publication associated with the work, copyright is established; there is no need to register your copyright. 

For more information, see the Libraries’ Copyright Reminder site, where you will find information on how to seek permission and other recommended practices. For more information on fair use, see

Get the word out

Once you've published your work, tell people about it! Posting about your project, paper, or thesis on social media will raise the visibility of your research, which can help you build a collaborative network with others who have similar interests, get your work cited, and could even help you get a job.

Using social media to promote your research