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Graduate Research Project Submission Instructions

A guide with step-by-step instructions on submitting your work for deposit in Sophia.

New Submission Process for Graduate Research Projects

The St. Kate's Library is moving graduate research projects from Sophia, the institutional repository, into the Library’s Digital Collections for more streamlined access. In the interim, projects will be stored in Box and will not be publicly accessible until they can be uploaded into the new system.

Please review the information in this guide for pre-submission tasks, and instructions for submitting your final graduate research work.

If you have questions about the submission process, or your rights and responsibilities as an author, please contact a librarian at

Things to Do Before You Submit Your Work

The following items need to be completed before you submit your project; some may have been done as part of your department's requirements. Each member of a group or collaborative research project must individually submit their work/agreement form via the Google form at the bottom of the page.

  • Clearly identify and acknowledge the use of third-party owned material in your work (see box below). 
  • Determine the keywords that describe your project (see box below).
  • If your program/department does not require an abstract in your work, create one for your submission (see box below).
  • Make a decision about immediate or delayed access for your project. (see box below).
  • There is a new standardized submission agreement form for all graduate research projects. Outdated departmental forms will not be accepted. Complete the form, and have your advisor or program director sign off on the form as well. (If you didn't receive a form, it is linked below). Please review the submission agreement so that you understand the terms of the agreement. Use the fillable PDF form or save the Word doc as a PDF.
  • Save your final research project as a PDF, and name the files to be submitted as follows:
         Year of Work_DepartmentName_YourLastNameFirstInitial_Paper
         Year of Work_DepartmentName_YourLastNameFirstInitial_Submission
          Examples: 2024_MAHS_GrayS_Paper; 2024_MAHS_GrayS_Submission
  • Any additional or supplemental files should be saved as PDFs (except for media files; see box below for accepted file formats).

Details on the Preparatory Tasks

You are responsible for securing all necessary permissions and paying any permission fees in advance of using copyrighted materials (anything that exceeds fair use) in your work. A copy of the written permission you receive should be placed in the appendix of your research project or submitted as an additional PDF. This is a new recommendation for all graduate research projects from the University's legal counsel.

For a deep dive into this issue, review the article below.


Keywords are words or short phrases that describe your work. They enhance the indexing and retrieval of your work.

  • Keywords should represent the content of your research project, and be specific to your discipline.
  • You may include up to 6 keywords (separated by commas).
  • If you have questions about selecting keywords, contact your subject librarian.

Tips for Selecting the Best Keywords:

  • To increase your research project's discoverability, avoid using terms already present in your work's title.
  • Use geographical locations or scientific names not mentioned in your title or abstract.
  • Avoid variations on the same word such as "competency" "competence."
  • Don't use compound phrases such as "quality measures and child care."


An abstract is a brief summary of your work, usually about 250 words. It is included in the public record of your research project, and it helps other researchers discover your work.

If your work does not contain an abstract, please create one for your submission. Submit it as an additional PDF or add it to your research project. Consult your citation style's manual or website for specific guidance. If your document is a file type not well suited for a traditional abstract (e.g., an image or media file), provide a description of the document, including the file type.

As part of the submission process, you must decide whether to provide immediate or delayed access (embargo) to your work.

What is an embargo?

An embargo withholds the content of your work from being available for a specified amount of time. This means that the citation and abstract for your work is available and discoverable through LibSearch and any search engine, the work itself is not available for viewing or download. 

If you select to delay access to your work:

  • choose a one-year or two-year embargo period (there is no extension of an embargo beyond two years ).
  • provide a clear rationale that explains why the embargo is necessary.
  • group authors must select the same time period for the embargo.

To Embargo or Not to Embargo...

The decision to delay access to your work is a personal one, depending on your plans for publication and/or employment. In many situations, publishing in a journal does not prevent you from making your thesis or research project available in an institutional repository. Your work will go through substantial revision and editing before it is published as an article.

Considerations for choosing not to embargo:

  • Greater visibility and impact of your research through worldwide dissemination of your work.
  • Open access to your work for communities of practice who may not have access to journal subscriptions.
  • Providing examples of research work for the students that are following you in your program.

Considerations for choosing an embargo:

  • You are submitting your work to a publisher that prohibits content that has been deposited in an institutional repository or considers work published in an institutional repository as "prior publication."
  • Your work has sensitive or classified information.
  • You are seeking a patent for your work.

What you need to do:

  • Discuss with your advisor (and your subject librarian) if an embargo is appropriate.
  • If you have no plans to publish, there is little reason to embargo your work. We encourage you to make your research project immediately accessible.
  • If you are planning to publish based upon your research project, we encourage you to check publishers' policies by reviewing their submission guidelines and/or author rights on their websites. Search the Sherpa Romeo (or Sherpa Services) website for publisher policies.
  • We also encourage you to contact your publisher, or potential publishers, to inquire about their policies regarding institutional repositories. Many publishers allow authors to self-archive pre-print (the original version of a manuscript before it has gone through the peer review process) in institutional repositories, or they may make an exception if you request it. Publishers today are quite used to working with researchers on this type of request, and we have seen St. Kate's graduate students successfully negotiate this issue.

If I chose to embargo my work, when will it be made available for viewing and download?

The work in its entirety will be made available for worldwide access after the end of the embargo period. While your work is under embargo, a message will appear on your project's information page informing users that the document will be available for download after the embargo expiration date. Embargoes begin on the date of submission, and end on the 1- or 2-year anniversary of that date. There are no extensions of embargoes beyond two years.

Your media file(s) must be saved in one of the following formats.

  • Video: 3GP, ASX, AVI, F4V, FLV, MKV, MOV, MP4, MPG/MPEG, WMV
  • Audio: AAC, AC3, AIF/AIFF, FLAC, M4A, MP3, WAV, WMA

Alternatively, you can provide a link to your web or streaming media (e.g., your media is posted on YouTube)


Complete the Google Form to Submit Your Work

Please complete the Google form linked below. You will upload your completed research project PDF, and your completed submission agreement form PDF.

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