Montana State University - Home Montana State University Library - Home Ask the Library

Publication and Data Services

Scholarly Communication

Scholarly Communication is the process where academics share their ideas and research with their peers. This often includes mediums such as journal articles, books, book chapters, theses, and dissertations. Increasingly, informal communications like blogs, twitter and other media are considered part of the system of scholarly communication. The library can help you decipher the terms and rights involved with various publishing agreements, offer advice about professional networking and personal unique identifiers like ResearcherID or ORCiD, and help authors increase the impact of an article or publication. 

Intellectual Property


Copyright is a legal term that refers to the rights, granted in the U.S. Copyright Act, given to an author to protect their writing.

  • Copyright applies to text, sound, images, moving images, and graphic art.
  • The owner of a copyright has the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, perform, display, license, and to prepare derivative works based on the copyrighted work.

Fair Use

In academia, much reuse of work is based on the principle of fair use. Fair use allows limited use of copyrighted material without obtaining permission from the copyright owner. There are few concrete rules for fair use. Instead, four factors are considered:

  • The purpose and character of your use
  • The nature of the copyrighted work
  • The amount and substantiality of the portion taken
  • The effect of the use upon the potential market


Although we do not offer legal advice, the library can help you navigate copyright, your rights, and your ability to reuse work.

For more information on copyright, visit
For patent questions, contact the Technology Transfer Office.


ScholarWorks is an open access institutional repository for the capture of the intellectual work of Montana State University. ScholarWorks is a central point of discovery for accessing, collecting, sharing, preserving, and distributing knowledge to the MSU community and the world.

Why contribute to ScholarWorks?

  • Increased access and visibility. More people find, download and read the publications and data in an open access repository. This facilitates our land grant mission by allowing all Montanans access to the research produced at MSU.
  • A single place to find MSU research. ScholarWorks showcases MSU’s research activities, providing global access to our scholarship. ScholarWorks also allows faculty and students to link to all their publications and data in a single, stable place.
  • Preservation. ScholarWorks runs regular backups and checks to ensure file integrity. We are committed to preserving files indefinitely in the repository.
  • Increased citations. Once a paper is posted to an open access repository, research shows that it will be downloaded more, which leads to more citations. This promotes knowledge exchange and and author reputation.

How can I contribute to ScholarWorks?

Authors may send CVs to Leila Sterman, Scholarly Communication Librarian, so that we may assess the copyright of papers for submission into ScholarWorks.

Open Access at the Montana State University Library

Open Access

The library faculty at Montana State University (MSU) define Open Access as the availability of scholarly literature and research documentation that is free of payment and access restrictions. An Open Access item is one that is published with permissions that grant free and perpetual access to distribute, transmit and display, make derivative works with proper attribution, and make small numbers of copies for personal use.  This includes publication and deposit of a version of the item (the publisher’s version, preprint or postprint) in an Open Access digital repository in a timely manner

Statement of Support for Scholarly Literature

The library faculty commit to publishing our scholarly work as Open Access when possible for the benefit of the library, MSU, and the library and information science community. We will educate ourselves and the community about the benefit and nuance of Open Access with the aim of increasing the impact of MSU research .

Statement of Support for Data and Research Documentation

Data have been defined as, “the datasets used to reach the conclusions drawn in the manuscript with related metadata and methods, and any additional data required to replicate the reported study findings in their entirety” (PLOS Open Data Policy).

The library faculty support publishing Open Data. We will educate ourselves and the MSU community about best practices in order to broaden the impact and use of our research to students, community members and the global LIS community, and to preserve the data that informs our research.

Services and Infrastructure

We will provide training to library faculty, continue to refine our services and databases, assist with data storage, and continue to develop our infrastructure to facilitate open access at the MSU Library.

Our motivation

We look forward to a campus policy that will be championed and adopted by MSU faculty while placing no limits on academic freedom.

Data Management

Data Management Services help you create and implement a data management strategy. When your research data is ready to be archived, we’ll help deposit your data in ScholarWorks or another repository, in order to support discovery, access, and long-term preservation.

Why Manage Data?

  • Comply with federal mandates. Many funding agencies require that grant proposals include a plan for how research data will be managed and shared. As of February 2013, non-classified data produced with federal funds must be made public within twelve months of an article’s publication.
  • Facilitate reuse. Sharing data facilitates scientific discourse and discovery. Archived Hubble telescope data is a great example -- astronomers have used this data to make new discoveries without spending time and money on new observations (read more from The Astrophysical Journal: HST/NICMOS Detection of HR 8799 b in 1998).
  • Make your data meaningful. Planning ahead, organizing, and documenting your data makes your data comprehensible to you and your team during the research process, and allows others to understand the data once it’s been publicly archived.
  • Increase the impact of your research. Studies have shown that open data can lead to increased citations of associated articles (Sharing Detailed Research Data Is Associated with Increased Citation Rate and Data Reuse and the Open Data Citation Advantage).

Consult with the Data Management Librarian!

  • Data management plans to accompany grant proposals.
  • Funding agency requirements. We can help you make sure you’ve covered all of your bases. Using the DMP Tool is also a good way to make sure you’ve covered each requirement.
  • Metadata and readmes for your data sets.
  • Data repositories and archiving.
  • Data ownership and licensing. In most cases, data collected while affiliated with MSU belongs to the researcher. The Office of Technology Transfer can also provide more information and specific MSU policies.

Tools and Templates

  • Boilerplate language to use in your data management plan
  • DMP Tool walks you through writing data management plans according to specific funder requirements. The tool can be applied across disciplines, including humanities, social sciences, physical sciences, and medical sciences.
  • NSF Data Management Plan template (simplified)
  • Globus is a free service for FTP transfer, cloud storage, and computational tools. MSU offers a Globus Endpoint that allows researchers to transfer files between almost any machine. For more information, contact Research Cyberinfrastructure.

Campus resources

Author Fund

Apply for Funding

Open Access Author Fund at MSU [pilot project]

Open access (OA) is the ability to download and freely read scholarly works. OA removes barriers between readers and information. At Montana State University, our goal is to remove those barriers to access so that anyone in the world may read and benefit from the research conducted here in Montana. Publishing articles and books has associated costs, even if the publication is purely digital. Journals spend money reviewing, copy editing, and formatting articles, publishing them in print or online, and promoting them. To pay for this work, many journals ask that the author pay a charge (commonly referred to as an Article Processing Charge or APC). This fee often becomes a barrier between an author and open access publishing.

The Open Access Author Fund

The MSU Library will run an author’s fund on a two year pilot to judge if we can help remove the barrier between MSU authors and open access publishing. The Library will contribute $50,000 to the fund to be dispersed to authors who are being charged an APC. Authors will receive no more than $2,000 per fiscal year on a rolling basis.


  • To allow MSU created research to reach the greatest number of potential readers.
  • To remove some of the burden on authors as they work to make an impact in their field of expertise. 


The Application Process

Eligible Publications and Data repositories

The publication venue must be an established journal or data repository, either, one that does not charge readers or their institutions for access to peer-reviewed articles or datasets, or an established hybrid journal.

Journals or Data repositories should fit at least one of the following criteria:

  • Be listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (unless the journal is too new for DOAJ eligibility) or similar list of data repositories, OR
  • Be a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association or adhere to its Code of Conduct, OR
  • Be a publicly available data repository, OR
  • Have a publicly available standard fee schedule.

Eligible Articles and Data 

Articles/data should:

  • Be a peer-reviewed article submitted to an open access/hybrid journal or the associated data.
  • Have Publication Status of 'accepted-for-publication', funds are not available for articles still in process.
  • Not have been published prior to the authors' request for funds. Already-published articles are ineligible.
  • The library will not reimburse any author fees that have already been paid by an author.

Articles will be considered only if there is no other source of funding available. The fund is a limited resource intended to support open access publishing across the University. We expect researchers to request funding for open access publication from their funding agency if they can do so. For example, the National Institutes of Health will fund open access publications as part of their research grants. If such funds are not available, we welcome your application.

Eligible Authors

Funds are available for faculty, staff, professional and research positions, and students at MSU - Bozeman.

Eligible Fees

Article processing fees may include publication fees (charges levied on articles accepted for publication, including Open Access page charges). Eligible fees must be based on a publication’s standard fee schedule that is independent of the author’s institution. Reprint fees are not eligible. Reimbursement will cover only direct costs for open access publication (not the cost of reprints, color illustration fees, non-open access page charges, etc.). Requests for funding will be reviewed by the Library’s Scholarly Communication Steering Group and a decision for funding support will be communicated to the author.

Fund Limits

The fund for FY15 is $50,000. Each author is limited to $2,000 per FY. Unused fund amounts do not roll over to future years. If the demand for funds exceeds expectations, publication charges will be paid to the publisher on behalf of an author on a first-come, first-served basis.

Institutional Repository

As an added service, the library will deposit a copy of funded articles in the institutional repository, and willingness to deposit here is a requirement of receiving funding. The placement of an article in the repository helps to build the collection of publications, supports the self-archiving arm of the open access movement, and provides institutional preservation and discoverability.

How do I apply?

Apply for Funding

Contact  |  Help  |  Give