This toolkit is for authors who have decided they want to secure their academic legacy by making their collected scholarly publications openly available online, enabling readers anywhere in the world to access these significant pieces of scholarship without charge. 

Note: If you are a UC employee with scholarly articles published since the adoption of the UC open access policies (2013-2015), it will probably be simpler for you to rely on those policies and deposit your recent work directly in the UC publication management system, without needing to go through some of these steps. Older publications can be harder to find or might raise confusing copyright questions, and this guide is especially designed to help navigate these kinds of issues. If you already have publications in eScholarship collected under the auspices of the UC open access policies, this guide will help you add your older publications to those and display them together.

Organizing a lifetime of publications can be a daunting task, and a time consuming one. Some of you might be lucky enough to have resources from your academic departments, such as a student assistant. For others, the work will need to be done yourself, as a labor of love requiring patience, persistence, and, sometimes, a good sense of humor.

Perhaps you have a publication list that spans decades, containing publications of different types and from a variety of publishers, and you’re not sure where to start. The steps outlined in this guide will help you collect digital copies of your works and, ultimately, post them in eScholarship, UC’s open access repository and publishing platform. Here’s an example of how you might share your collected work in eScholarship. Even if you don’t ultimately create a complete collection, each individual publication you upload will be available to readers worldwide and will start accumulating usage statistics as soon as you submit it.

How long will this project take? It depends on a number of factors, including: how many publications you want to post; how hard it is to find copies of those publications; and how long it takes for publishers to respond to your permission requests. In this toolkit, we have broken the process down into step-by-step instructions that we hope will make the work more approachable. We encourage you to work in batches, to keep things manageable.

How to use this toolkit

You don’t have to move through the whole guide from start to finish with your entire publication list. In fact, we encourage you to iterate instead: skim the whole guide, but start with a manageable batch of publications, get them organized, figure out permissions, and post them. Then start another batch. You can also preview the parts of the guide that you’re most interested in. Are you especially curious about copyright? Read Part 3, “Figuring out contracts and copyrights.”  Are you having trouble imagining how to keep track of such a large project? Check out Part 2, “Collecting your files.”

Contents summary

Part 1, Creating your list, involves creating a comprehensive list of the publications you’d like to post, in a format that facilitates tracking the progress of your project. We recommend a spreadsheet, and walk you through the process of creating one using Google Scholar. We also suggest some alternative approaches if Google Scholar doesn’t work for you.

Part 2, Collecting your files, explains the different versions of your work that you may want to use, along with the benefits and limitations of each. It then discusses strategies for organizing these files and for tracking down hard to find publications.

Part 3, Figuring out contracts and copyrights, discusses what rights you may already have through copyright law or contracts you’ve signed in the past. Then it walks you through the process of identifying who owns the copyright in your work (if not you), sending the owner a copyright permission request (using a template we provide), and tracking the results. It also talks about what to do if you can’t figure out who owns the rights.

Part 4, Putting publications online, covers efficiently posting work to eScholarship, the University of California’s institutional repository and publishing program. We automate the process as much as possible by using a BibTeX file (that we help you create from the list you curated in Part 1) and the UC Publication Management system.

Part 5, Wrapping up and related issues, talks about how to showcase your publications. It also asks you to consider whether some of your files not covered by this guide might be appropriate for your university archives.

NOTE: This is a new resource, and we are actively seeking feedback on how to improve it. If you have comments or suggestions, please contact us at If you use this toolkit to put your own work online, we’d love to see the results so that we can collect examples to highlight here.