What types of work will I find in TopSCHOLAR®

TopSCHOLAR® is the institutional repository of WKU, dedicated to scholarly research, creative activity and other full-text learning resources that merit enduring and archival value and access through a centralized database that supports the intellectual life of the University and provides easy searching and retrieval.

Some examples, by no means comprehensive, are journal articles, conference proceedings, symposia, presentations, theses, data sets, learning modules, working papers, creative works (poems, art, drama), essays, monographs, technical papers, occasional papers. Whatever the individual within a community (discipline) wants to preserve and showcase to the world can be considered for TopSCHOLAR®. There are no predefined parameters for content. With each discipline having different expectations and requirements for intellectual achievement and outreach, TopSCHOLAR® will provide author-supplied broad-based content that promotes a common opportunity for presenting internally and globally what is being accomplished at WKU.

Materials with a short life cycle (such as syllabi) are typically not added to TopSCHOLAR®. Content can be reassessed if a community deems such short-term materials worthwhile for that discipline and of lasting value to others. In general bibliographic citations or abstracts alone, without the referenced paper, are not posted.

For articles being submitted to a journal hosted by TopSCHOLAR®, please consult with the specific journal editors for manuscript guidelines and article submission status.

Who can contribute?

Any WKU faculty, staff, or student with faculty-sponsored research with full-text content can have documents posted on TopSCHOLAR®. If no community represents your discipline yet, site administrators will, in consultation with departments/units, establish the community and an appropriate series. Communities are generally structured along the lines of the various disciplines or organizational hierarchies. Faculty, departments, centers, and administrative units are encouraged to populate TopSCHOLAR® and to select, submit, and publish works of enduring value that merit permanent access, contribute to the intellectual capital of WKU, and provide primary research resources for students and faculty worldwide.

How do I submit to TopSCHOLAR®?

You will need to supply the following in at least 2 separate files as e-mail attachments:


For File 1:
  1. Author(s) and/or editor(s) names and email(s) and affiliations [faculty advisors where appropriate for student submissions]
  2. Title (exactly as you want it to appear) and 2-5 keywords that are not included in the title or abstract for better indexing; date of the version submitted
  3. An Abstract separate from the main document (even if one is already included in the manuscript). The format of the abstract needs to be reduced to plain text with no fonts or special characters.*(See additional details at asterisk for special characters and coding)
  4. Any special Comments (acknowledgements, permissions with citations/links to published article, anything that needs to be stated on the web site
For File 2:
  1. The document in MSWord or .rtf (Digital Commons generates a title page and the PDF). If never published before, generally use Times Romans, 12 point. A PowerPoint (.pps or .ppt) can be uploaded but it will not be generated as a PDF; it will remain as a PowerPoint.
  2. Associated (or supplemental) files, such as video, audio, figures, tables, graphs, charts. These are uploaded individually and appear separate from the main document. Please also be sure that there are no permissions issues related to use of the associated material. Sometimes, especially with images, you must write a letter seeking permission to use the material before it can be posted. (Also see Copyright and Permissions section).
  3. Signed author copyright form granting permission to upload and any appropriate publisher permissions. Click here to download the form.


When you have everything ready: email your files as attachments and any explanatory message to , , or . If you'd like to call first to discuss content and ask questions, please contact Connie Foster-270-745-2904, Deana Groves-270-745-6151, or Haiwang Yuan-270-745-5084.

How do I handle special characters and coding?

Please read through any abstract that you copy and paste from a word processing file or PDF file. Look for how single and double quotes appear, usage of special symbols, and incorrect conversion of glyphs from PDF files. For example, "ff", "fl", or "fi" might disappear causing a word like "difficult" to change to "di cult". This is a problem with the conversion from the PDF to the text format when you copy. We recommend the following changes to keep your titles and abstracts legible on the web: Change "smart" or "curly" single and double quotes to straight quotes. Change an ellipsis to three periods (...) Change em- and en-dashes to hyphens. If you would like to use bold and italic in your abstracts, you may do so using the corresponding HTML codes. If submitting an abstract in HTML format, please be sure to select the corresponding option on the submission form. The following HTML tags are recognized by the system and may be used to format an abstract (use lowercase tags):

  • <p>- paragraph
  • <br> - line break
  • <strong> - bold
  • <em> - italic

To include accents and special characters in the abstracts and titles, read the following:
You shouldn't encounter any trouble if your titles and abstracts use only the basic ASCII character set (this includes the numbers 0-9, upper- and lower-case letters A-Z, and standard English punctuation). Characters with diacritical marks (accents or umlauts) are not part of the ASCII character set and therefore need to be handled differently.

Windows Users

The method for Windows users to enter these characters into the submission form involves pressing the Alt key plus a four digit number using the numeric keypad (with Num Lock on).

  • ALT + 0224 = à
  • ALT + 0225 = á
  • ALT + 0232 = è
  • ALT + 0233 = é
  • ALT + 0200 = È
  • ALT + 0242 = ò
  • ALT + 0243 = ó
  • ALT + 0241 = ñ

Macintosh Users

Macintosh users should press the Option key while typing one of the letters below to get the desired character.

To get this: Type this key combination:
circumflex ê Ê Option + i, the letter
umlaut ü Ü Option + u, the letter
cedilla ç Ç Option + c or C
¿ Option + ?
ß Option + s
¡ Option + 1
£ Option + 3
§ Option + 6
º Option + 0 (zero)
oe ligature Option + q

If I don't have electronic versions of old working papers that I'd like to include in the repository, is it okay to scan the printed page to a PDF file?

Scanning printed pages to create the PDF file for a submission is the right solution. There are two ways to scan a page: using OCR (optical character recognition) or scan the page as an image. An OCR scan will give you the text of the paper, but typically requires significant proofreading and reformatting to generate a presentable version of the file. The benefit is that the scanned text may be included in the search index and therefore the article is more likely to be discovered via a full-text search at the site. Files scanned as images essentially produce pictures of each scanned page. The scanned page is visually identical to the printed page, so there isn't any additional proofreading or editing that you need to do. The drawback is that the full text of the document cannot be included in the search index because the PDF file will contain only a picture of the words, and not the words themselves. Also note that scanned files can be quite large if scanned as images. Work with the settings of your scanning software to determine a good balance between the quality of the scanned file and the size of the resulting PDF.

What if I need to change something after I have submitted it?

Digital repositories are designed to archive finished materials. You cannot edit a deposit once it has been assigned a URL and posted to TopSCHOLAR®; however, you can send a revision or new edition for posting in addition to the original version. We encourage stringent proofreading before submissions. Site administrators do not revise, edit, or proofread submissions for accuracy.

What part of my submission is searchable?

The Search box on TopSCHOLAR® home page searches the authors, keywords, title, abstract and full text.

What if my community/discipline is not listed yet?

When you contact the above, the site administrator will discuss options with you and then establish the community and a series if none has been created. This only takes a few quick steps prior to loading your documents.