VTechWorks Policies

General Content Policies

Content in VTechWorks must as a rule meet the following criteria, although exceptions can be granted. Write vtechworks@vt.edu to discuss exceptions.

  • The work is produced, submitted, or sponsored by Virginia Tech faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, or students.

  • The work is related to education, research, service, or extension activities, or the work has historical value to the Virginia Tech community.

  • The author/owner must be willing and able to grant Virginia Tech the non-exclusive right to preserve and provide online access to the work.

  • The complete text, image, audio, or video of the work is stored in VTechWorks, even if the file is not publicly available. VTechWorks is a content repository and does not accept metadata-only records, abstract-only files, or links to items hosted elsewhere.

  • The work is appropriate for inclusion in the Collection to which it is submitted.

  • The work exists in a recommended file format that will facilitate long-term access and preservation, although any digital format will be accepted.

  • If the work is part of a series, other works in the series should also be deposited so that VTechWorks can offer as full a set as possible.

  • The work is static content, not a live data stream. It is not possible to execute files or run software through VTechWorks.

Types of Content Allowed

In general, content in VTechWorks is meant to capture the intellectual output of Virginia Tech in all its variety. Types of content in VTechWorks include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Journal articles, pre-prints, and post-prints, i.e., versions of scholarly and peer-reviewed articles accepted for publication

  • Books, including scholarly monographs and textbooks

  • Theses, dissertations, and other student works

  • Technical reports and white papers

  • Presentations, including lecture notes, slides, and videos of scholarly talks

  • Posters, e.g., digital files of posters that were presented at conferences or symposia

  • Conference proceedings, especially symposia hosted or sponsored by Virginia Tech

  • Extension materials, e.g., content created by Virginia Cooperative Extension

  • Learning objects, e.g., modules, syllabi, lecture videos, etc., especially when deposited for preservation purposes

  • Creative endeavors including media, art, and music

  • Performances, e.g., audio or video recordings of recitals, dramatic readings, and the like

  • Patents and other intellectual property documents

  • Administrative documents, including policies, rulings, official statements, strategic and operational plans, annual reports, newsletters, and other materials generated by colleges and departments that document the history of Virginia Tech

  • News articles and press releases produced by University Relations or other Virginia Tech news outlets

  • Data that supports a particular thesis, dissertation, report, article, or book may be deposited in VTechWorks along with that piece of writing as part of a single item record with multiple files. Independent data sets should be deposited in the Virginia Tech Data Repository.

Types of Content Not Allowed

Content that is generally not appropriate for VTechWorks includes the following:

  • Primary sources such as historical images (unless related to the history of Virginia Tech).

  • Data sets that are published independently for reuse by other researchers as a separate publication; such data may be deposited in the Virginia Tech Data Repository. However, data that supports a particular thesis, dissertation, report, article, or book may be deposited in VTechWorks along with that piece of writing as part of a single item record with multiple files.

  • Material not produced by a member of the Virginia Tech community, with some exceptions, such as conferences and the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations, which contains theses and dissertations produced at institutions around the world which have no digital repository of their own.

  • Content that contains sensitive, confidential, or personally identifiable information (PII). Such information includes, but is not limited to, names of research participants, birthdates, addresses, social security numbers, and the like. Depositors must ensure that all content submitted to VTechWorks is fully anonymized or scrubbed of sensitive, confidential, or personally identifiable information prior to deposit.

  • Abstract or citation-only records. VTechWorks is a full-text repository whose purpose is to expand open access to scholarship. Although VTechWorks contains some legacy abstract or citation-only items, VTechWorks will now only accept content in its entirety (e.g., full-text articles, full-text books or book chapters, complete presentations).

  • Content whose text is not searchable or machine-readable. For textual content to be discovered through VTechWorks, as well as through search engines such as Google and Google Scholar, it must have undergone optical character recognition (OCR), which is the transformation of images of text into machine-readable text.

  • Works that the depositor does not have the legal right to deposit.

File Size Policies

VTechWorks does not currently place restrictions on file size or the number of files that can be deposited. However, VTechWorks reserves the right to refuse to ingest materials whose volume would present a strain on its resources. In many cases, grant- or department-funded projects provide a budget for storage, preservation and access.

Copyright, Delegates, and Licensing

  • It is the responsibility of the depositor to ensure that s/he has the legal right to deposit a work in VTechWorks under the terms of U.S. copyright law and under the terms of any existing contracts related to the work. In general, though there may be exceptions, authors of a work automatically own copyright in that work once it exists in a fixed form, but as a condition of publication many journals, publishers, and conference proceedings make contractual restrictions on which version of a published work can be deposited in an institutional repository such as VTechWorks. Authors should therefore not assume that they have the right to deposit their own published work in VTechWorks. See the Help page for help with deposit rights.

  • Virginia Tech faculty and students own copyright in the works they have created as described in Virginia Tech's Policy 13000 (PDF). According to this policy, for “the traditional results of academic scholarship, i.e., textbooks, literary works, artistic creations and artifacts” -- that is, the kinds of works most commonly deposited in VTechWorks -- “the IP rights remain with the author(s)” and is not claimed by Virginia Tech. However, if VT authors transfer or relinquish their copyrights to third parties, VT authors might no longer have the right to deposit their own published works in VTechWorks. For scholarly articles, an open access policy was approved in March 2021 that enables Virginia Tech researchers to deposit the accepted version of their article.

  • In general, for a work with multiple authors, every author owns the copyright to the entire work and therefore may deposit the work in VTechWorks without needing to ask permission of the work’s other authors.

  • Virginia Tech itself owns the copyright in most administrative documents produced by Virginia Tech staff in the normal course of their duties (e.g., reports, policies, news releases); the individual staff member does not usually own the copyright to such material. Such material may be deposited in VTechWorks by any member of the Virginia Tech community.

  • Authors may ask others to deposit works in VTechWorks on their behalf, and these depositors shall be considered delegates (proxies) for the author. VTechWorks staff and Virginia Tech librarians are de facto delegates for any and all members of the Virginia Tech community.

  • Delegates who deposit content on behalf of authors should make every effort to determine whether the work can legally be deposited in VTechWorks.

  • All depositors must agree to the non-exclusive distribution license given below before VTechWorks will host their works. This license grants Virginia Tech the right to host the work without affecting the author’s right to host the work elsewhere.

  • For information about Creative Commons licenses and the public domain, see our Help page.

  • All these and other policies apply to content directly deposited to VTechWorks, to content ingested into VTechWorks via other systems, and to content automatically harvested from other content providers.

  • For more information about copyright and fair use, please visit the United States Copyright Office’s website at http://www.copyright.gov.

VTechWorks Distribution License

In order for VTechWorks to reproduce, translate, and distribute your submission worldwide, you must agree to the following terms.


By signing and submitting this license, you (the author(s) or copyright owner) grant to Virginia Tech's University Libraries (VTUL) permission to store and provide access to your submission (including the abstract).

You agree that VTUL may, without changing the content, translate the submission to any medium or format for the purpose of preservation.

You also agree that VTUL may keep more than one copy of this submission for purposes of security, backup and preservation.

You represent that the submission is your original work, and that you have the right to grant the rights contained in this license. You also represent that your submission does not, to the best of your knowledge, infringe upon anyone's copyright.

If the submission contains material for which you do not hold copyright, you represent that you have obtained the unrestricted permission of the copyright owner to grant VTUL the rights required by this license, and that such third-party owned material is clearly identified and acknowledged within the text or content of the submission.

If the submission is based upon work that has been sponsored or supported by an agency or organization other than Virginia Tech, you represent that you have fulfilled any right of review or other obligations required by such contract or agreement.

VTUL will clearly identify your name(s) as the author(s) or owner(s) of the submission, and will not make any alteration, other than as allowed by this license, to your submission.

Permissions to Reproduce a Likeness

VTechWorks contains images and video recordings of Virginia Tech presentations and events. The following policies govern reproduction of a person’s likeness.

  • Virginia Tech faculty, staff, and students automatically agree to let Virginia Tech capture their likenesses under their agreements with the university upon employment and matriculation. Therefore, permission to film members of the Virginia Tech community is not required at university-related events, although such permission can be requested as a courtesy.

  • For events including non-Virginia Tech individuals, release forms signed by any speaker who features prominently on the recording must be deposited with the recording itself. Any such recording unaccompanied by a release form will be withdrawn from VTechWorks.

  • For non-Virginia Tech individuals who are minors, a completed media release form must be on file before any medium is created. The minor’s parent or legal guardian must sign the media release form along with the minor.

Removal or Amendment of Content

Amending Material You Have Deposited

If you would like to make a change to an item you yourself have deposited via the VTechWorks interface, you can do so yourself if you have sufficient privileges for the item's collection (i.e., if you are an "administrator" or "approver" for that collection). We recommend, however, that you add an erratum note or create a new version of the file instead of deleting the original file; this will ensure that any links to your original file do not break and that all versions of all files are preserved. File names should never be changed after files are uploaded to VTechWorks, as this will change the URL to that file.

If you are unable to make a change to an item you have deposited to VTechWorks, please contact us at vtechworks@vt.edu. This includes items deposited in VTechWorks via the Elements (EFARs) system, which must be removed or changed by VTechWorks staff.

Requesting that Material be Amended or Removed

VTechWorks staff try to ensure that all material in the repository can legally and ethically be published fully and freely online. If you believe that material in VTechWorks is legally or ethically problematic, please let us know.

Requests for removal of material in VTechWorks should be made in writing, either by emailing vtechworks@vt.edu or by sending a letter to


University Libraries, Virginia Tech (0434)

560 Drillfield Dr.

Blacksburg, VA 24061

Your request must contain at least the following information:

  • your own name and contact information;

  • the nature of your complaint (copyright infringement, breach of privacy, research misconduct, defamation, or other);

  • the title and author(s) of the item(s) you wish to have removed; and

  • the URL(s) of the item(s) you wish to have removed.

Upon receiving a request for removal (a "takedown request"), we will promptly acknowledge receipt by email or letter and will make an initial assessment of the validity of the complaint. This initial assessment will verify that VTechWorks does indeed hold a copy of the material in question and will establish who owns it and who deposited it. If the complaint involves copyright, we might ask you at this stage to furnish proof that you are the copyright holder of the work in question or are the copyright holder's designated representative.

If after the initial assessment the complaint is deemed reasonably likely to be valid, we will remove the item temporarily pending resolution of the case. We will then contact the depositor and/or owner of the content to notify them of the complaint and will work with all parties to bring the case to a conclusion. Each case will be analyzed and judged individually. Where necessary, cases will be escalated to Virginia Tech's University Legal Counsel, but we will strive to reach a mutually agreed-upon solution first. Library staff will make a decision concerning the action to be taken within thirty days, and will notify both the complainant and depositor. Actions taken might include

  • the material remains public in the repository in its original state;

  • the material is amended in consultation with the author and/or rights holder, and the amended version replaces the original version in the repository;

  • the material remains in the repository unchanged, but access to the material is restricted to Virginia Tech or withheld for a certain period of time (embargoed);

  • the material is removed from the repository, but the descriptive metadata record(s) for the material remains;

  • the material and all metadata records(s) are both deleted from the repository.

Withholding and Amending Theses and Dissertations

Theses and dissertations in VTechWorks have been approved for deposit by the Graduate School and cannot be changed, withdrawn, or embargoed after deposit without the approval of the dean. Email grads@vt.edu to request any change to your own thesis or dissertation. Please note that by Graduate School policy, Virginia Tech theses and dissertations are typically withheld from public view at the request of the student for only a single year at a time; if you were a graduate student at Virginia Tech who graduated more than one year ago and would like to request that your thesis or dissertation be withheld for an additional year, you will need to obtain permission for this extension from the graduate school by emailing grads@vt.edu. Once you have received this permission, you may forward or copy it to us at vtechworks@vt.edu, and we will withhold your thesis or dissertation for an additional year.

Restricted and Embargoed Content

Embargoed / Withheld Content (theses and dissertations)

Graduate students who submit their thesis or dissertation through the Graduate School's system have three options for controlling the availability of their work:

  1. Provide open and immediate access,

  2. Restrict access to Virginia Tech only for a period of 1 year, or

  3. Withhold all access for 1 year.

Basic information about works that are restricted to Virginia Tech is viewable by the entire world (title, author, abstract, etc.); those who wish to access the full content can submit a request form. Upon receiving such a request, library staff will attempt to contact the author in order to obtain permission to release the work publicly or to the requester alone. No information at all is available for withheld works, but after a period of one year the content will be released in full. Authors who wish to extend the embargo (withheld) period must obtain the permission of the dean by writing grads@vt.edu as described above.

Creative works submitted in fulfillment of the MFA degree in Creative Writing are automatically withheld for a period of five years and are thereafter permanently restricted to Virginia Tech access only unless and until the author of the MFA thesis grants permission to make the work open to the public.

For further information about embargo periods involving Virginia Tech theses and dissertations, please contact the Virginia Tech Graduate School at grads@vt.edu or speak to a representative from your academic department.

Theses and dissertations issued before 1997 that have been scanned by University Libraries staff are available to the public, but we will in general honor requests by the item's author to restrict access to Virginia Tech only. See our process above for Requesting that Material be Amended or Removed.

Embargoed Content (other)

Apart from Virginia Tech theses and dissertations, which are submitted through the Virginia Tech Graduate School and whose embargo periods vary according to the policy of the VT Graduate School, users who deposit content directly into VTechWorks may choose to embargo their content. To embargo content is to make it private for a designated period of time, which may range from a few months to five years maximum. Although placing an embargo will make content files private for a designated time period, the metadata that describes these content files will remain viewable and searchable.

Authors or content creators often embargo their content due to publisher requirements, since many journal publishers require an embargo of anywhere from 6 months to 4 years, or because they wish to publish a book, author a paper based on research data, or apply for patent protection. In such cases, users or their proxies may submit works through the VTechWorks submission form and enter an embargo period of their choice, or, if they have transferred their copyright to a journal publisher, enter an embargo period specified by the journal publisher. Please note that for scholarly articles, an open access policy was approved in March 2021 that enables Virginia Tech researchers to deposit the accepted version of their article without embargo. Articles accepted before policy approval remain subject to the journal's archiving policy and associated embargo.

The screenshot shown below demonstrates shows how to assign an embargo period using the VTechWorks submission form. To keep one’s content files private until a certain date, enter the date on which it should become public. Each file you add can have a different embargo period. As indicated previously, information in the item record such as title, author, and abstract will be public and searchable, and only the associated file(s) will be inaccessible. Use the pop-up calendar to pick a date or type the date in manually. Examples: 2020-04-01 (file will become public on April 1, 2020); 2020-04 (file will become public on April 1, 2020); or 2020 (file will become public on January 1, 2020).

If you wish, you may also indicate the reason you would like the file to remain private for a certain period - this is helpful for VTechWorks staff who are managing the item. The embargo reason is not shown anywhere in the public record of the item: it is for administrator use only. Examples: Awaiting publication, Applying for a patent.

For information about embargoes for items that are not theses or dissertations, e.g., journal articles, presentations, book chapters, etc., please email vtechworks@vt.edu.

Restricted Content

Restricted content includes VTechWorks content whose access is limited to certain VTechWorks users or user groups, such as Virginia Tech faculty, staff, students, and/or campus network users. VTechWorks authors, creators, or proxies may request that their content be restricted to selected VTechWorks users, such as VTechWorks administrators and co-authors, or designated user groups, such as their departmental colleagues, classmates, or on-campus users: VTechWorks staff can create such custom user groups with custom access and submission privileges. If you have submitted or plan to submit content to VTechWorks that you would like to restrict to selected users or user groups, please contact VTechWorks staff at vtechworks@vt.edu.