Student Submissions




Guidelines for Preparing Honors Theses and Senior Scholars Papers for Submission to Digital Commons @ Colby

Honors theses and Senior Scholars papers that are submitted electronically will be posted to our digital publishing platform, Digital Commons @ Colby. With permission from you as the author, your honors thesis or Senior Scholars paper will be accessible on a permanent basis to anyone and fully searchable via Google and Google Scholar. Digital Commons @ Colby, an open access initiative (OAI), is just one example of changes that are affecting how scholarship is published and accessed. Digital Commons @ Colby increases the visibility of your scholarship, but with this increased access comes increased responsibilities.


The format of your digital honors thesis or Senior Scholars paper is similar to the format for a paper version. Follow specific department or program guidelines if they are provided. If a department does not have specific guidelines for format, follow these guidelines.

  • Font: No particular font size or style is required. Choose a standard readable font, usually at least 12pts in size.
  • Margins: Margins should follow standard format of either 1" or 1-1/2".
  • Title Page: There should be a distinct title page identifying the author(s), type of project (Senior Scholars, Honors), college department/program, and date.
  • Title
  • Author
  • Senior Scholar or Honors Thesis
  • Department
  • © [date] (copyright statement; for example, © 2006) or Creative Commons license.
  • Signature page: The page signed by your advisor(s) tutors, readers, and chair of the Independent Study Committee, as appropriate
  • Abstract page with an abstract of 250 words or less.
  • Examples of past honors theses and Senior Scholars papers can be found in Digital Commons @ Colby/Student Research.

Copyright, Plagiarism, Citations

Copyright protects you, the author, as well as other authors cited by you. Following these guidelines will help you avoid copyright infringement and/or the unintentional act of plagiarism. Keep in mind that simple keyword searches in Google can reveal when someone has used another’s work without giving credit to the original author. Detailed information on copyright can be found in a variety of locations including our website at Information on plagiarism can be found at These guidelines also remind you to pay particular attention to proper citation procedures. For assistance in writing citations, please see our web page It is in your best interest to become familiar with practices of proper citation in order to avoid charges of plagiarism or copyright infringement. In general, please follow these simple guidelines:

  • Quotations– when quoting from books, articles, web sites, or other publications give a complete citation that will allow the reader to locate your original source.
  • Tables, data, sources of statistics, diagrams – give a complete citation that will allow the reader to locate your original source.
  • Human Subjects – if your research includes human subjects please consult the web site for the Colby Institutional Review Board for guidelines and procedures; see
  • Translations - If your work includes translation of material written in another language where you have done the translation, you must have the copyright holder’s permission to upload the document to Digital Commons unless the original work is in the public domain.
  • Web sites – Most web sites include copyright information. Please review the site carefully; just because something is freely available via the web does not mean it can be used without permission.
  • Media (audio, sound recordings, software, video, etc.) – if sound bites are not original (made by you, or you did not use copyright-free audio), you will need to obtain permission from the copyright owners, which could include the performer, the composer, and the publisher.
  • Images (photos, artwork, sculptures, graphics, paintings, etc.) - Images may be included in your printed honors thesis or Senior Scholars paper, but for the online version in Digital Commons @ Colby, you must comply with one of the following or images will be removed from your document:
    1. if images are not original (made by you) or in the public domain, you must include permission from the copyright owner. Alternatively you can include a URL, but not the image itself. Note: Just because an image is available via Google or Yahoo does not mean it is in the public domain.
    2. if images are from ARTstor, you must delete the image and only include the URL (this allows readers on campus to access the image)

If you need assistance in obtaining copyright permissions, please see

If you have questions about these procedures, please contact Martin Kelly, Assistant Director for Digital Collections, x5162;

{ top }

Directions for submitting your own Honors Thesis to Digital Commons @ Colby

Before you begin to submit your thesis, you should have the following at hand:

  • Title
  • Abstract
  • Keywords
  • Advisor(s) name(s)
  • Final version (not a draft) of your thesis as a Microsoft Word, PDF, or RTF file. Digital Commons will automatically convert Microsoft Word or RTF files to PDF. If you create your own PDF file, please embed all fonts.
  • Steps to Complete the Submission Process

    1. Connect to Digital Commons @ Colby
      1. Click on "My Account" at the top of the page.
      2. Create a free account by clicking on "Sign In" under "Create New Account."
      3. Complete the form.

      A confirmation will be emailed to the address you provide. Open the email. To confirm your account and resume your activities, click the link. In the future you will only need your email address and password to log in.

    2. Go to Digital Commons @ Colby and click on "Student Submissions." Go to the COLBY COLLEGE HONORS THESIS-SENIOR SCHOLARS PAPER COPYRIGHT AND DISTRIBUTION AGREEMENT FORM (PDF), fill it out with your advisor(s), and “Submit.” This agreement explains your rights and responsibilities and the rights that you are giving to Colby to preserve and to provide access to your honors thesis.
    3. Return to the “Student Submissions” page and click on Submit Your HONORS THESIS. If you are still logged in, this will take you to the submission page. If you are not logged in this brings you to a login screen, where you will enter your email and password.
    4. Complete the Submission page.
      1. Copyright and distribution Agreement: The copyright and distribution agreement explains your rights and responsibilities and the rights that you are giving to Colby to preserve, and provide access to your honors thesis.
      2. Title: Use the full title of your thesis
      3. Author: This information should be automatically filled in based on your account information. If it is not, then enter your email address, your first name, last name, and Colby College as the institution. [You can update your account with a new email address after graduation.] Do not click on the "Add Author" button unless you have an additional author.
      4. Date of Award: Choose the year of your graduation.
      5. Document Type: choose Honors Thesis.
      6. Access and Distribution: Choose the option that you and your advisor agreed on.
      7. Department: Choose the academic department or program for your thesis.
      8. Advisor(s): Add the name of your advisor(s).
      9. Subject Categories: Pick one or two broad subject categories that best describe the topic of your thesis.
      10. Abstract: Type or paste your abstract, if any. Choose the format of abstract.
      11. Keywords: Enter three to six important keywords. These will not appear on the posted project, but will be searchable in Digital Commons @ Colby, Google, and Google Scholar.
      12. Multimedia URL: If your thesis includes media files that you would like to make available through streaming access, e-mail them to Martin Kelly at for posting to a streaming server.
      13. Upload Full text. Upload the file for your thesis. You can browse to locate the file on your computer or network. Answer "no" when asked if your document was previously published.
      14. Additional files: Upload any additional files that supplement your thesis.
      15. Submit: Click on "Submit" to submit your thesis.

      Congratulations! Your thesis has been submitted. It will take a couple of weeks before it appears in Google and Google Scholar if you have chosen the Open Access option.

    { top }

    Benefits and Considerations for Posting Honors Theses, Senior Scholars Papers and Other Scholarship in Digital Commons @ Colby

    Benefits of Open Access:

    • Easy access, any time and any place -- no longer limited to the open hours of Special Collections
    • Visibility
      • Findable through Google and other search engines.
      • Increases the visibility of students and their advisors, potentially leading to improved job prospects or graduate school placement for students and better recruitment for Colby
      • Allows academic departments and programs to showcase student research
    • Knowledge-sharing
      • Effective method of sharing original research across and beyond Colby.
    • Preservation
      • Reduce wear and tear of copying on frequently requested theses.

    Considerations for Restricting or Delaying Access:

    • Access Restricted to on campus only.
    • Future Publication

      Will the thesis or work be accepted for publication later if it is posted first in Digital Commons @ Colby?

      • If a thesis is substantially revised, this question may not even arise.
      • Consult the policies of potential publishers. Some allow posting pre-prints while others do not. The American Chemical Society explicitly prohibits posting in a repository or on the web prior to publication in one of their journals; biology can be restrictive; physics, less so. Policies are posted on publisher web sites. SHERPA/RoMEO provides summaries of publisher permissions for many academic journals.
      • Students producing original creative work, such as music, art, plays, video, short stories or novellas, should carefully consider controlled access options. Consult with your faculty advisor.
    • Privacy
      • For research that includes private information about individuals, including images, you should carefully consider controlled access options.
    • Copyright
      • Authors/creators retain copyright to their work.
      • Authors can use traditional copyright or license their work using Creative Commons
      • Increasingly, publishers permit authors to retain copyright to their work and to store digital copies of articles on institutional web sites.
      • Refer to the following web sites for guidance about retaining copyright and control of works submitted for publication:

    { top }