Work and Family Commons FAQ

What is the Work and Family Commons?

The Work and Family Commons (WFC) is the open access subject matter repository of the Work and Family Researchers Network. This first-of-its-kind, freely accessible, long-term archive is designed to advance, promote, and preserve interdisciplinary research focused on work and family scholarship.

The Work and Family Commons is a permanent, centralized, digital, interdisciplinary collection of research reports, journal articles, conference papers and presentations, books, book chapters, citations and working papers.  The WFC seeks to gather and preserve the intellectual output of the work and family research community, as well as interested others, worldwide.

Why did WFRN build an archive or repository for work and family research?

The former Sloan Work and Family Research Network, WFRN’s predecessor, had been generously funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for 14 years. When that funding concluded, the WFRN was created to sustain the impact on the work and family community and continue the legacy established by the Foundation.

Open access technology has enabled the WFRN to transform to an innovative website with similar benefits at significantly lower cost—a natural evolution of the former Sloan Network model with staff-produced content to a decentralized, user-based model of resource generation and dissemination.

How do I submit my work to the Work and Family Commons (WFC)?

Click here for detailed steps about the WFC submission process. 

You can view a PowerPoint presentation on how to deposit conference papers or presentations to the WFC.

What is Open Access or OA?

Open Access (OA) is a term commonly used to describe a worldwide movement that promotes free, immediate, permanent online access to and unrestricted use of full-text research articles. Open access literature is digital, online, free of charge to the reader, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions, so there are no price barriers and no permission barriers. More information can be found here.

What is an Open Access Repository?

An open access repository is a searchable database of full-text academic papers, similar to an electronic library database, with the difference being that content in the repository is visible to search engines and freely available to anyone.

Open access repositories may belong to institutions, such as universities (e.g., DASH for Harvard) and laboratories, or disciplines, such as economics and physics (e.g., arXiv for physics), or may be subject-specific (e.g., Work and Family Commons). More information can be found here.

What is the difference between an institutional repository and a subject matter repository?

Open access repositories may be institutionally-based (e.g., universities or laboratories) enhancing the visibility and impact of the institution and its faculty (e.g., Penn Scholarly Commons at the University of Pennsylvania), or they may be centralized, subject-based collections like the economics repository (e.g., RePEc Research Papers in Economics), the physics repository (arXiv), or the Aquatic and Marine Science repository (Aquatic Commons), a thematic digital repository covering natural marine environments. More information can be found here.

Why should I contribute my scholarly research to Work and Family Commons?

Searchable repositories are emerging as the most-cited and most-used sources in their respective fields (currently in the sciences). In fact, funding sources, such as the National Institutes of Health, and universities, such as Harvard, are now requiring research be made available through open access.

Common aims of scholarship are to build knowledge through dissemination of research, and to enhance one’s scholarly reputation amongst peers. When you contribute to the Work and Family Commons (WFC), you give your work the potential to reach a worldwide readership that can result in you becoming recognized and cited by others. The new WFC will make articles easier to find and retrieve, as well as more useful, since Internet search engines, including Google, can find articles in repositories.

Want to know how you can share the latest research with the global work and family community?  Read the blog, The Why and How of Contributing Content to the WFRN written by Repository Commitee Chair, Noelle Chesley.

Why would a scholar, academic, researcher or author want to make his or her work open access?

Open access content reaches the broadest possible audience by eliminating the price and permission barriers of subscription-based journals. Scholars and researchers at institutions without journal subscriptions and interested individuals outside the academy have immediate access to your work. With a broader audience and no access delays, your research has the potential for the greatest impact. Although the new WFRN is geared toward academics, we hope to reach a broader audience of students, researchers, journalists, policy analysts, workplace practitioners and others with an interest in work and family issues who may not have ready access to a well-funded university library or may not be able to afford journal subscriptions.

Want to know how you can share the latest research with the global work and family community?  Read the blog, The Why and How of Contributing Content to the WFRN written by Repository Commitee Chair, Noelle Chesley.

How is the quality of content in Work and Family Commons maintained?

Documents are widely visible to colleagues worldwide. The primary source of quality control rests with the author, who will be careful to deposit only quality work. There is no peer review of papers submitted to WFC.

Do I have to be a dues-paying member to use Work and Family Commons?

No, anyone with an interest in work and family research is welcome to access and browse the materials gathered in WFC free of charge. To contribute materials to the repository, you will have to create a login. Materials are submitted directly by authors. There is no fee to register.

What types of materials can I submit to Work and Family Commons?

You can submit full-text PDF research reports, journal articles, conference papers and presentations, books, book chapters, citations and working papers.

How do publisher policies affect submissions to Work and Family Commons?

Publisher policies are an important aspect of submissions to open access repositories (WFC copyright guidelines). If you want to submit journal articles, you will find that publisher policies vary by journal.

Virtually all peer-reviewed journals allow authors to publish working papers (prior to peer review) in an open access format, even if an author intends to publish the final version in that journal. These are called pre-prints.

For previously published articles to be deposited in an open access repository, publishers often require a specific version to be submitted; typically this is the version that has been edited based on comments from the peer-review process but not yet copy edited by the journal. These are called post-prints.

To look up a specific journal’s current policy on open access submissions and to find additional information on Publisher and Copyright archiving policies, view the comprehensive SHERPA/RoMEO website.

We also encourage you to consult your agreement with the publisher for more specific information. Many publishers can be approached on a case-by-case basis for individual permission to post a specific article.

Is open access in conflict with traditional journal publishing?

The purpose of open access is not to undermine journals but to provide an accessible alternative and take full advantage of new technology —the internet— for widening distribution and reducing costs. Moreover, for researchers themselves, the overriding motivation is to offer easier access to a larger audience of readers and for their research to have greater impact. More information can be found here.

Authors may also be interested in protecting their works under a Creative Commons license.

What happens to my paper's copyright? Do I need to get publisher permission to submit to WFC?

You need to know the copyright status of your work before submitting it. If the copyright belongs to you, you keep it. If you share the copyright with other authors, check with them to make sure they also approve of the work being archived and made available on the WFC. WFRN asks for your permission to display your work on the Internet. If another party (such as an academic publisher or organization) owns the copyright, you need to secure their permission for the inclusion of the full-text version on the WFC. Go here for WFC Copyright Guidelines. You may have transferred your copyright to your publisher as part of the publication process. You should check your publisher's copyright policy to determine allowable submissions to a non-profit, subject matter repository. The SHERPA website provides publisher copyright policies.

All authors must sign a submission agreement as part of the submission process to confirm that posting their work to the WFC does not infringe on any copyright laws. Go here for WFC Copyright Guidelines.

Can I remove or take materials down from the WFC?

Items may be removed at the request of the author/copyright holder, but this is discouraged. Acceptable reasons for withdrawal include: journal publishers requirements, proven copyright violations, plagiarism or other legal requirements. If necessary, an updated version may be deposited.

If you need to request that something be removed or updated, please email: workandfamily@sas.upenn.edu

Can someone else deposit for me to Work and Family Commons?

No, materials are submitted directly by authors (or their designee) with a WFRN login. If you have questions, email: workandfamily@sas.upenn.edu

I had an article cited in the Sloan Network Literature Database. Will it automatically be transferred to Work and Family Commons?

Citations from the Sloan Network Literature Database have been included in the WFC and can be found through the search function.  In most cases, full-text of articles cited in the Sloan Network Literature Database were not included in the Literature Database and therefore were not automatically transferred to the Work and Family Commons. Authors must submit full-text articles by following the submission process even if a Sloan Network Literature Database citation already is available. 

Why are there citations in the WFC? I thought repositories were primarily for full-text documents.

One of the unique features of the WFRN is the archive of legacy information from the former Sloan Work and Family Research Network. The more than 11,000 citations from the former Sloan Network Literature Database have been retained and deposited into the WFC.

In addition, you can deposit new citations to the WFC. You must create a 1 page PDF with the citation, abstract and online link to the article, if available, as a document must be submitted for a successful deposit.

You will find more full-text documents in the Work and Family Commons as users continue to deposit new material.

How do I find a specific article or document in the Work and Family Commons?

You can Explore the WFC by using the Search function or by Browsing. Searching is useful if you have a clear idea of what information you want to find. Browsing is a good way to find available documents when you don't have a specific idea of what information you want.

Where can I get more information about the Work and Family Commons?

Go to the link below on this page here, for a Tutorial PowerPoint explaining how to use the Work and Family Commons. 

Navigating the WFRN website and the Work and Family Commons 

You will also find links to information about open access on this page.

Can you explain the different versions of articles that can be submitted to the WFC?

Here are some definitions of the different versions of articles that might be helpful to you.

Author's Pre-print = working paper

Author's Post-print = the final, post-peer-review version of the article that has been accepted for publication, but not yet copy edited by the journal.

Publisher's Version/PDF = the peer-reviewed, copy-edited version as it appears in the published journal (an exact page image of the article as it appears in print).

I just deposited to the Work and Family Commons. When will I know if my submission was successful?

Typically, your submission will be deposited almost instantly.  You can check to see that your deposit was successful by clicking on "My WFC Submissions" on the left side green bar. Your submission will also be visible in your Member Directory profile (members only).