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Digital Commons

A guide to posting and navigating DigitalCommons@CalPoly

Frequent Asked Questions

Why do I have to pay the $12 processing fee?

The $12 fee is for posting your senior project, performing quality control checks on the metadata submitted, and paying for the platform. It is quite low compared to the fees of other CSU campuses, who charge more than $25 per author.

How does our department pay the $12 processing fee?

Students can pay the fee themselves, and the department may reimburse them. Or departments can pay the fee and give the student a copy of the receipt to be uploaded during the online submission process.

Why does my senior project have to be ADA compliant?

It is mandated by the CSU through Executive Order 1111 that information is accessible to all students, employees and the general public. For more information, please visit

What file types does Digital Commons support?

A PDF is recommended for traditional text-based senior projects. However, Digital Commons accepts file types supporting music, video, datasets, etc. For more information, please contact Digital Commons staff at

Are departments required to review senior projects prior to posting?

No. A department can choose to participate in the review process, but it is not required.

I do not see my department listed on the Digital Commons Senior Project page. What do I do?

Please email Digital Commons staff at to resolve this issue.

I am an advisor and keep receiving senior project paper forms. How can I utilize the new online submission process?

Use of the new senior project submission process online is determined by department. Please contact your department.

My department has additional or slightly different requirements for senior project submission. How can I communicate these to my students along with the Digital Commons guidelines?

Digital Commons offers a senior project guidelines template for departments to customize to address any of their variations to the process. It can be found here.

Does my department need to start using the online submission process? 

Both online and paper submissions of senior projects will be accepted until the end of Winter Quarter 2020. Starting Spring Quarter 2020, submissions will only be accepted online. 

Why should my department have students post their senior projects? 

Student research is a tangible result of Cal Poly's signature Learn By Doing pedagogy. When research is posted in Digital Commons, statistics associated with number of views, downloads, citations, mentions, etc. are recorded and open to the public. The research demonstrates to departments, potential students, administrators, industry, and donors the type and quality of research students and advisors are participating in.