Skip to Main Content

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.

If my project does not meet non-disclosure agreement (NDA) requirements, can I upload basic information (i.e., draft or metadata only) about my project to Digital Commons? 


In accordance with the Institutional Repository Collection Development Plan, Digital Commons @ Cal Poly is not an abstract-only service and does not accept incomplete senior projects. A senior project will not be accepted if it is only 1-3 pages in length, only includes a title page and statement of confidentiality, and has no abstract. If there is an NDA associated with the project, Digital Commons will accept other items associated with the project instead, such as poster, presentation, or redacted project. All works must be in final format (i.e., no drafts or metadata only).

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.

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.

Is it mandated by Cal Poly to post senior projects to Digital Commons?

A senior project is required for all Cal Poly students (details here).

Note: AS-860-19 "Resolution on Senior Project Policy" content summary: The current designation for senior project courses is non-standardized; therefore, be it that the attached policy supersedes AS-562-01, AS+594+03, and AS-683-09; and be it further that the university adopt a standard designation for senior project courses across the curriculum, either by returning to the former practice wherein the second course digit of 6 or 7 indicates a senior project course or by requiring that every senior project course has "Senior Project" in its title. See document below.

There is no university requirement to have senior projects submitted to Digital Commons. "Each academic department determines a process for archiving senior projects, whether a department or college level and/or in collaboration with Kennedy Library" per the below link: