Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to the ADA Commons FAQ page! Here you can find answers to questions from ADA Commons stakeholders that have emerged as it has grown.

Click the '+' next to the headings below to expand or collapse a section and see a hyperlinked list of answered questions. You can also scroll down past this section to browse through the questions.


State & Local Associations

Scholarly Works

  • Coming soon!

If you do not see the answer to your question here or need assistance with navigating the site please contact

General FAQ

What is ADA Commons and how is it used?

ADA Commons is an open access archival repository for ADA constituent and component society publications. It also serves as the archival repository for the ADA Archive, ADA publications, and peer-reviewed publications by ADA staff and ADA members. ADA Commons is managed by the ADA Library & Archives, who work in tandem with association editorial staff to publish and manage their content. Focused primarily on current and archival association member publications including journals and newsletters, ADA Commons can also house member conference materials, images, audio and video recordings, books, and other digital content.

The ADA Commons platform is Digital Commons by bepress. Digital Commons is an open access, hosted repository solution designed for scholarly research and publications.

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Who can join ADA Commons? Can any person or dental-related publication participate?

All ADA constituent and component society publications are eligible and encouraged to contribute to ADA Commons at no cost. Individual ADA members can contribute to our scholarly works sections for free as well. We are in the process of determining how outside organizations may participate in ADA Commons.

Because ADA Commons is funded by ADA membership, we cannot offer free participation for non-ADA affiliates. Please contact us if you are interested in joining and would like to discuss further.

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What is the difference between Digital Commons, ADA Commons, and Dentistry Commons?

Digital Commons is a hosted institutional repository and publishing platform owned by Elsevier. Digital Commons is the platform used for ADA Commons.

ADA Commons is an open access archival repository available for ADA constituent and component society publications, and is the archival repository for the ADA Archive, ADA publications, and peer-reviewed publications by ADA staff and ADA members. It is managed by the ADA Library & Archives staff.

Dentistry Commons encompasses all Digital Commons sites pertaining to dentistry. All ADA Commons scholarly materials are automatically included in Dentistry Commons. This increases discoverability for our authors.

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Can I download and use materials?

Individuals have the right to download and print a personal copy of ADA Commons materials and may use the materials in ways that meet "fair use" standards.

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Who has the copyright to materials in ADA Commons?

Adding work to ADA Commons does not transfer copyright to the ADA. Whoever holds copyright at the time of ingestion into ADA Commons will continue to hold it. For more information, please see our copyright page.

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How do I cite the items in ADA Commons?

Each item will include a recommended citation at the bottom of the item’s page. If an item is downloaded, a citation will appear below the line on the PDF cover page.

You are free to adjust this to the appropriate citation style for your discipline. Journal items should be attributed to their respective journal. The general format is:

Author 1; Author 2 (Year Published) "Article Title," Journal Name: Vol. #: Issue No. #, Article #. Available at: URL

For example:

Mea Weinberg DMD, MSD, RPh; Segelnick, Stuart DDS, MS; Christine Chu DDS; and Asgeir Sigurdsson DDS, MS (2023) "Sinus Tract vs. Fistula: There is a Difference," The New York State Dental Journal: Vol. 89: No. 4, Article 5. Available at:

For items without a volume or issue, such as photos and pamphlets, citations should reference the collection in which the item is located. The general format for these items is:

Author, "Title" (Year Published). Name of Collection. Item # in the collection found at the end of the URL. URL

For example:

American Dental Association and American Academy of Periodontology, "Ask Yourself (1975)" (1975). Patient Dental Health Education Brochures. 82.

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How many publications are a part of ADA Commons? How many will there be?

You may see what publications are currently in ADA Commons - and who is coming soon - by visiting State and Local Dental Publications page. We are adding more regularly with the expectation of becoming the central resource for clinical dental research and experiential practice knowledge.

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How do I get materials taken down or report issues?

ADA Commons is part of the scholarly record and provides persistent access to deposited materials. For items pertaining to a sensitive subject or using outdated language, rather than remove the item, we attach a sensitivity statement to alert users before download. In rare circumstances it may be necessary to remove materials. A request for removal must be sent to along with reasons for withdrawal.

If you are experiencing problems accessing an item, please report to Provide the name/title of the item or article and a copy of any error messages.

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State & Local Associations FAQ

What is the benefit of my association participating in ADA Commons?

There are numerous benefits in joining ADA Commons, including:

  • Custom branded sites tailored to your design needs
  • Unlimited storage and sites
  • Fully cloud-hosted, with no technical requirements of you
  • No cost to member associations
  • Allows your publication to be indexed, increasing discoverability by search engines
  • Your publication will be featured in Dentistry Commons
  • Manage your peer review process
  • Authors and editors have access to readership metrics
  • Long term, secure storage of your publication, ensuring access in perpetuity

The ADA Commons team is available at every step to guide you through the process. We will manage as much or as little of the ongoing maintenance for you as you would like.

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Does being a part of ADA Commons cost money for members?

No, it does not -- members can participate at no cost. In 2022 ADA house members voted to fund a repository for member publications. ADA Commons was created from that and therefore has no additional fees for ADA members.

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Is it only for publications like journals and newsletters? What about photos, videos, podcasts, conference materials, etc.?

All of the above can be accommodated within ADA Commons. While associations are primarily using ADA Commons for their member publications, the repository can do much more. You may wish to use ADA Commons to host conference materials and recordings, or manage a collection of continuing education webinar recordings, or photos from your association’s annual gatherings. The system was designed to manage the peer review process, streamlining the workflow for editors. ADA Commons works with many formats, so let us know what you are considering, and we will find an answer for you.

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What if our publication is a member-only benefit and we don’t want it to be open access?

An important benefit of participating in ADA Commons is that it provides your publication global recognition, a feature especially appreciated by authors. We also recognize the value of offering exclusive content to your members. The ADA library team will help you find the right balance for your association.

An “embargo” is the most common method of finding that balance. Your publication will be deposited into the ADA Commons but not accessible by the public. We can embargo your materials for a specific amount of time and then automatically convert them to open access once the embargo period is complete. During embargo, you can make them available to your members by registering their email address.

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How long does it take to set up a site?

Joining ADA Commons is voluntary, so the timeline for each association’s launch is primarily determined by the publication’s editorial team and their availability.

The phases of site development are kick-off, design, sandbox, and pre-launch. Participating organizations can expect to spend about one hour per phase in a meeting with the ADA Commons team, plus any additional design deliberation or practice time they choose to invest.

If the ADA Commons team is completing most of the uploading process, the sandbox and prelaunch phases can be quite short. Other avenues for uploading can require a significant investment of time by the editorial team and is therefore impacted by the member association’s staff levels, project prioritization, and amount of archival content/number of subsites.

Three to four months is estimated for a new association, much of which is latency where behind the scenes work happens on behalf of member associations or member association deliberation on site design. The ADA Library & Archives staff manages progression through the phases, ensuring each association stays on target during each phase.

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How involved will I need to be? Can I put in materials myself? Can the ADA Commons team do it for me?

The ADA team can upload your latest issues and archival materials, or we can train you to do it, or some combination of both! That is completely up to you, and you may change your decision at any point.

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Is there an agreement or contract required between publications and ADA Commons for participation? What about authors and ADA Commons?

There is no signed agreement or contract required between publications and ADA Commons. If you are an individual author submitting your work, you will need to officially agree to have your work hosted by ADA Commons and ensure you are allowed to deposit your work in a repository. Please visit the Scholarly Works section of this page for more detailed information.

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Is there a limit to the size of files or collections included in ADA Commons?

No, and we do not anticipate any limits in the future.

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How customizable are ADA Commons publication sites? Can I have more than one site?

ADA Commons sites are customizable, within a few bounds. You will need a header and will need to decide the number of columns. Publications must follow a standard volume/issue format. You may have multiple sites, provided that makes sense for your collection and follows the Digital Commons guidelines for sites. Conference sites may also be created and customized.

The ADA library team will walk you through every step of the design process and provide solutions to your individual requirements.

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In what order do items get added to ADA Commons?

Currently archival items are uploaded in a first-come, first-serve format. Active journals with publishing deadlines for issues are prioritized to ensure the materials are uploaded correctly and on time.

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How does being a part of ADA Commons impact readership? Will it increase my audience? What metrics are available to track this?

Upon launch, your site is added to the list of State and Local Dental Publications on ADA Commons. This will automatically add it to Dentistry Commons, and indexes it in Google, Bing, Google Scholar, and other standard search engines. PDFs are full-text searchable, so authors can search themselves on Google and results will include your ADA Commons items.

Digital Commons uses PlumX metrics to track article-level statistics which are shared on each article page. Users can view these article-level metrics as well as overall ADA Commons download metrics via the map at the bottom of the ADA Commons landing page.

Metrics about a publication’s user statistics are available only to that association’s editorial team through their administration page.

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Can other people see my association’s metrics?

Only the designated administrators of your site have access to metrics shown on your site dashboard. Users can see article-level PlumX metrics as well as the overall ADA Commons map and the top 10 most downloaded ADA Commons items on the landing page.

We may ask your permission to include your site as an example which may result in your metrics being shared in meetings with prospective societies. Unless we explicitly ask, your site metrics are not being shared with anyone outside of your group and the ADA Commons team.

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Does ADA Commons have a page turning view like Issuu?

Digital Commons has a built-in PDF viewer that can be configured to scroll. This may be preferred for users viewing on tablets or phones to avoid downloading a pdf. This must be determined during the publication’s site design phase; it cannot be turned on and off by the user.

Currently Digital Commons does not include page-turning or flipbook capabilities, but they can embed some third-party flipping books.

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Scholarly Works FAQ

Who can deposit?

Contributors must be a member or staff of the ADA at the time of submission. Materials will not be removed due to change of membership status unless requested by the author. ADA members may include works from before membership as long as they are within the scope of materials which may be contributed and related to the profession of dentistry. Student members are also eligible to contribute.

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Does copyright allow me to deposit my work?

The contributor must either hold the copyright, or the right to deposit, for content submitted. Right to deposit is necessary because once published, copyright commonly falls to the publisher, not the author. Publishers may allow authors to deposit a version their work in a repository, like ADA Commons, if they include language similar to the following:

  • The right to post to an institutional repository
  • The right to post to an institution website
  • The right to self-archive

A Creative Commons license on a work on an entire journal means the publisher may also require specific information to be included with your submission. Examples include:

  • The full citation of the published version of the work
  • A link to the published version of the work
  • The publisher's DOI
  • A copyright statement from the publisher

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What materials can be contributed?

The work should be scholarly in nature and be in a digital format. Because deposits are intended to be permanent contributions to the repository, scholarly works that are in progress or ephemeral are not recommended for contribution. Examples of scholarly work:

  • Complete journals and journal articles
  • Conference proceedings, posters, papers and/or presentations 
  • Published white papers and technical reports 
  • Master's theses and dissertations
  • Research data sets  
  • Multipart content, e.g. research paper and datasets 

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What versions of my work are accepted?

If your publisher does not allow a final manuscript to be deposited into an institutional repository, they may allow earlier versions created before peer review or peer-review edits. Publishers license terms and policies may vary by version.

Pre-print, submitted version, or manuscript is the first version an author submits to a publisher. Most publishers allow this version to placed in a repository.

Post-print, accepted version, peer-reviewed manuscript, accepted manuscript, AM , is the version after peer review which has been accepted by the publisher, but the publisher has not edited or revised. Many publishers allow this version to be placed in a repository.

The publisher's version or version of record  is the publisher’s version of the article that goes to print. Few publishers will allow this version to be placed in a repository.

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What file formats are accepted?

ADA Commons accepts a wide variety of common formats for digital items. For published materials, we recommend submitting as a PDF. Although other formats are accepted, such as Word (.doc or .docx) and PowerPoint (.ppt or .pptx), converting to a PDF reduces file size and helps ensure formatting is preserved long-term.

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Can I post a reprint from a journal?

It depends on what the journal allows, which is usually specified in their agreement with the author. If it would not violate copyright to post the reprint on your repository site, you're welcome to do so. Permissions for many publishers can be found at SHERPA RoMEO.

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A working paper in our repository site has been published in a slightly revised form in a journal. What should I do?

Many journals do not have any restrictions on working papers that preceded an article, especially if substantial revisions were made. You should check your author agreement with the journal to confirm that there is no problem with leaving the working paper on the site. The repository would constitute noncommercial use.

Assuming the working paper does remain on posted in the repository, it is a good idea to include the citation to the published article on the cover page of the repository working paper. Please contact the repository administrator to request this change.

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What should be included in my submission to ADA Commons?

When submitting your work, proof of publication must be included as a cover letter in the submission portal. Examples of proof of publication materials:

  • a link to the published item on a journal page (full text not required)
  • a link to the video with conference affiliation
  • a copy of the confirmation of acceptance for publication without edits from the journal or conference
  • a note of approval with no revisions from your dissertation committee 

Additionally, you will be asked to review and approve the ADA Commons Publishing Agreement before uploading your work.

ADA Commons reserves the right to reject submissions or to return the submissions with conditions that must be met prior to publication in ADA Commons.

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Can I post related files (sound clips, data sets, etc.) alongside the published article?

Yes. The bepress system refers to these supplementary items as Associated Files. You will be prompted to submit Associated Files when you upload your submissions. The name of the files you upload will appear on the web site along with your short description of it. Viewers must have the necessary software to open your files; that is not provided by the bepress system.

Please be sure that there are no permissions issues related to use of the associated material. Sometimes, especially with images, you must write a letter seeking permission to use the material before it can be posted.

Also note that where possible, items such as images, charts and tables that are referenced in the document (or otherwise an integral part of the document) should be included directly in the article itself and not posted just as associated files.

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How can I submit a multi-part file, such as multiple chapters for a book?

Combine all the sections together as one Microsoft Word file or PDF file and submit that.

To make one PDF file from multiple files, open the first PDF file, then choose Document>Insert Pages from Acrobat's menus to insert the second file (indicate it should go after the last page of the first file), and repeat for all documents. The result will be one compound PDF file which may then be submitted.

If you feel that the one large PDF file might be too large for some people to download, we suggest that you submit the consolidated file as the full text of the article, and then upload the separate chapters or sections of the document as Associated Files. These files will appear on the web page alongside the complete document. For more information about uploading associated files, see "Can I post related files..." above.

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How do I revise a submission?

To revise a submission that has been posted to the repository, contact the repository administrator with the new version.

If the submission has been submitted, but not yet posted, you may revise it via your My Account page:

  1. Locate the article on your My Account page, and click the title.
  2. Click Revise Submission from the list of options in the left sidebar.
  3. Enter your changes in the Revise Submission form, and click Submit at the bottom of the page to submit your changes. (You only need to modify the portion of the form that corresponds to the changes you wish to make.)

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I don't have electronic versions of old working papers that I'd like to include in the repository. Is it okay to scan the printed page to a PDF file?

Yes. Scanning printed pages is a great way to create PDF files for inclusion in the repository. There are two ways to scan a page: using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) or scanning the page as an image. Making OCR scans requires careful proofreading and loses the original formatting of the documents. Image scans cannot be searched. The best solution takes advantage of both of these methods. Many software applications allow for the OCR capture of image scans. When documents are scanned this way, users see the image scan but search the full-text of the document. This is the preferred method for scanning documents for the repository.

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When I copy and paste abstracts into the Submit form, some formatted text reverts to plain text. What's going on?

When copying abstracts from a word processing file or a PDF file, and pasting the text into the submission form, you are taking text from an environment that supports fonts and text style changes. Because the abstract is intended to be presented on the web, text styles must be specified using HTML codes.

If submitting an abstract in HTML format, please be sure to select the corresponding option on the submission form.

The following HTML tags are recognized by the system and may be used to format an abstract (use lowercase tags):

  • <p> - paragraph
  • <br> - line break
  • <strong> - strong/bold
  • <em> - italics/emphasis
  • <sub> - subscript
  • <sup> - superscript

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How do I include accents and special characters in the abstracts and titles?

The repository software supports the worldwide character set (Unicode, utf-8). Accents, symbols, and other special characters may be copied and pasted into the abstract or title field from a word processing file or typed in directly. Windows users may also use the Character Map to insert these characters. Macintosh users may use the Character Palette (available via Edit > Special Characters in the Finder ).

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What’s an embargo? How does it apply to my work?

An embargo is a set length of time after an item is published in which it may not be distributed by anyone but the publisher. This is typically between 6-12 months. If your item has an embargo period, you may still submit it to ADA Commons. Inform the team of the embargo period with your submission and we will release it after the embargo period is complete.

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An article I wrote for my state’s dental journal is already in ADA Commons on the state’s journal site. Should I also submit it to the scholarly repository?

No, we do not recommend having duplicate versions of an article in ADA Commons. You can see your articles which have been added to ADA Commons on the Author listing page .

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I’m a student/recent graduate of dental school. Can I submit my work?

Yes! We encourage student members of ADA to include their graduate project and published works. ADA members are also encouraged to submit their graduate work, no matter the time period that has passed. If you have also submitted your work to another institutional repository (IR), please confirm you can submit to a second IR.

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Why was my submission denied?

Although ADA Commons is open to all ADA members and staff as a scholarly repository, there are some instances when a submission will be denied. You will be notified if you can resubmit with corrections. Some reasons for denial include:

  • Proof of publication is missing
  • Publication agreement is not signed
  • The submission is outside of the scope for scholarly work
  • Duplicate Submission: Submitted item is already in ADA Commons
  • Non-ADA member or staff

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Can my work ever be removed?

All deposits are considered permanent. An item may be removed if there is a violation of deposit agreement or other exceptional circumstances. The item’s record will remain with the following note: “Item withdrawn by authority of the American Dental Association. If you have any questions, please contact”

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I’ve previously uploaded my published articles to the scholarly repository, but I’m no longer a member of the ADA. Can my articles remain in ADA Commons?

If an ADA member or staff person leaves the ADA, their work will not be withdrawn from ADA Commons. We will no longer add their materials unless the materials are co-authored by another ADA member or staff person.

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What if my work contains private or confidential information?

Works submitted, including data sets, must not contain private, confidential, classified, or legally protected information. The contributor is responsible for removing or redacting private, sensitive, classified, or confidential information or third-party copyrighted material. Any works containing such information may be subject to review and may not be accepted into or may be withdrawn from ADA Commons.

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Does ADA Commons require or use ORCHiD IDs?

As of now, ADA Commons does not have the ability to attach ORCHiD IDs to author profiles. We are very interested in adding them, however, and are working with Digital Commons to investigate solutions.

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