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PhD thesis

University regulations require the submission of an electronic copy of the final examined version of all research theses. The final version of the thesis should be deposited in Pure - Abertay's Research Management System. The theses will then be made available via Pure on an open access basis on the University's research portal. It is possible to request an embargo on your thesis so that it is not publically available for a specified length of time. More information regarding embargoes can be found below.

For help on how to deposit your PhD or MbR thesis have a look at our guide Adding an Abertay thesis to PureYou can also email repository@abertay.ac.uk if you need help with the deposit.

Why make your thesis available as an e-thesis?

Making your thesis available as an e-theses has many advantages.

  • Increased discoverability and access to your thesis. Your thesis will be searchable via search engines such as Google and harvested by external services such as the British Library EThOS  service.
  • Increased access to your thesis which should in turn should get more people reading your thesis  and get your work cited.
  • Colleagues, collaborators, job applications and grant proposals and publishers will be able to access your thesis.
  • If your research is funded and your funder requires your thesis to be published open access then making your theses available in ARC will satisfy your funder's  open access requirement.
  • Plagiarism protection.
  • Preservation of your thesis.

Are there any implications that I should consider when making my thesis available as an e-thesis?

The University encourages all researchers to make their research freely available at the earliest possible opportunity. However, there will be occasions when you need to ask for access to your e-thesis to be restricted (embargoed) for a period of time. When considering whether an embargo is necessary you should  consider the following issues:

  1. Do you intend to publish material from your thesis?
  2. Does your thesis contain personal or commercially sensitive material?
  3. Does your thesis contain third party copyright material?

More information on these issues is provided below and you may find our Thesis Checklist useful.

I intend to publish material from my thesis.

The advent of digital publication has affected the approach taken by some publishers.

Publication of an e-thesis immediately after successful examination for a research degree may in some disciplines be considered as prior publication by some publishers. If you intend to publish material from your thesis you can initially request a 12-18 month embargo on the e-thesis. If at the end of the 12-18 month embargo period you need an extension to the embargo to complete your publications then it is your responsibility to email repository@abertay.ac.uk to request an extension. Failure to notify the University of this request will result in the publication of your e-thesis at the end of the original embargo period in the university repository.

If you require any advice regarding embargoes or copyright in your thesis, please email repository@abertay.ac.uk and library staff will be happy to help.

Does your thesis contain personal or commercially sensitive material?

The university regulations do allow you to embargo your thesis if it contains sensitive material or there is a patent is pending. If this is the case you should discuss the need for an embargo with your supervisor and then request an embargo on the Thesis Submission form.

Does your thesis contain third party copyright material?

Third party copyright material includes:

  • Extracts from published books or journals Illustrations or photographs you did not create;
  • Diagrams,tables or images sourced from websites;
  • Copies of maps or charts;
  • Scans of artworks or historical documents;
  • Computer code or technical designs from an external source;
  • Work you have authored that have been published elsewhere.

If you have not obtained written permission from the copyright holder to include third party copyright material in your e-thesis then you should not not make a full copy of your e-thesis available on the external Research Portal (https://rke.abertay.ac.uk). If you intend to include third party copyright material in your e-thesis then you should seek permission from the copyright holder at the earliest possible opportunity. See below for an example email that you can use.

Do I need to seek permission for all third party copyright material?

Copyright law does allow referenced quotation of other peoples' work, so if you are using an insubstantial amount of copyright material you may be able to rely on one of the copyright exceptions to include this material. However, in most cases it is good practice to seek permission and our advice is that you should always contact the copyright owner for permission for inclusion of 3rd party copyright material in your e-thesis. Remember if a copyright owner challenged your use of their material you would need to be confident that you could defend its inclusion using one of the copyright exceptions if you have not obtained their written consent. More information about copyright is available on the copyright pages

What happens if I can't get permission? 

If the right's holder refuses permission, requests payment for inclusion of the material or you don't get a reply then you can choose to submit a redacted thesis with the copyright material removed to an appendix which will be embargoed. You will still be able to submit your thesis for examination with the copyright material included using either the exception illustration for teaching or criticism, review and quotation.  More information is available on the copyright pages.

When you need to embargo parts of your e-thesis you should provide two versions of the e-thesis.

  • File 1 - A complete file containing the complete text of the thesis (including third party copyright material). This file will be withheld from public access and retained for preservation purposes only.
  • File 2 – An amended file with all third party copyright material removed to an appendix and replaced with a statement such as "This image has been removed by the author of this thesis for copyright reasons‟. If possible, when removing material from the digital copy, you should try to retain the pagination of the original document. The redacted material can be added to an Appendix which will be embargoed.
If you need to submit a redacted thesis it is advisable to email repository@abertay.ac.uk  and library staff will be happy to advise. 
 
Remember the ideal is to make your complete thesis open access: a redacted thesis should be your last option when you have been unable to get permission from the copyright owner. 
 

How do I get permission from the copyright owner?

The copyright owner may be the publisher, the author or illustrator. Publisher websites are a good starting point for finding out who you need to contact for permission. Obtaining permission to use third party copyright content can be a lengthy process so we recommend that you start as soon as possible. If the rights holder does not reply within a reasonable length of time, you should contact them again, as you cannot interpret a lack of response as permission to go ahead. If you need advice on contacting publishers, then email repository@abertay.ac.uk and library staff will be happy to advise.  You can use or adapt the suggested wording below when contacting the copyright owner for permission.

Dear Sir/Madam

I am contacting you to seek permission to include the following material within the electronic version of my PhD thesis:

[Provide full details of the material you intend to include]

If you are not the rights holder for this material I would be grateful if you would advise me who to contact.

The thesis will be made available in Abertay's Research Portal (https://rke.abertay.ac.uk/). This repository is non-commercial and openly available to all.

Once permissions are granted, you should retain copies of the correspondence for future consultation. You should also indicate at the appropriate point in your thesis, e.g. 'Permission to reproduce this ... has been granted by...'.