UW Graduate School

Access Options for Electronic Theses and Dissertations


The Graduate School and the Libraries require that all UW theses and dissertations be submitted electronically for management efficiency, cost control, ease of dissemination, and long-term preservation reasons. Submission must be done no later than the deadline established by the Graduate School for degree conferral for a given quarter.


Submission must be made using the UW ETD Administrator system which is provided by the ProQuest (PQ) company. ETD Administrator offers authors a number of menu choices, most of which are described below. After the submission process is complete, the system automatically deposits identical digital copies within the PQ system and the UW’s institutional repository (IR), ResearchWorks. Once deposited, theses and dissertations will be made available via both the PQ Dissertations and Theses Database and the UW Libraries’ ResearchWorks.

Publication Options

Students may restrict access to their theses and dissertations

  1. while seeking to publish journal articles or books based on them,
  2. to protect intellectual property during the patent application process, or
  3. to prevent the disclosure of sensitive or classified information.

During the submission process, you will select PQ and IR publication options. The options are summarized on a table below, followed by selected scenarios to assist you in making your decisions.

IMPORTANT! When a thesis or dissertation is restricted, access to the body of the work is limited but descriptive information, including the citation and abstract, is provided to PQ and ResearchWorks. This information becomes public and is searchable by Google, Bing and other search engines.

Publication Options

Restricted Access Periods

How is your work accessed?

Who has access to your work?

ProQuest (PQ)

Immediate Access (chosen by most students)


PQ Dissertations and Theses Database

Students, faculty, and researchers with access to the PQ database

No Access during Restricted Access Period

6months,1or2 years, or specified date


Not accessible to anyone

Institutional Repository (IR)

Immediate Open Access (chosen by most students)


UW Libraries’ ResearchWorks

Anyone via the Web

UW-only Access during Restricted Access Period, followed by Open Access

1, 2 or 5 years

UW Libraries’ ResearchWorks

Only UW faculty and students and on-site users of UW Libraries

No Access during Restricted Access Period, followed by
Open Access

1 year


Not accessible to anyone

Selected Scenarios to Assist You in Making Your Decision

  1. Author plans to publish one or more journal articles based on a thesis or dissertation. Recent surveys indicate that 85% or more of journal editors would “always welcome” article submissions based on open access ETD’s, or would consider them on a case by case basis or if they were “substantially different” from them – though practices vary by discipline1,2. Based on these and earlier studies, the Libraries recommends that most students choose immediate open access for their ETD’s unless a journal to which they plan to submit has a restrictive policy in this regard. In such cases students might consider choosing “Immediate Access” for PQ and limit to UW users for a year.
  2. Author plans to publish a thesis or dissertation as a book. The first of the two survey reports mentioned above indicated that 80% of university press editors would consider publishing a book based on an open access ETD1, and the exposure open access ETD’s receive can be beneficial. However, students concerned that their risk of rejection is still too great could consider choosing “Immediate Access” for PQ and limiting to UW for five years.
  3. Author wishes to protect work during patent application process. Students who may want to seek a patent in connection with research described in their theses or dissertations should contact Jesse Kindra at the Center for Commercialization (jkindra@uw.edu or 206.543.3970) prior to submitting their work to PQ and choosing access restrictions. Depending on the circumstances, it may be appropriate to completely withhold access for as long as two years, but students should recognize that doing so will prevent anyone else at the UW from having access to it during the restricted access period. To exercise this option, students should choose “No access for 1 year, then make Open Access” from the Institutional Repository (IR) Publishing Options menu. In unusual circumstances, requests for access to be withheld an additional year may be considered. To make such a request, students should describe the reason(s) for it in an email to rworks@uw.edu prior to expiration of the original embargo period.

1Marisa L. Ramirez, Joan T. Dalton, Gail McMillan, Max Read and Nancy H. Seamans, “Do Open Access Electronic Theses and Dissertations Diminish Publishing Opportunities in the Social Sciences and Humanities?,” College and Research Libraries 74 (July 2013): 368-80, http://crl.acrl.org/content/74/4/368.full.pdf+html.

2Marisa Ramirez, Gail McMillan, Joan T. Dalton, Ann Hanlon, Heather S. Smith and Chelsea Kern, “Do Open Access Electronic Theses and Dissertations Diminish Publishing Opportunities in the Sciences?,” forthcoming, College and Research Libraries, http://crl.acrl.org/content/early/2013/09/20/crl13-524.full.pdf+html.