Selected ETD Access Scenarios

As outlined in Access Options for Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs), the UW Libraries and the Graduate School are committed to the goal of sharing graduate students’ research as soon and as widely as possible, while allowing students to temporarily limit access to their theses and dissertations for such reasons as to support formal publication in journal article or book form, or to allow time for filing patents. Below are some examples of how students may wish to use these options to support their publishing or intellectual property-protection goals.

Scenario Suggested ProQuest Options Suggested UW ResearchWorks (Institutional Repository) Options

1.     Journal Article Publishing

a.     Articles based on a thesis or dissertation

Immediate availability Immediate Open Access or UW only for 1-2 years
b.     Including journal articles already published in a thesis or dissertation Immediate availability Check publication agreements for right to include in dissertation and possible embargo requirements. Choose appropriate delay if needed.


2.     Book based on thesis or dissertation planned Immediate availability Immediate Open Access, or UW only for 5 years


3.     Patent protection issues

Delay release for 1 year No access for 1 year


Discussion of Scenarios

  1. Journal Articles Based on a Thesis or Dissertation. Some students complete their theses or dissertations first, then develop one or more articles for submission to journals but wonder whether journal editors might turn down a submission if the thesis or dissertation it was derived from is available open access. While this is a common concern, recent surveys indicate less than a fifth of journal editors might do so – though practices vary by discipline1,2. The Libraries therefore believes most students planning to develop journal articles from their theses or dissertations should feel comfortable choosing immediate availability for the ProQuest copy and open access for the UW copy. Another, slightly more conservative option would be to choose “Immediate Access” for ProQuest and limit access to the UW copy for a year or two.
    1. Journal Article Publishing. In recent years graduate students – especially in scientific, medical and technical fields — have increasingly been publishing results of their research in journals.
    2. The “Research Article” Dissertation. In some disciplines students may be expected to publish 2 or more journal articles during the course of their studies and submit them as the core of their thesis or dissertation — along with an introduction, literature review, and conclusions. Because this has become so common, most journals now permit authors to immediately republish their articles within their theses or dissertations as long as they provide the full article citation and a statement that an article is being “reprinted with permission” of the journal. However, some other journals allow the practice but require that an article not appear on an open access basis before a delay of 6 or 12 months. The Libraries strongly suggests that students become familiar with the policies in place at the journals in which they would like to publish their work, and choose appropriate access restrictions if needed when they submit their ETD’s.
  2. Book Publishing. Some students in such humanities and social science disciplines as history and political science may hope to publish a revised version of their dissertation as their first book. As they consider that possibility they may be concerned they might undermine their prospects by making their dissertations widely available via ProQuest and/or on an open access basis.Before deciding whether or for how long to limit access to their work based on these concerns, The Libraries recommends students become familiar with the arguments and evidence put forward on these issues. For example, Cirasella and Thistlethwaite3 and Courtney and Kilcer4 provide excellent discussions of issues and review recent literature, while William Germano’s classic From Dissertation to Book5 and Beth Luey’s Revising Your Dissertation6 offer important insight into what might be involved during the dissertation revision process. While the Libraries recommends that most students hoping to publish their dissertations as books make them widely available while they work toward that goal, they should feel free to consider choosing otherwise, such as “Immediate Access” for ProQuest and limiting to UW for five years – at the end of which students may request additional time.
  3. Patent Protection Strategies. Students whose theses or dissertations describe work for which patent protection might be appropriate should contact Jesse Kindra at CoMotion ( or 206 616-9658) prior to submitting their work to ProQuest and choosing access restrictions. Depending on the circumstances, a student may choose to completely withhold access for one year, but 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 delay releasing their work to ProQuest for 1 or 2 years, and then choose “No access for 1 year, then make Open Access” from the Institutional Repository (IR) Publishing Options menu for the UW copy. 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 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,

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?” College and Research Libraries 75 (November 2014): 808-21,

3Jill Cirasella and Polly Thistlethwaite, “Open Access and the Graduate Author: A Dissertation Anxiety Manual,” pp. 203-224 in Open Access and the Future of Scholarly Communication: Implementation (Kevin L. Smith and Katherine A. Dickson, eds.: Rowman and Littlefield, 2017),

4Kyle K. Courtney and Emily Kilcer, “From Apprehension to Comprehension: Addressing Anxieties about Open Access to ETD’s,” pp. 225-244 in Open Access and the Future of Scholarly Communication: Implementation (Kevin L. Smith and Katherine A. Dickson, eds.: Rowman and Littlefield, 2017).

5William Germano. 2013. From Dissertation to Book, 2d. ed.: University of Chicago Press.

6Beth Luey (ed.). 2008. Revising Your Dissertation: Advice from Leading Editors. University of California Press.