Availability of Your Electronic Dissertation
After you have submitted your electronic thesis/dissertation and the Graduate School has approved it, it will be available as follows:
- The full text will be openly available in DukeSpace, the Library's digital repository, at a unique, permanent URL
- A description will appear in the Library catalog, with a link to the text in DukeSpace
- Your thesis/dissertation will be indexed and available through search engines (such as Google)
Open access to your thesis/dissertation as described above does not affect your copyright or ownership of the content of your thesis/dissertation.
While open access is the default, you will be offered several options for restricting access (referred to as an embargo) when submitting your thesis/dissertation through ProQuest. These same embargoes will be applied to the copy made available through DukeSpace. Embargo options should be discussed with your advisor, and both the advisor and the thesis/dissertation author must sign the availability options section of the Nonexclusive Distribution License (pdf).
Options for Restricting Access to an ETD (Embargo)
There are several situations in which you should consider restricting access to your work. Duke offers three embargo options: six months, one year, and two years. These options are available when you are uploading your pdf to ProQuest (done online here.) The embargo period begins from the date the Graduate School approves your thesis/dissertation and then lasts for the selected time period. If you select an embargo, your thesis/dissertation will not be available through DukeSpace or ProQuest until the end of the embargo period. The title, abstract, attribution information, and subject classification will be available during and after the embargo in DukeSpace and the Library catalog.
Important note: If you choose to embargo your thesis/dissertation when you submit it (for six months, one year, or two years), and if at any time during the embargo period you subsequently decide that you wish to extend the embargo on electronic access to your thesis/dissertation on DukeSpace, you may write a brief email requesting an extension to the following two administrators representing the Library and the Graduate School, respectively: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Please provide the following information: your full name, the title of your thesis/dissertation, your graduation date, your email address.
If you exercise the option of an extension, open electronic access to your thesis/dissertation through DukeSpace will not be available until five years after your defense. Please be aware that this does not affect your embargo selection with ProQuest (six months, one year, two years), which is a separate distribution contract between the author (you) and ProQuest.
Below are some scenarios when an embargo should be considered:
- If your work is based on data generated through research that will support other publications from people on the research team (such as your advisor), it may be necessary to refrain from releasing that data, as it underlies your dissertation, while other publications are prepared. The embargo options in these situations should be discussed with your committee and research team.
- If you plan to apply for a patent based on research that is discussed in your dissertation, you should be aware of the rules governing prior publication of material for which a patent is sought. Generally, once patent applicants publish their ideas or invention, they have a one-year window. After one year, the applicant's own publication may be considered “prior art” that could prevent the issuance of a patent. Since electronic distribution of your dissertation through either Proquest or DukeSpace is publication for this purpose, an embargo will delay the beginning of this one-year time clock against a potential patent application. By selecting a two-year embargo, therefore, you will have a total of three years (2 year embargo plus 1 year window after publication) to submit a patent application.
- If your thesis/dissertation contains data or material that was generated pursuant to a grant or contract and the thesis/dissertation is subject to review by the sponsor or grantor prior to publication, you should select at least a six month embargo. If you are unsure whether your research falls into this area, please contact Export Controls at the Office of Research Support, 919-668-2711 .
- If you are planning to publish all or part of your thesis/dissertation and know that publishers in your field consider open access electronic thesis/dissertations to be a prior publication, you may want to consider an embargo or check on their open access policy before submitting your thesis/dissertation. For more information, see Publishing Concerns.
While the offical university copy kept by the Library and University Archives is your electronic copy, you still have several options if you, family members, or your advisor would like a paper copy:
- You can order a bound copy (paper or hardback) through ProQuest
- You can take a paper copy to the University Bookstore, where it can be bound with a library-style binding
- You can have a local copy center bind it for you (Kinko's, Staples, etc.)