E-theses - Guidance for PhD students

Return to the e-theses repository

I’m going to be submitting my PhD shortly. What do I need to do?
From the academic year 2010/2011, the University is strongly encouraging all PhD students to deposit an electronic version of their final examined thesis, as well as a printed copy. (The Library requires one printed copy – your school may require an additional copy and you should check with your Graduate School office.)

All you need to do is hand in an electronic version of your thesis on CD/DVD/USB drive at the same time as you deposit the print version of your thesis. You will also need to read and sign a thesis deposit licence which covers the print and electronic versions - you can get this from your Graduate School office.

Both the printed and electronic version will not be made available for 6 months from the date of deposit. See the Library Rules and Regulations for more information, and also below for guidance on possible future publication.

Your e-thesis will be uploaded into the University’s e-thesis repository, as well as the national EThOS database, and will be available open access, free of charge, to anyone who wants to consult it.

Will I still need to deposit a print copy of my thesis?
Yes, you will still need to deposit a print copy of your thesis for the Library, and another for your School. As e-theses become more established, this requirement may change.

The Theses and Dissertations guide provides more information about producing and depositing your print and electronic versions.

What about Newcastle University theses which have already been published in print - will you be making these available electronically?
Our service is concentrating on new theses, but we also intend to add PhDs which have already been produced in print format. Nearly 200 of our most heavily requested theses are currently being digitised by the British Library, and will be made available soon.

If you completed your PhD some time ago and have an electronic version which you would like to deposit, we would be delighted to receive it – please contact us.

What about other publications produced at Newcastle, such as journal articles and dissertations?
The University already has an ‘eprint service’ which is a full-text online database of research papers and articles produced by Newcastle University staff. At the moment, there are no plans to incorporate masters dissertations into the thesis database.

How do I convert my file to PDF?
There are various ways of creating and converting to PDF, using tools such as PDF Writer or the free PDFCreator package. From Summer 2008, you will be able to save any Microsoft Office documents as a PDF if you are working in the University clusters. If you have any further queries, please contact us and we will be happy to help.

Electronic formats are changing all the time. How can I be sure my e-thesis will still be accessible online in, say, twenty years time?
We will do our best to accommodate software requirements (for example, you may have supplementary materials which have to be in a certain file format), but at the moment, we recommend you make the main body of your thesis available in PDF. This is widely accessible, regardless of hardware or software being used, and is less likely to cause compatibility problems in the future.

The thesis repository is part of a national e-theses project, so we will be working with the British Library and other universities to ensure theses are digitally preserved for future generations using the relevant technology.

What about copyright?
The person who normally owns copyright for a PhD thesis at Newcastle University is the author. However, your thesis may also contain copyright-protected material from elsewhere (for example, maps, illustrations, text, images, diagrams etc.). Such material is known as ‘third party copyright’, and you must ensure you have permission to include it in your thesis before it is published online.

We can provide more information about this to anyone intending to deposit an e-thesis, including a template letter to request permissions, but please note, the onus is on the author of the thesis to ensure the copyright permissions have been secured.

Further information is also available from the JISC Legal service.

My PhD thesis contains sensitive material – I don’t want it to be made available to the outside world.
My PhD research was funded by a commercial sponsor – they might not allow my thesis to be made available?
There may be exceptional circumstances which mean you would like to request that access to your thesis is restricted for a period of up to three years. For example, the thesis may contain commercially or otherwise sensitive content, or patent preparation.

Any students requesting a restriction will need to fill out a ‘Request to Restrict Access to a Thesis’ form when they deposit their thesis, and this must be counter-signed by their supervisor or Head of School/Institute. This form sets out the possible criteria for restricting access, in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act.

If a request for restricted access is granted, library staff will ensure that access to the electronic and/or print versions of your thesis is restricted for the required period.

If you are unsure about this, please discuss with your supervisor, and/or contact us on lib-e-theses@ncl.ac.uk

Will making my thesis available online affect my aim of publishing from it at a later date?
Your thesis (both printed and electronic versions) will not be made available to other readers for 6 months after you submit it to the library. This should allow time for you to check with your supervisor or research team if it is likely that part or all of your research will be used in a future publication and to identify a likely publisher. As it is possible that making a thesis available online may affect a publisher’s decision about publishing articles and/or monographs, you should check with your publisher beforehand. The Library can help with template letters and contact details for publishers.

If you think your chances of publication (or that of your research team) will be harmed by allowing your thesis to be made available on the e-theses service, access can be restricted for a further period to enable the material to be prepared for publication.

If my PhD is available to the outside world, won’t this lead to people plagiarising what I have written?
In fact, the reverse is true! Making your thesis available electronically will make it much easier to find out if anyone does plagiarise your work, particularly with the availability of powerful online detection services. The relative obscurity and restricted availability of theses up till now have actually made it easier for a thesis plagiarist to ‘cover their tracks’.

However, depositing your e-thesis here will make it much easier for other researchers to use and cite your work legitimately using accepted academic conventions.

An end-user licence is incorporated into Newcastle University’s e-theses service, setting out the rights and obligations of anyone accessing the e-theses.

Can I access e-theses from other universities?
An increasing number of universities are setting up e-theses repositories and/or participating in the national EThOS service, which enables researchers to access e-theses full text from around the UK.

Return to the e-theses repository

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