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Library Research Support & Services: PhD Thesis submission

All postgraduate research students are required to deposit an electronic copy of their thesis into PEARL, the university's Open Access research repository.   Older research theses have also been digitized from Library holdings and added to PEARL.

Guidance on depositing your thesis

Depositing your thesis

The submission form will ask you to select an embargo period and give an option to licence your work.  You will need to be aware of any copyright issues (for example, including published versions of your articles, images etc.) and seek permissions or redact material accordingly.  The document gives a permissions seeking template and will advise on how to edit your document.  

For any queries on this process please contact informationspecialists@plymouth.ac.uk

Requesting embargos

Should I stipulate an embargo?

PGRs can select from 3 options in the PEARL thesis self deposit process:

  • No embargo
  • 6 month embargo
  • 12 month embargo

(NB: Embargos longer than 12 month need prior Doctoral College approval).

We recommend making your work immediately Open as this aligns with Open Scholarship principles including following funder mandates to be open in research outcome dissemination; increasing your visibility for citation; and credits you with your ideas date/time stamped with an appropriate re-use licence should others wish to re-use your work.

Scenarios where you may need to embargo your work:

Students may wish to embargo for purposes of future publication opportunities based on your thesis. However, these days, many publishers do not view thesis publishing as prior publishing and in any case would usually require a substantial review of structure for a new audience.

PEARL is a non-commercial archive of University outputs. Most publishers are understanding of the purpose of open theses via repositories and have stated that an open thesis is not considered prior publication. Some of the big publishers who support this are:

 

  • Nature‚Äč: "[we] are happy to consider submissions containing material that has previously formed part of a PhD or other academic thesis which has been published according to the requirements of the institution awarding the qualification"
  • Elsevier: "To avoid any doubt, Elsevier does not count publication of an academic thesis as prior publication."
  • Wiley: "The following types of “prior publication” do not present cause for concerns about duplicate or redundant publication:....Dissertations and theses in university archives."

 

If you have published articles you would like to include in your thesis you will need to consider whether you signed your copyright away to the publisher upon publication. Most authors do find that their publisher owns the copyright of their work (unless money has been paid to the publisher to make it Open Access). If your paper is behind a paywall you can usually include the author's accepted manuscript version into your thesis.

Accepted Manuscripts: this the version of your work that has been through peer review with revisions made. It has not yet been typeset by the publisher. It will likely be a word document. The publisher's copyright policy often states you are permitted to share these versions publicly subject to an embargo period.

You can check your publisher's embargo period for your journal using the Sherpa tool: http://sherpa.ac.uk/romeo

If your journal requires an embargo you can select this within the deposit workflow in PEARL. Remember that the embargo applies from the date of publication of the article, not your thesis deposit. Depending on when your paper was published, the embargo may already have elapsed.

This is a common reason for requiring an embargo. Please contact the Doctoral College if you require an embargo of longer than 12 months.

Thesis submission: Key resources

Further support

Further support