Open Access Policy Statement
As a public institution, the University of Iowa (UI) is committed to providing access to the theses and dissertations of all graduates through the UI Institutional Repository (IR).
Once I Graduate, Who Has Access to My Thesis or Dissertation?
Upon completion of your degree, your thesis or dissertation (hereafter ‘electronic thesis deposit’ or ETD) is made available in two locations: 1) ProQuest and 2) Iowa Research Online, which is the open access repository of The University of Iowa Libraries. Upon delivery to ProQuest, your ETD is available for purchase through ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global (PQDT Global). Upon delivery to Iowa Research Online, your ETD is catalogued and made available to the public.
Additionally, Iowa Research Online will provide graduates with monthly usage statistics, which include the number of full text downloads of their work. ETDs are used much more than their print counterparts, and providing these data to graduates demonstrates the value and reach of their research. If you have any questions about usage data or if you do not receive your usage information, please contact the University Library.
The University of Iowa Libraries archives one copy of each hard-copy deposit (M.F.A. only) and binds a second copy for use in the University Libraries.
By submitting my thesis or dissertation to the Graduate College, I am not making any decisions about the timeline for dissemination of my work. I understand that upon graduation, however, my ETD will be made available to ProQuest for electronic distribution according to the instructions I provide. I also grant the University of Iowa the nonexclusive right to reproduce, distribute, display, and transmit my ETD to make it available to the public through Iowa Research Online. Other than those rights granted to ProQuest and to the University of Iowa needed to make my ETD available online, I retain all other rights to the copyright in my work, including the right to use it in other works such as articles and books.
Embargo, or Delaying the Dissemination of Your Thesis or Dissertation
An embargo delays the publication of your thesis for a specific period: one or two years. Indefinite embargoes are not allowed by the University of Iowa. When deciding whether to place an embargo on your work, the best place to start is a conversation with your thesis supervisor. Your thesis supervisor knows your work and what you’d like to accomplish with it. They also understand the norms of your discipline, which can have a big impact on the publication choices you make.
How Do I Know if I Should Choose an Embargo?
Although it might be tempting to assume that limiting access to your thesis is the best choice, this often isn’t the case. For example, a 2013 study found that many journals and university presses do not consider delaying the release of the thesis to be necessary. This is because thesis content must undergo substantial revisions before it can be published as a journal article or monograph (Ramirez, Marisa L., John T. Dalton, Gail McMillan, Max Read, and Nancy H. Seamans. 2013. "Do Open Access Electronic Theses and Dissertations Diminish Publishing Opportunities in the Social Sciences and Humanities? Findings from a 2011 Survey of Academic Publishers." College & Research Libraries 74, no. 4: 368-80). In fact, having your work available in an open access format can benefit you as a professional. Having your thesis discoverable means a publisher might see and take an interest in your work. Academic publishers are always on the lookout for new scholarship, and if yours isn’t available, they won’t be able to find it. And finally, because scholarship benefits from the exchange of new ideas, the publication of your thesis allows your scholarly contributions to be made available for others.
Keeping these benefits in mind, there may be times when placing your thesis under embargo is necessary. For example, consider an embargo if you are looking to publish content from your thesis with a publisher—either a journal or press—that considers the thesis a prior publication. You may contact the publisher directly to determine its policies, or find a listing of publisher policies online. Both the MIT and CalTech Libraries, for example, have clearinghouses where you can check publisher policies.
If you have sensitive or confidential information about people or technologies, consider placing an embargo on your thesis. Consider an embargo if your thesis includes information that was generated from a grant or contract and you have an agreement that includes a prepublication review. And finally, choose an embargo if you have information in your thesis that relates to a patent application. The Copyright Alliance provides a basic overview of the differences between copyright, patent, and trademark – all three types of intellectual property – on its website here.
When submitting your thesis on ProQuest, indicate the length of the embargo (one or two years) and provide the reason for requesting it. Once the Graduate College accepts your thesis, access to the full text of the thesis is restricted for the embargo period. However, the title and scholarly abstract are available via ProQuest and the title as well as scholarly and public abstracts are available via Iowa Research Online, the open access repository of the University Libraries. Once the embargo period expires, both ProQuest and the University Libraries will publish the thesis. Theses embargoed for patent-related reasons will not be released to ProQuest or Iowa Research Online until the embargo period expires.
Please make sure you have registered a permanent email address with ProQuest so we may communicate with you regarding important embargo information and dates. It is your responsibility to track the embargo expiration date. Complete this form to request an embargo extension from the Graduate College.