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Open Access Dissertations & Theses

1. Where can I find UC Dissertations and Theses online?
2. Does UC require me to make my dissertation/thesis open access?
3. If my campus has an open access requirement, can I delay access?
4. I’m working on my dissertation/thesis and I have copyright questions. Where can I find answers?

1. Where can I find UC Dissertations and Theses online?

Seven of the UC campuses currently make their electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) openly accessible to readers around the world. You can view them in eScholarship, UC’s open access repository. The campuses currently sharing ETDs in eScholarship are:

  • Berkeley
  • Irvine
  • UCLA
  • Merced
  • Riverside
  • San Diego
  • Santa Cruz

2. Does UC require me to make my dissertation/thesis open access?

It depends on your campus. Seven campuses (see list above) make their theses and dissertations open access in eScholarship, at no cost to students. By contrast, ProQuest, the world’s largest commercial publisher of ETDs, charges a $95 fee to make an ETD open access. Institutions worldwide have moved toward open access ETD publication because it dramatically increases the visibility and reach of their graduate research. To learn more about the policies at your campus, visit your graduate division website on dissertation and thesis requirements:

3. If my campus has an open access requirement, can I delay access?

Some campuses allow students to elect their own embargo; others require approval from graduate advisors or administrators. To learn more about the potential problems or advantages of choosing an embargo, you can read this memo from Rosemary Joyce, the Associate Dean of the Graduate Division of UC Berkeley:

Discussions have also appeared in:

4. I’m working on my dissertation/thesis and I have copyright questions. Where can I find answers?

Students writing dissertations or theses most commonly have questions about their own copyright ownership or the use of other people’s copyrighted materials in their own work.

You automatically own the copyright in your dissertation or thesis as soon as you create it, regardless of whether you register it include a copyright page or copyright notice. Most students choose not to register. Those who do register their copyrights do so because they value having their copyright ownership officially and publicly recorded. Getting a copyright registered is required before you can sue someone for infringement.

If you decide to register your copyright, you can do so

  • directly, through the Copyright Office website, for $35
  • by having ProQuest/UMI contact the Copyright Office on your behalf, for $65.

Incorporating the works of others in your dissertation – such quotations or illustrative images – is often allowed by copyright law. This is the case when the original work isn’t protected by copyright, or if the way you’re using the work would be considered fair use. In some circumstances, however, you will need permission from the copyright holder.  For more information, please consult the Berkeley Library’s guide to Copyright and Publishing Your Dissertation.

For more in depth information about copyright generally, visit the UC Copyright site.

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