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Open Access for Theses: how to deposit

Candidates for UCL research degrees are required to deposit an electronic copy of their final thesis in UCL's Research Publications Service (RPS), to be made open access in UCL's institutional repository, UCL Discovery. They must also submit a print copy to the Student Centre, to be made available for consultation in the Library. 

Theses are amongst the most highly-downloaded items in UCL Discovery. Making your thesis open access will mean that it is accessible worldwide, to anyone who wants to read it. 

Read and follow the guidelines in each of the sections below to make sure that you deposit your thesis successfully. Your degree will not be awarded until you have deposited your thesis. 

General information for research degree candidates is available on UCL's Current Students website.


Step by step guide

1. Check copyright and personal data

If your thesis contains any material subject to "third party" copyright (including copyright in your own publications that is held by a publisher), it is your responsibility to decide whether it can be made available. You should discuss this with your supervisor. 

Personal data, information that could prejudice the interests of an individual, and information whose disclosure would constitute a breach of confidence (eg. patient data) must not be made openly available.

Copyright

First, follow our step-by-step guide to copyright for theses to help you decide whether you need copyright permission, and find out how to arrange it.

Removing material or restricting access

If certain material in your thesis cannot be made available, you can either

  1. deposit a second version of your thesis without that material, as well as the complete one (see section 3 below, Prepare your documents), or
  2. deposit the complete version only, if the material is so intrinsic to the thesis, or so widely dispersed within it, that it cannot be removed - and request an appropriate restriction on access (see section 2 below, Decide on access). 
2. Decide on access

When you complete UCL's thesis Deposit Agreement Form, you will need to specify whether your thesis should be made open access immediately, or after an embargo period (delay). Embargoes on thesis should normally last no more than 12 months, but in exceptional circumstances longer embargoes are permitted. If you plan to request an embargo, please discuss the reasons with your supervisor before completing the deposit agreement form.

If your thesis cannot be made open access at all, you will still need to deposit a copy of it, but it will not be made openly available. 

The citation and abstract of your thesis will appear in UCL Discovery soon after deposit, even if the full text is under embargo or cannot be made available. 

Graduates who need to request an extension to an embargo should contact UCL's Open Access Team. 

Reasons for requesting an embargo include:

Future publicationYour thesis contains material intended for future publication (eg. as a series of articles or monograph).   
Personal dataYour thesis contains personal data, information that could prejudice the interests of an individual, or information whose disclosure would constitute a breach of confidence (eg. patient data).  This material is so intrinsic to the thesis, or so widely dispersed within it, that it is impossible to remove it.
CopyrightYour thesis contains material protected by third party copyright, that cannot be made open access. This material is so intrinsic to the thesis, or so widely dispersed within it, that it is impossible to remove it.
Commercial informationYour thesis contains sensitive information that would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of an individual or organisation, or intellectual property that may be the subject of commercial exploitation (eg. a patent application).
Contractual restrictionsAgreements with your sponsor or thesis partners include restrictions on making your thesis available.  
International relations, defence, national security, public safetyYour thesis contains material whose disclosure would be likely to adversely affect international relations, defence, national security or public safety.

Licence

By default, theses are made available in UCL Discovery under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence. Other licences are available on request (see the Deposit Agreement Form).

3. Prepare your documents

You need to deposit the following documents:

  1. An electronic copy of your final thesis (incorporating corrections), in PDF format
  2. Any supplementary files associated with your thesis
  3. A completed deposit agreement form
  • If your thesis contains third party copyright information or personal data that cannot be made open access (see section 1, Check copyright), you need to deposit a second version without that material, as well as the complete one. Please name the files clearly (eg. "complete version" and "edited version").
  • If the third party material or personal data is so intrinsic to the thesis, or so widely dispersed within it, that it cannot be removed, you need only deposit the complete version.

All deposits will be subject to the access arrangements you specify (see section 2 above, Decide on access).

PDF conversion software is available at UCL: there is more information on the ISD webpages.

If you encounter problems uploading a large file to RPS, you can split it into smaller ones. 

Separately, you will need to submit a print copy of your final thesis to the Student Centre. 

4. Deposit your thesis

To deposit your your thesis and deposit agreement form, you need to:

  • Log in to UCL's Research Publications Service (RPS)
  • Scroll down to the"My Summary" section, click +add, then click thesis/dissertation
  • Click Skip (unless you have already added your thesis to RPS)
  • Enter these details:

1. Relationship: (Author of)
2. Thesis type
3. Title
4. Abstract
5. Authors
6. Awarding institution: UCL (University College London)
7. Date awarded: [the year you expect your degree to be awarded]
8. Language
9. Page count: [total number of pages]

Optional: You can record your supervisor, and other details, in the Additional Information section.

  • Click Save & Continue
  • Click the link to deposit, then upload your thesis, any supplementary materials, and your completed deposit agreement form

If you are unable to log in to RPS, please send your files via UCL Dropbox (or an alternative file-sharing service) to open-access@ucl.ac.uk. The Open Access Team will notify you (normally within 1 working day) when your deposit is complete.

After you have deposited your thesis, the Open Access Team will check the files and make the thesis available according to any conditions you have specified (see section 2, Decide on access). If you have decided to allow immediate access, your thesis will be made available after your award date.

For help with depositing, or if you need to deposit files in non-PDF formats - eg. computer programs, video/audio files or datasets - contact the Open Access Team.