Availability to Public

ISU is obliged to make our research available to the public in a timely manner. ISU discourages embargoes of graduate students’ research findings, though temporary delays can be approved in various circumstances, including when necessary to comply with research contracts and patent filings.

The Graduate College requires that creative components, theses, and dissertations are publicly available through our library repository and ProQuest, but the college defers decisions on the content of these documents to students’ advisory committees. Individual committees have the authority to determine whether the entirety of a student’s research must appear in a creative component, thesis, or dissertation. In all cases, the quantity and quality of scholarship included in one of these documents must meet or exceed the committee’s minimum standards for the degree, as well as the standards imposed by the student’s graduate academic program(s).


Guidelines for Sponsored Research and Intellectusal Property Research

  • Confidential or proprietary information subject to non-disclosure obligations, including information covered by a non-disclosure agreement or sponsored project agreement, OR intellectual property research that cannot be released to the public in a timely manner (within two years or less) should not be included in a creative component, thesis, or dissertation or any chapters. The major professor and the student understand and agree that a copy of the creative component, thesis, or dissertation, excluding any confidential details, will be made publicly available upon final approval by the Graduate College unless the student secures prior approval for a temporary embargo from ISU’s Graduate College in accordance with the Graduate College Handbook.
    See Withholding Thesis/Dissertation and Copyright for embargo guidelines.

  • No redactions (black marks covering content) to a creative component, thesis, or dissertation will be accepted by the Graduate College in compliance with the ISU Digital Accessibility Policy.

  • In the event that the non-disclosure agreement specifies that the student’s research contains proprietary information or intellectual property that can never be published, the following recommendation should be considered:

    1. A full creative component/thesis/dissertation with confidential material should be used for the final exam. This version is seen only by the POS committee and sponsor.

    2. A version that excludes proprietary information or intellectual property research will not include certain details or sections. A redaction statement for each instance of removed content can be inserted, explaining the reason for the redaction, such as to remain compliant with a research contract.

      Example redaction statement: Information in this subsection was approved by the student’s faculty advisers and sponsor but excluded from this document according to a related non-disclosure agreement.

      Additionally, in the Introduction Chapter/Section, the student should mention that this is a modified version of a more complete document that was reviewed by faculty advisers and sponsor(s). This version will be used to submit to the Graduate College, ProQuest, and the library repository, and it will be published immediately or after a temporary embargo. This modified version will need to be approved by the POS committee, program director, and sponsor, and it must be consistent with the committee’s and graduate program’s standards for the degree.


For questions regarding confidential information and sponsored projects, the major professor and graduate student should consult with the Office of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer for all non-disclosure agreements and sponsored projects with industry and commodity groups. Consult with the Office of Sponsored Programs Administration for sponsored projects from federal, state, governmental, and non-profit sponsors.