Withholding Thesis / Dissertation and Copyright
ISU, as a public institution, is obliged to make our research available to the public in a timely manner. ISU discourages embargoes and requires students to use requests for embargoes with great care.
Here are some questions to consider:
- Do you have any publications as part of your thesis/dissertation? If yes, consider who owns the copyrights. If you gave up your copyrights to the publisher(s), you will need to get permission from the publisher(s) to include the publication in your thesis/dissertation. The publisher(s) may require you to embargo your thesis/dissertation under certain conditions, e.g. if the publication(s) is relatively recent.
- Do you have any patents that need to be filed? If yes, consider discussing with ISU Office of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer (OIPTT) and figure out how much time may be needed for the embargo.
- Do you wish to publish a book or manuscript? If yes, discuss with your major professor and publisher to determine if an embargo may be needed.
In the event that a temporary embargo is needed, here are the options:
- The ProQuest thesis/dissertation submission site allows authors to select a 6 months, 1-year, or 2-year embargo/hold on their dissertation/thesis. This choice will withhold the text portion of your dissertation/thesis. The title and abstract are made available to the public. If you choose an embargo time for ProQuest, also request the same amount of embargo time for the Digital Repository. At the end of the chosen hold period, your text will be released. Embargo extensions may be considered under limited circumstances, e.g. compliance with research contracts and patent filings. If an embargo extension is needed, contact Lisa Elm ()
- Creative writing students who are pursuing an MFA have an option for an extended embargo. Click here to download and complete the MFA Embargo Form.
- In rare cases, where your work is of a sensitive nature and you do not wish the title, abstract, or text to be made public for a certain period of time, you and your major professor must fill out and sign a Thesis/Dissertation Hold form and return that to the Thesis/Dissertation Office before graduation, with documentation of the publisher's conditions. E-mail correspondence or the publisher's on-line rules or specifications are often sufficient.
- If your thesis/dissertation concerns a device or process that may be patentable or has contract requirements, you or your major professor should consult with ISU Office of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer (OIPTT), before you submit the final dissertation/thesis. The Thesis/Dissertation Office will review each case.
- Copyright privileges vest immediately upon creating your work.
- You own your own copyright when you send your paper to ProQuest/UMI. You own your copyright until you formally sign it away.
Formally registering a copyright may be recommended for:
- filing a patent
- writing a book
- publishing articles
- major professor recommends it
Copyright can be formally requested when the thesis/dissertation is submitted to ProQuest for an additional $75 fee. If this option is chosen, ProQuest will submit two copies of the thesis/dissertation to the Library of Congress. Should legal issues come up, documentation of copyright has already been established. If journal papers with multiple authors are included in the dissertation/thesis, ProQuest will not accept a copyright request. A copyright can be filed later by the student on their own.
- Is it worth $75? Copyright and copyright registration for theses and dissertations
- Theses, Dissertations, and Creative Components: Rights and Responsibilities
- Copyright and Your Dissertation or Thesis: Ownership, Fair Use, and Your Rights and Responsibilities