Information for those submitting e-theses Information for those submitting e-theses

From January 2013, there has been a change of University policy regarding the deposit of your thesis.

From that date you are required to deposit one hard copy and one electronic copy with the Postgraduate Research Office, the one electronic copy will then be held in UEA's central repository on open or closed access, depending on circumstances.

The research degree will not be awarded until you have deposited two complete and readable copies of the final approved and accepted thesis with the Postgraduate Research Office as well as your two soft bound copies for examination purposes

E-theses: Frequently asked questions

Why is the second copy (Library copy) now electronic only?

There are several reasons for this change:

  1. Most theses are now "born digital" anyway so it is wasteful and expensive for PhD students to have to pay for two bound versions. Submitting an electronic version is much cheaper for the student.
  2. The British Library has ceased its interlending service for bound print theses between libraries in the UK, so bound copies can now only ever be read by visiting the University where the thesis is being held. By contrast, the British Library's EThOS service enables the "born digital" copies to be made freely available and discoverable online.

What are the advantages of theses being made available online?

  • It enables your thesis to be read and accessed by anyone without having to visit the host university library.
  • It potentially enhances your reputation as a researcher and allows you to disseminate your research more widely with minimal effort. This could lead to your research contributing more visibly to related research on the topic, make it easier for other researchers to include your work in their literature reviews, and maybe even lead to enquiries from other researchers or institutions who would like to collaborate further. Other countries, such as the US, have been providing etheses for a much longer period than the UK so this ensures UK research is not hidden in comparison with others.
  • It makes the institution's research outputs more visible, thereby enhancing the reputation of the university.
  • It contributes to the emerging open access agenda in which research papers and theses are being made available without barriers to the public, to small and medium enterprises and to other researchers. It is hoped this will increase the impact of research on social, economic and cultural levels, and enhance cross-institutional and interdisciplinary join up.

What are the potential challenges of theses being made available online? What do I need to check before submitting?

The difference between a bound copy held in a closed access section of UEA Library and an electronic version on the UEA repository is that the electronic version is regarded legally as a form of publishing.

For many theses this will not be an issue but all researchers submitting their electronic (Library) version will need to be careful to check whether any of the following apply:
  • Confidential information: Is there any confidential information in your thesis? This is sensitive personal information that you may have gathered from participants of organizations under a promise of confidentiality. This material can be included for examination purposes (for which the audience is limited to your supervisors, markers and external examiners), but not for open access online to the rest of the world.
  • Third party copyright material: This refers to material created by other third parties including lengthy quotations, images, photographs, graphs, tables, maps, etc. Copyright applies to both published and unpublished works. Inclusion of material by other authors, such as; long quotes, images, photographs, tables and maps from published or unpublished works. This material can be included for examination purposes (for which the audience is limited to your supervisors, markers and external examiners), but not for open access online to the rest of the world without permission from the rights holder for e‐theses submission.
  • Commercial information: Is there any commercially sensitive material in your thesis? You may be researching in an area where patents are pending or there may be an agreement with sponsors not to make certain findings openly available for a period of time.
  • Related publications: Is there a related journal or other publication pending which includes substantial parts of the findings or outputs of your thesis

What do I do if my thesis does include confidential or non-cleared copyright or commercial or prepublication material?

Option 1: Obtain the rights needed and then submit the electronic copy as normal for open access. Ideally you should first see if you can obtain the necessary permissions. Further guidance on obtaining permissions is given in this booklet "UEA: Your thesis and copyright". We realise obtaining all the rights needed may not always be possible depending on the time available.

Option 2: You can ask to restrict access to your thesis for up to 3 years by requesting an embargo when you complete the Research Degree Entry form. Your deposited thesis will be added to the repository on closed access and will be marked as embargoed. It will not be made available in UEA's repository or via EthOS until the end of the restricted period. You will need to make it clear on the Research Degree Entry Form that you have chosen this option and the reasons why.

Option 3: If only small parts of your thesis are affected, you could consider providing an additional redacted electronic copy which has the sections of concern edited or redacted. This redacted version can then be made available on open access, without an embargo, enabling you to secure the benefits of open access.

Do I still need to hand in two bound copies of my thesis?

No. You are now required to submit one printed and one electronic copy of your thesis as per the University regulations. See UEA Academic Calendar - Section 3 - Regulations (Awards) - Rules for the Form of Theses (Research Degrees. In addition, you will still need to submit two soft bound copies for examination purposes.

How do I deposit my thesis?

You will need to complete a signed Research Degree Entry Form and return it to the Postgraduate Research Service when you first submit your thesis. The entry form will apply to both the hard copy and electronic copy/ies of your thesis. 

After the examination process has been completed and confirmation has been received from the examiner(s) that any corrections required have been satisfactorily completed, one hard bound copy and one electronic copy in PDF format on a CD, DVD or USB flash drive should be deposited with the Postgraduate Research Service.

How will people find theses held by UEA Library?

UEA's repository will hold the theses and this can be searched locally, but is also harvested by major search engines. This includes EThOS, a UK wide thesis service has recently been developed, which this will harvest from UEA's repository. Read more about Ethos.

What format does my thesis need to be in?

The electronic copy should be submitted as one file in PDF format on a CD, DVD or USB flash drive. You may include Excel or other additional data files if appropriate. The electronic copy/ies must be submitted at the same time as the final version of the printed copy and should be identical to the printed version. Depending on circumstances, you may also wish to submit a redacted electronic version.

Will you return my disc or flash drive?

Yes, if you provide us with a stamped addressed envelope. If not, then we will dispose of it in an appropriate manner.

What should I name my file?

The file should be saved in the following way: Yearlastnameinitialsdegree.pdf
e.g. 2010BloggsJBPhD.pdf

Do I need to label my CD, DVD or memory stick?

Yes, your name, school and thesis title should be detailed.

Where can I find advice on copyright of material used within my thesis?

Speak to your supervisor in the first instance. There are sessions run within the PPD programmes on copyright training, and we have produced a booklet "UEA: Your thesis and copyright" with advice.

How do I convert my thesis to PDF format?

Information on converting your thesis to PDF

How do I get help?

See UEA Calendar for the regulations governing thesis submission.

If you'd like more information about e-theses, please contact Jane Helgesen, Head of Academic Liaison.

If you have any queries about copyright, please contact Dave Palmer, the University Information and Policy Compliance Manager