Open Access and PhD theses

It is a University requirement for all doctoral theses to be submitted electronically to the University's repository, White Rose eTheses Online (WReO). This means that the full text will be available open access vis WReO and the British Library's theses repository EthOS Open Access (OA) is a requirement of many funders, notably the UK Research Councils, the Wellcome Trust, and the European Union (see the Code of Practice for Research Degree Programmes 2017-2018 for further information or the funders' specific guidance on their web pages).

The benefits of making your thesis open access immediately

Open Access has many advantages for researchers. OA theses are directly discoverable by search engines, increasing the chance of citation and subsequent collaboration based upon the work. WReO will give your theses a stable URL allowing you to monitor the impact of your research by tracking citations and downloads, and will better protect your work against plagiarism. Making your theses Open Access can attract publishers who are able to immediately see the impact of the work and the potential for publication (evidence for open access works attracting higher citation counts can be seen through SPARC Europe's research). 

Students are entitled to embargo their thesis for a period, although increasingly this is only done in exceptional circumstances. Where there are commercial or political sensitivities it may be necessary to embargo work. Faculties have agreed a maximum length of embargo that can be applied without any additional permission, although it is important to note that if your thesis is publicly funded then the absolute maximum embargo is 12 months, other than in exceptional circumstances. Requests for embargoes that exceed the Faculty thresholds will require Faculty consideration.

There is no longer the requirement for a thesis to be embargoed to prevent "prior publication" as the researcher attempts to develop it into a monograph. Publisher policies do vary, but the exception is that a monograph would need to differ significantly from the original thesis to be considered for publication (see below for advice for specific publisher information)

Publishers’ policies on theses and prior publication

Many publishers do not state an explicit policy and you will need to make contact directly to discuss your situation. Below are some links to major publishers and information.  Information correct as of Jan 2018; you are strongly advised to contact publishers yourself to ensure your embargo is acceptable to them if you are planning on turning your thesis into a monograph.

Cambridge University Press

A monograph based on a thesis would only be considered for publication after extensive revision. Therefore, an embargo on the original thesis is not generally an essential requirement.

Edinburgh University Press

A thesis must be substantially revised before publication as a monograph. Therefore, an embargo on the original thesis is not generally an essential requirement.

Liverpool University Press

A monograph based on a thesis would only be considered for publication after extensive revision. Therefore, an embargo on the original thesis is not generally an essential requirement.

Manchester University Press

Theses must be substantially rewritten before being published as a monograph, and embargoes are required to be ‘as long as possible’. It is advisable to contact the publisher directly, to determine what embargo period would be acceptable in an individual case.

Oxford University Press

No specific guidelines are given with reference to PhD theses. However, the history section ‘will not usually consider for publication any book held in its entirety or in significant part in an institutional or commercial electronic depository.’ Contact individual journals or editors to check their policy. http://global.oup.com/

Palgrave Macmillan

Accepts proposals based on theses made available in online repositories, but these must be significantly revised. There is a general expectation that theses should have an embargo lasting 2 years after publication of the monograph. This may vary, depending on how different the monograph is from the original thesis. www.palgrave.com/gb/why-publish/early-career-researcher-hub.

Routledge

No specific policy is available. Please contact the publisher directly for guidance. www.routledge.com/

Sage

Theses posted in institutional archives are acceptable for submission, as long as they are not ‘the same or substantially the same as any previously published work’. https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/prior-publication

Taylor & Francis

Policy varies from journal to journal - check website or contact publisher for guidance. http://taylorandfrancis.com/

University of Wales Press

Monographs must be substantially different from the theses on which they are based. While the publisher respects AHRC’s embargo policies, an embargo period of 2 years is preferred. When submitting a proposal, it must be made clear if the thesis is in a repository and when it will be publicly available.

Wiley (including Blackwell)

Accepts proposals based on theses made available in university archives.  http://media.wiley.com/assets/7324/10/Best-Practice-Guidelines-on-Publishing-Ethics-2ed.pdf