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). The full text of the thesis will then be made available open access via WREO and the British Library's EthOS repository. Open access is also a requirement of many funders.

The benefits of open access

Making your thesis available open access has a number of advantages:

  • Your thesis is directly discoverable by search engines, increasing the chance of citation and subsequent collaboration based upon the work.
  • WREO gives your thesis a stable URL, allowing you to monitor its impact by tracking citations and downloads, as well as protecting your work against plagiarism.
  • Making your thesis open access can attract publishers, who are immediately able to see the impact of the work and its potential for publication.

In certain circumstances, for example where there are commercial or political sensitivities, students may embargo their thesis for an approved period. However, this should be discussed with your supervisor.

You can find more information about thesis embargoes here.

There has been concern in the past that open access to theses may be regarded as “prior publication” and prevent future development into a monograph. As a thesis would generally require significant revision before being published as a monograph, many publishers do not require the thesis to be embargoed. However, if you intend to develop your thesis into a monograph, you should contact potential publishers before making a decision about embargoes, as publisher policies vary considerably.

For further information, contact OAEnquiries@sheffield.ac.uk.