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Copyright for Authors

Publishing Your Dissertation, Thesis, or Scholarly Project

Digital Commons @ SPUSPU dissertations are submitted for digital publication by ProQuest/UMI and/or Digital Commons @ SPU (DC@SPU).

ProQuest provides a guide to submitting your dissertation, covering manuscript preparation, copyright, embargoes, & more:

Submitting Your Dissertation or Thesis to ProQuest

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ProQuest will make your dissertation available in its Dissertation & Theses database, through which academic researchers can access your dissertation via an institutional subscription.  SPU subscribes to the Abstracts version of this database; however, the full text of all SPU dissertations and theses are available campus-wide.

Depending on the options you choose when completing ProQuest's Publishing Agreement, your dissertation can be made available in other ways, too -- for free on the open internet, or for sale by third parties like Google and Amazon.

The ProQuest Publishing Agreement covers a number of issues and choices that academic authors commonly face when publishing their work, including:  

  1. copyright & your rights as an author
  2. what to do when using other people's copyrighted work
  3. considering embargo options
  4. choosing traditional or Open Access publishing options

Below are some key points to be aware of when reviewing and signing your publication agreement.

1. Copyright & Your Rights as an Author

As the author, you own the copyright to your work.

This is true of your dissertation, thesis, project, a journal article, a website, or any other original creative work that you create independently.

For more information, visit Copyright for Authors

See also: Copyright and your Dissertation or Thesis: Ownership, Fair Use and Your Rights and Responsibilities (PDF), by Kenneth D. Crews

Under ProQuest's and Digital Commons @ SPU's Publication Agreement:

a. you remain the copyright owner

b. you grant a nonexclusive license to publish & distribute your dissertation

As the copyright owner, you can choose to distribute your dissertation through additional channels other than ProQuest and DC@SPU. Because the license you grant is nonexclusive, you remain free to grant similar publication or distribution rights to other individuals, publishers, etc.                                            

2. When Using Others' Copyrighted Work

Obtain copyright permission in order to include in your dissertation or thesis third party images or other materials subject to copyright. 

SPU does not itself require proof of permission to include copyrighted works in your dissertation. Authors should be aware, however, that ProQuest may remove third party works from a dissertation -- or may elect not to distribute a dissertation -- if it believes that necessary copyright permissions have not been secured.

For information on copyright permissions, including a sample permission letter for requesting permission to use a work in your SPU dissertation or thesis, visit ProQuest's Copyright Guide (PDF).

3. Embargo Options

ProQuest allows you the option of embargoing (delaying full-text access) your dissertation for:

  • 6 months
  • 1 year
  • 2 years

Digital Commons @ SPU allows embargoes of:

  • 6 months
  • 1 year
  • 18 months
  • 2 years
  • 3 years

If you choose to embargo your work, only the abstract and other descriptive information will be made available. At the end of the embargo period, full-text access will be provided. 

Because the ProQuest Agreement offers a maximum embargo of two years, authors wishing to extend their embargo with Proquest must contact ProQuest Dissertation Publishing directly.   

4. Traditional & Open Access Publishing Options with ProQuest

The ProQuest Agreement gives you a number of options for how your dissertation will be made available:

Open Access Option: dissertation is freely accessible to the public on the internet (ProQuest charges an additional fee for OA, and you will not be eligible to receive royalties (a free alternative is Digital Commons @ SPU)

Traditional Publishing Option: dissertation is available in ProQuest's Dissertation Abstracts, a subscription database. You are eligible for royalties on any sales of your work.

For more information on OA generally, visit Open Access.

Whether you choose Open Access or traditional publishing, you have additional choices:

Sales via Third Party: if you allow, ProQuest will make your dissertation available for sale commercially, via outlets such as Amazon or GoogleBooks. You may alternatively choose to prohibit third party sales.

Search Engine Discoverability: ProQuest will make your dissertation discoverable via major search engines, unless you instead choose to limit search engine access. 

Submitting your dissertation to Digital Commons @ SPU is another way to provide open access to your dissertation or thesis while increasing search engine discoverability.

Effect on Future Publishing Opportunities