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Open Access

OA Dissertations and Theses

UC San Diego Dissertations are archived and disseminated through Proquest UMI (subscription-based) and eScholarship (open access).

UC OA Dissertation Policy: Several UC campuses have established policies requiring open access to the electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) written by their graduate students. As of March 25, 2020, there is now a systemwide Policy on Open Access for Theses and Dissertations, indicating that UC “requires theses or dissertations prepared at the University to be (1) deposited into an open access repository, and (2) freely and openly available to the public, subject to a requested delay of access (“embargo”) obtained by the student.”

In accordance with these policies, campuses must ensure that student ETDs are available open access via eScholarship (UC’s open access repository and publishing platform), at no cost to students. By contrast, ProQuest, the world’s largest commercial publisher of ETDs, charges a $95 fee to make an ETD open access. Institutions worldwide have moved toward open access ETD publication because it dramatically increases the visibility and reach of their graduate research. 

Will publishing my dissertation open access immediately with no embargo affect the acceptance of publications derived from it?

From Rachael Samberg's (UC Berkeley) FAQ for Copyright and Publishing Your Dissertation.

Certain publishers in particular disciplines may consider dissertations to be prior publications, and/or limit their consideration of a subsequent journal article or book manuscript based on the dissertation. Some authors may therefore wish to embargo due to concern that open access availability will impact consideration of subsequent publications derived from their dissertations.

Note that this is untrue for the majority of publishers.

  • To the contrary, academic publishers typically view prior open access publication as a means to improve acceptance for a book deal due to increased awareness of your work.
  • While numbers vary significantly by discipline, a 2013 study on electronic theses and dissertations indicates that more than 90% of university presses will consider an open access dissertation for book publication. See also a similar 2011 survey.
  • Keep in mind, too, that your dissertation will be revised and rewritten significantly if/when you shape it into a manuscript for a first book. Most publishers accordingly view this as entirely new work.
  • If you are instead concerned about acceptance for future journal articles rather than books, take a look at the guidelines for the particular journals in which you're interested. For instance, Springer Nature and Wiley - which do not count theses as prior publications.

Ultimately, you should check with the guidelines of the publishers you are considering. It is also important to familiarize yourself with the policies in your field.

Open Access to Undergraduate Scholarship and Research