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Thesis preparation

What are the benefits of making my thesis available electronically on the ECU Repository, Research Online?

Inclusion in the Institutional Repository ensures that theses will be accessible to all interested readers worldwide via the Web.

Both theses authors and the University benefit in having higher degree students' research gain worldwide exposure and the potential for research collaborations in the future is increased.

Is it compulsory for me to make my thesis available electronically?

It is compulsory to submit an electronic copy of research degrees to the University Library.

However, it is not necessarily compulsory to have your thesis placed immediately onto the Repository for open access.

You will be required to indicate the level of access to provide to your thesis via the Final Thesis submission form.

It is possible to restrict part or all of your thesis from public open access via this form .

ECU only access for all theses will be made electronically available via the Library catalogue.

How do I submit a thesis?

Newly graduating students:

Please see Submit a Thesis.


Past research students can submit their thesis for deposit into Research Online by downloading and completing the Final Thesis submission form and sending it along with an electronic copy of their thesis to

Submit as a PDF file

The manuscript of your dissertation or thesis must be submitted in Adobe PDF format.

When preparing the PDF file, be sure to do the following:

  • make sure there is no password protection on the PDF file
  • ensure that security settings allow printing

The University Library makes no changes to the formatting or content of submitted theses.

Therefore, the burden of how the thesis looks when it is accessed or printed is entirely the responsibility of the author.

It is recommended that authors take responsibility for reformatting the document into Adobe PDF, for checking the reformatted document for accuracy, and for submitting the PDF document to research assessments for final submission.

I am doing a creative arts PhD and there will be a DVD containing a movie submitted to the examiners along with the written component. Do I submit the DVD with the digital copy of my thesis?

Please submit a copy of the DVD containing the movies in addition to the print thesis.

Many types of electronic files can be loaded onto the Repository, including music files, video files, spreadsheets, and so on.

Including supplementary material with your submission

More and more graduate authors are including supplementary digital materials with their dissertations or theses.

These can range from an audio file or spreadsheet all the way to a software program written as part of a dissertation.

Do not embed media files in your PDF. Either add these files as separate attachments, or provide discs containing the material.

Do add a description of each supplementary file in your abstract.

Supporting documentation for supplementary materials

If you are going to include multimedia material covered under someone else's copyright - an audio or video clip, a digital photograph, etc. - you must provide us with a copy of the written permission you have obtained that permits you to include it.

If you are including third party software with your submission, you must provide written permission to distribute it.

Will my thesis be more open to plagiarism if it is available on the Web?

Plagiarism is a concern for researchers.

However by publishing on the Web for all to view, it is easier to track plagiarism than if the thesis was not easily available.

If you have further concerns, please contact Research Online

How do I know whether there are any copyright issues related to my thesis?

Parts of your thesis maybe subject to copyright restrictions. These parts or the whole document may be given restricted access.

Please contact Research Online for further information.

Inclusion of other people's copyrighted material

Including material produced by other authors in your dissertation or thesis can serve a legitimate research purpose, but you want to avoid copyright infringement in the process.

Republishing someone else's work, even in abbreviated form, requires permission from the author(s) or copyright owner.

You must receive permission from the author(s) or copyright owner and include it with your submission before we can publish it in your thesis.

A suggested form letter is available to assist. Some publishers provide online forms via their websites to seek permissions.

If you are unable to seek or gain permissions to include material which you do not own you have the option to remove these items and replace them with full references in order to allow your thesis to go online.

Most issues occur with images, graphics, tables and appendices. It is recommended that you review these problematic areas.

Will I be able to publish the results of my thesis if it's on the Repository?

Yes. You do not give up the rights to publish your thesis by inclusion in the Repository.

Publishers in general do not consider the inclusion of a thesis in an Institutional Repository as publication.

However if you are considering publishing your thesis, you should check the policies of likely publishers in your field.

A good first step is to check publisher web sites for policies related to "self archiving", "institutional repositories" or theses in general.

My thesis contains culturally sensitive material, or contains sensitive corporate, or patent pending material. Can I restrict part or all of my thesis?

Embargo options

You may restrict some chapters of your thesis temporarily or permanently, or place an embargo on the whole thesis. This is achieved via the Final Thesis submission form.

Download forms and documents

Research Online also offers a number of mechanisms that can help address concerns about prior publication and its potential to impact future publishing opportunities, or restrictions due to sensitive or corporate material.

For example, an author may chose to have a full restriction on the display of their manuscript but nonetheless allow us to preserve their manuscript in electronic form and to further include the citation and abstract information.

The restriction may allow for release of the manuscript after a designated period of time (an embargo), or may be in place indefinitely until the author rescinds the restriction (full restriction).

If the concern arises after submission of the thesis, we are also able to apply these types of restrictions prospectively upon request of the author in writing to

Why are only First Class Honours, Doctorate and Master by Research theses being collected electronically?

It is University policy to only accept First Class Honours, Masters by Research and Doctoral theses electronically.

Do I have to talk to my supervisor before submitting?

It is recommended that you discuss deposit in the Repository with your supervisor.

It is also a good idea to contact Research Online for advice before submitting as they can provide useful information that makes the whole process simpler.

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