Restricting Access to Your Thesis
In a very small number of cases it may be necessary to seek to restrict access for a period of time to the final version of your thesis. Usually this is because the thesis contains material which is commercially sensitive or which is subject to constraints imposed by a commercial sponsor. Where such a restriction is needed, research students can request that their thesis is placed under an embargo.
Is an embargo needed?
An embargo is normally only needed in cases where the thesis contains:
- personal information about an identifiable living person or persons
- commercially sensitive information
or is otherwise subject to constraints imposed by an external research sponsor/partner.
It is not usually necessary to impose an embargo where the research student is seeking to publish their work; most publishers will still accept work based on a research degree thesis even if the thesis has been added to an online repository such as the Leicester Research Archive. However, it is important to check the relevant publisher's license agreement conditions - read the advice on pre-publication concerns.
Whatever your reasons, if you feel an embargo may be needed you should first discuss this with your supervisor.
How do embargos work?
During the embargo period, your thesis is not available for either loan or consultation:
- the printed copy is withheld from the University Library collection
- the ethesis is withheld from both the Leicester Research Archive and the EThOS
All embargos require the prior approval of the Graduate Dean. The maximum embargo period is three years. Requests for embargos of more than three years or requests to extend an approved embargo beyond three years will be considered only in exceptional circumstances.
How do I request an embargo?
Embargos must be requested at least three months before the first submission of your thesis to the Graduate School Office.
If you and your supervisor agree that an embargo is needed, you should make a written request to the Graduate Dean. The request should describe:
- the length of embargo period sought (noting that the maximum is three years)
- the reason(s) for needing the embargo
Please note that if the reason for needing the embargo relates to pre-publication concerns, you should indicate the publishers you are hoping to work with and provide links to their licensing conditions where it is stated that deposit in an online research repository would constitute pre-publication. The Sherpa/Romeo website has information on the standard license agreements for major academic publishers.
Your request to the Graduate Dean should be accompanied by a short written statement of support from your supervisor(s) - we would therefore suggest that you first email your request to your supervisor(s) so that a supporting statement can be added before it is forwarded to the Graduate Dean.
The embargo request and supporting statement can be sent to the Graduate Dean by email to email@example.com or in hard copy via the Graduate School Office in the Fielding Johnson Building.
Approvals and Embargo Periods
Embargo requests will be considered by the Graduate Dean who will give you written notice of her decision. If the embargo is approved, you should retain a copy of the approval notice as you will need to bring this with you when you make the first submission of your thesis to the Graduate School Office.
Please note that even if an embargo has been approved, you must still submit an electronic copy of the final version of your thesis - this will then be stored securely until the end of the embargo period.
Read more about submitting your ethesis.
Once the embargo period has expired, your thesis will be made available for loan and consultation through the University Library and will also be added to the Leicester Research Archive and the EThOS.