The Catholic University of America

Online Doctoral Dissertation Submission Frequently Asked Questions

 

Introduction

 

The Submission and Deposit Process

 

The Copyright and the Embargo

 

Working with Publishers

 

Access

 

Introduction

Introduction to ETD Submissions

The Catholic University of America requires ETD submission for Doctoral Dissertations only. If you are working on a Master's Thesis or Licentiate degree, you will be submitting a paper copy to the Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies, and not following this process.

What is an ETD?

“ETD” stands for “Electronic Theses and Dissertations”, and simply put, an ETD is an electronic copy of a doctoral dissertation or masters’ thesis. These copies can then be made available on a long-term basis as a replacement for paper copies added to a library’s shelves.

An ETD not only saves library shelf space, but can provide a student’s academic work to a wider audience than the library shelf could ever do. An ETD also saves time and money for graduate students by providing easier workflow for submitting a final dissertation copy.

What is ProQuest?

ProQuest Dissertation Publishing has been publishing dissertations and theses since 1938, and has published over 2 million graduate works from graduate schools around the world in that time. Their Dissertations and Theses-Full Text database contains the majority of dissertations published in the United States and is widely used by scholars worldwide.

When a student submits a dissertation to ProQuest, ProQuest will make that dissertation visible to scholars whose institutions provide paid access to the database, and that dissertation can be searched alongside other dissertations in the database. 

ProQuest also sells full-text, bound copies of dissertations directly to the public through their Dissertation Publishing division.

ProQuest allows authors to make specific choices about how their work will be distributed, including allowing an embargo to be placed on access for specified periods of time, or allowing the dissertation to be made freely available to users worldwide through the open access option. For more information on these options, submittal specifics, and explanations on which option would be best suited for your academic and professional needs, please visit the ProQuest website.

ProQuest does charge fees for submission, and the service has particular formatting and copyright requirements. Again, for more information of these fees and requirements, please visit the ProQuest website.

What is the difference between ProQuest and ETD@CUA?

ProQuest is a commercial vendor of databases and other information products, has over 700 active university publishing partners, and publishes more than 70,000 new graduate works each year. In addition to publishing, ProQuest provides access to graduate works for thousands of libraries around the world.

ETD@CUA is a part of DigitalScholarship@CUA, the Catholic University of America institutional repository of scholarly and research products of the CUA academic community. It collects, organizes, preserves, and provides free, open, and long-term access to CUA dissertations and thesis.

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The Submission and Deposit Process 

Why should I deposit my dissertation through ProQuest and ETD@CUA?

There are many benefits to contributing your work to ETD@CUA:

  • Your dissertation will be freely available to anyone who has access to the Internet.
  • Your dissertation will never be hidden in a dark corner of the Mullen Library forever.
  • Materials in ETD@CUA are open to search engine indexing, which makes it easy for people to find it.
  • Your ownership and copyrights to your dissertation will be indicated and will be guarded by the people who can freely access that dissertation.
  • Your dissertation will be preserved for long-term access with a permanent URL.
  • You have options to select an embargo period (see below).

Are there special concerns that I need to be aware of when submitting a dissertation to an online environment such as ProQuest and ETD@CUA?

In an online environment such as ETD@CUA, issues surrounding copyright and permissions are more complex.  We discuss this in greater detail below.  You will also need to consider whether to impose an embargo period to ensure that if you decide to convert the dissertation to a scholarly monograph or journal article, a future publisher will not view the existing digital copy as a barrier to publication.  These issues can be discipline-specific, and we recommend that you discuss them with your dissertation advisor.

What guidelines do I need to follow for formatting my dissertation?

Students are again asked to refer to the CUA Copyright Guidelines and The CUA Explanation of Licenses and Copyrights for information on determining whether and how to seek permission for any copyrighted material such as images, charts, graphs, media, etc. that you wish to include in your dissertation. 

If you have sought and been granted permission for such material, you should also be careful to review whether the permission obtained from the original author(s) is sufficient to enable to you to put your work online for open access.  

If you are concerned that third-party material exceeds Fair Use parameters, and you are unable to obtain sufficient permission to use it, you may need to remove such material from the deposited work as a precautionary matter.

Will my dissertation remain available at ProQuest and/or ETD@CUA for perpetuity?

As a member of the Washington Research Library Consortium (WRLC), the John K. Mullen of Denver Library (the holder of the ETD@CUA Depository) remains committed to the durability and sustainability of scholarship as deposited in ETD@CUA.  The Mullen Library staff and ETD@CUA use standard data management practices, including security and backup procedures, to provide a reasonable assurance that files will remain retrievable over time. 

However, while a modern library staff no longer needs to worry as much about moths or bookworms, even the era of “cloud” technology and off-site servers cannot 100% guarantee permanent access to online materials. Therefore, CUA recommends that all of her doctoral students and scholars keep personal copies of their dissertation files in both print and digital format.

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The Copyright and the Embargo

What do I need to know about copyrights?

Before you submit your doctoral dissertation online, before you even begin your dissertation, it is very important that you familiarize yourself with the basics of copyright law and understand its implications for your work.  This is especially true when any student is planning to submit a dissertation for public access through online services such as ProQuest or ETD@CUA. Remember, just as your copyright will be protected through public access, potential copyright violations are more apparent because of the higher visibility of the dissertation and the wider audience that it will reach. 

Therefore, before beginning the online process, students are encouraged to review the CUA Copyright Guidelines and The CUA Explanation of Licenses and Copyrights, which are provided as a general introduction, and which include links to additional sources with substantial information.

May I include copyrighted material in the version of my dissertation that I upload to ProQuest and ETD@CUA?

Students are again asked to refer to the CUA Copyright Guidelines and The CUA Explanation of Licenses and Copyrights for information on determining whether and how to seek permission for any copyrighted material such as images, charts, graphs, media, etc. that you wish to include in your dissertation. 

If you have sought and been granted permission for such material, you should also be careful to review whether the permission obtained from the original author(s) is sufficient to enable to you to put your work online for open access.  

If you are concerned that third-party material exceeds Fair Use parameters, and you are unable to obtain sufficient permission to use it, you may need to remove such material from the deposited work as a precautionary matter.

If you have further questions on Fair Use parameters, Creative Commons licenses, copyrights and permissions, please feel free to contact the Office of the General Counsel, visit the General Counsel website, or consult the ProQuest publication Copyright and Your Dissertation or Thesis: Ownership, Fair Use, and Your Rights and Responsibilities.

Why do I have to agree to The ETD@CUA Submission Copyright Statement, and what does it say?

In order to deliver written works and other copyrighted materials to the public, both ProQuest and ETD@CUA must have consent from the copyright holder. The ETD@CUA Submission Copyright Statement asks you, the author, to confirm that you are the copyright holder and that you have obtained any necessary permissions for any third-party material included in the thesis or dissertation.  In addition, if portions of your dissertation were previously published, the agreement confirms that you have retained the rights to place this material online.

What rights do I grant The University when I deposit my dissertation in ETD@CUA?

  • You grant The Catholic University of America (“Institution”), your academic department (“Department”), and Digital Scholarship at CUA (“Repository”) the non-exclusive right to reproduce and/or distribute the doctoral submission (including the metadata and abstract) to students, faculty, staff, and walk-in users of CUA libraries, and those libraries of the Washington Research Library Consortium (WRLC), in any format or medium, for non-commercial, research, educational, or related academic purposes only.
  • You authorize The Catholic University of America to allow CUA community users of the repository to distribute your doctoral submission (including the metadata and abstract) in any format or medium, for CUA internal, non-commercial, research, educational, or related academic purposes only.
  • You authorize The Catholic University of America to translate the doctoral submission into any medium or format and keep more than one copy for the purposes of security, back up and long-term preservation of the scholarly record. 

What rights do I assert when I deposit my dissertation in ETD@CUA?

  • The submission is your original work, and/or that you have the right to grant the rights contained in this license.
  • The submission does not, to the best of your knowledge, infringe upon anyone's copyright.
  • The submission contains no libelous or other unlawful matter and makes no improper invasion of the privacy of any other person.
  • If the submission contains material for which you do not hold copyright and that exceeds fair use, you represent that you have obtained the unrestricted permission of the copyright owner to grant The Catholic University of America the rights required by this license, and that such third-party owned material is clearly identified and acknowledged within the text or content of the submission.
  • If the submission is based upon work that has been sponsored or supported by an agency or organization other than The Catholic University of America, such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, or private funder(s), you represent that you have fulfilled any right of review, confidentiality, or other obligations required by that contract or agreement.

What rights do I reserve when I deposit my dissertation in ETD@CUA?

  • The Catholic University of America will clearly identify your name(s) as the author(s) or owner(s) of the submission, and will not make any alteration, other than as allowed the license you grant to The Catholic University of America, to my submission.
  • You do not give up the copyright to your work, and you do not give up the right to submit the work to publishers or share it with other repositories or individuals. 

What is an embargo?

An embargo is a period of time during which your dissertation is saved in ProQuest or ETD@CUA but is not available for worldwide distribution. While under embargo, the metadata (title, abstract, etc.) for your work is available to the world, but the full text of your work is not.  You set the embargo period, which may be 1 year, 2 years or 5 years. ProQuest offers these same embargo periods (though not the 5-year option) for dissertations submitted to their database.

These parameters are indicated on The ETD@CUA Submission Copyright Statement when you deposit your work.

Why would I use an embargo?

There are several reasons why you would consider an embargo.  One is to protect your ability to publish your work; see the following question for more on this.  Other reasons would be to satisfy requirements for review of grant-sponsored research, to protect data being utilized by a team of researchers of which you are a part, or to protect your ability to apply for a patent based on your research.  It is important that you discuss any such considerations with your major professor, department chair or school dean prior to your deposit with ProQuest and ETD@CUA

While the staff in the Mullen Library or Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies cannot provide advice regarding the need for or proper length of embargoes, we are committed to working with you to ensure that your need for an embargo is met.  Please contact us the Office of Graduate Studies at cua-graduatestudies@cua.edu or the Mullen Library staff at libraries.cua.edu/form/contact.cfm if you need to discuss a longer embargo period.

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Working with Publishers

Will publishers be willing to accept a book or article based on my dissertation for publication in my dissertation is already available at ProQuest or ETD@CUA?

ProQuest has useful advice on this question. Recent research (see here and here) also confirms that most publishers will generally not reject a submission based on prior publication as an ETD. Please see the “Advice to Graduate Students Based on the 2011 Publishers’ Survey” section of the first article for some practical advice about approaches to publication.

However, be aware that policies will vary from publisher to publisher. If you are in doubt about the future publication of your dissertation, you may want to consider an embargo period, during which your dissertation is saved in ProQuest or ETD@CUA but not available for public view.  An embargo may be used to balance publishers’ interests in being the first to publish scholarly books or articles, while also ensuring that scholarship is accessible to the general public within a reasonable period of time. During the embargo the abstract and metadata for your submission can be made public while the full text remains hidden.

If parts of my dissertation have previously been published elsewhere, may I still deposit in ETD@CUA?

If parts of your dissertation have previously been published, such as in a journal article or book, you will need to check the copyright transfer agreement of the journal or book that you signed at the time of publication. The agreement may make explicit reference to your right to deposit in your institution’s digital repository, along with any specific guidelines to follow. You can also check the publisher’s website. Many major academic publishers now have clear statements about author’s rights on their websites, and many are generous in allowing their authors to deposit a version of a work in a repository.

The SHERPA/RoMEO site provides a useful compilation of many major publishers’ policies.

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Access

Who can access ETD@CUA to search for and download my dissertation? What can users of ETD@CUA do with the content that I have submitted?

Dissertations circulate to CUA borrowers with valid, updated library privileges, including students from other Washington Research Library Consortium (WRLC) schools. The locations and call numbers for dissertations and masters theses can be found in the WRLC Libraries Catalog.

Patrons may also access electronic copies of dissertations dated after 1996 through Dissertation Abstracts International, a database searchable by title, author, school, area of study, and more. The "Free Download" button in a dissertation record indicates its electronic availability.

ETD@CUA does not lend CUA dissertations dated 1962 or later through Interlibrary Loan or copy them. These dissertations are available for purchase through University Microfilms International (UMI), at www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/disexpress.shtml.

Dissertations dated before 1962 may be copied or borrowed through Interlibrary Loan by persons not affiliated with CUA or the WRLC. Contact your local public, academic, or business library for details. 

What if I have a question not answered here?

Please contact the Mullen Library staff at libraries.cua.edu/form/contact.cfm or the Office of Graduate Studies at cua-graduatestudies@cua.edu.

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Other Resources and Forms

Contact Information

Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies
116 McMahon Hall
The Catholic University of America
620 Michigan Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20064
 
Main Phone: (202) 319-5247
Fax: (202) 319-6174