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Your thesis and City Research Online

Congratulations on the successful completion of your PhD.

When you have uploaded the final PDF copy of your thesis to the Research Manager system, it will then be downloaded by the Copyright and Digitisation Team in Library Services. If your thesis has redactions you should indicate this in the embargo application form, and also upload an unredacted copy to Research Manager. The thesis will undergo some checks and then be made publicly available in our open access repository, City Research Online, and in EThOS, the British Library's thesis discovery service. We will also retain the unredacted digital copy of your thesis (if there is one), as part of our record of research at City.

City, University of London normally expects that all successful PhD theses will be made available in City Research Online - this is included in City's Open Access policy, and also in Senate Regulation 25: Submission Format and Retention of Theses.

What are the benefits of adding my thesis to City Research Online?

  • To allow anyone to access it. Theses made openly accessible in City Research Online and EThOS can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection. This means theses are accessed, read, and built upon by people outside of traditional UK higher education circles, as well as more widely disseminated to those within UK HE;
  • To increase its visibility. Theses placed in repositories such as City Research Online have high rankings in search engines such as Google, Bing and Google Scholar, meaning your work is found more often and more easily;
  • To increase its citation count. Studies have shown that research made openly accessible is read, and hence cited more, than research that remains closed;
  • To showcase research produced by PhD students at City, University of London. The repository forms a valuable archive of the doctoral research undertaken at City;
  • To preserve it for the future. City Research Online uses technology which ensures the long term preservation of City's research outputs, for access and use by future generations.

The eight benefits of open access:  More exposure for your work. Practitioners can apply your findings. Higher citation rates Your research can influence policy. The public can access your findings Compliant with grant rules. Taxpayers get value for money. Researchers in developing countries can see your work.

Diagram illustrating the benefits of open access. CC BY Danny Kingsley and Sarah Brown.

Which version of my thesis should I submit?

We require you to submit the version of the thesis as finally examined, i.e. the final version of the thesis including any corrections that have been applied to it post-viva.

The exception is where the thesis contains any copyrighted material, sensitive material or clinical findings. If you need to redact such material, please submit a PDF copy for the original version, and a PDF copy for the redacted version that will be made available in City Research Online.

Redacting copyrighted and sensitive material

The University takes good stewardship of its research seriously, particularly when that research contains information that might be inappropriate for open release on the web. Many theses submitted for examination contain such material - it can include:

  • Theses containing third party copyright material, i.e. material with copyrighted content that resides with someone other than the author. Examples can include: musical scores, reproductions of large amounts of copyrighted text, and graphical images including photographs and figures;
  • Commercially sensitive material, for example information or data arising from an industrially-sponsored studentship;
  • Sensitive personal data, for example clinical findings. These need not even be personally identifiable if the context gives an indication of their possible identity.

Candidates are expected to apply any necessary redactions to their thesis before submitting to Library Services. Guidance is available from the Copyright Library Guide, particularly the page on making theses available on City Research Online, and by contacting the Copyright and digitisation team at In rare cases authors might choose to apply for an embargo or waiver for their thesis due to the quantity of redactions needed.

How to request embargoes and redactions

If redactions and/or an embargo are necessary, these should be applied for on Research Manager. A number of different types of embargo are available:

  • Redaction: Areas of text should be redacted (blacked out) if they should never be seen by someone viewing or downloading your thesis from City Research Online. This might be the case if there were copyright issues, or personal data that must be kept confidential. The redacted version should be uploaded to Research Manager when requesting the embargo.
  • Publication: An embargo of three years can be requested if publications based on the thesis are planned, such as a book, monograph, article or book chapter.
  • Commercial sensitivity/patent application: If the thesis has been written as the result of commercial sponsorship, and contains sensitive information that should not be released until an agreed date, an embargo can be requested for that period of time. You should discuss this with your supervisor and the Research and Enterprise Department.
  • Ten-year embargo: under exceptional and rare circumstances, such as particularly sensitive commercial or personal information contained in the thesis, a ten-year embargo is available. After ten years the author will be contacted, by Library Services, to ascertain whether an embargo is still necessary. If the author is not contactable, the thesis will remain embargoed.

If you are unsure what kind of embargo to apply for, you should discuss with your supervisor. The Copyright and Digitisation Team may also be able to offer guidance.

If an embargo is granted, metadata about the thesis will normally be publicly available in City Research Online, but the thesis won’t be viewable or downloadable from either CRO or EThOS for the duration of the embargo period.

Embargoes are subject to the approval of your supervisor, Department Research Programme Committee, and the Director of Library Services.

If an embargo request is declined, you will be informed. The request will be returned to the Research Programme Committee on Research Manager. You have the right to refer the request to the Chair of the Doctoral College Board of Studies, as stated in Senate Regulation 25: Submission Format and Retention of Theses (section 1i).

If you have any questions relating to embargos, please contact the Copyright and Digitisation Team.

Requirements for UKRI funded theses

PhD students funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) research councils must make their research publications available in line with the UKRI open access policy.

Any PhD thesis arising from UKRI training grant funding must meet the terms and conditions outlined in the UKRI Training Grant Terms and Conditions Guidance. Key points are:

  • Metadata describing the thesis should be made available in City Research Online (CRO) as soon as possible after award
  • The full text version of the thesis should be free to view and download in CRO within a maximum of 12 months following the award. A longer embargo is not normally permitted in this case
  • The name of the sponsor and of the funding council should be included in your thesis and in CRO.

If you are seeking a longer embargo period for your work please contact the Copyright and Digitisation Team for further advice.