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Dissertation Publication

Doctoral dissertations document the discoveries, findings and insights gained through University-supported research. The University requires — and takes responsibility for ensuring — that dissertations produced in fulfillment of degree requirements will be part of the publicly available scholarly record.

TGS deposits dissertations into the ProQuest Database and the institutional repository of Northwestern University. 

Copyright Policy

Except under unusual special circumstances, student authors own copyright for their dissertations and the University’s right to publish is non-exclusive. This means that the author, as the copyright owner, is free to also publish the work. Authors may make arrangements with other entities (such as scholarly societies and commercial publishers) for publication of the dissertation as a whole or in part, as well as for publication of other works derived from, or building on, the dissertation work. However, authors may not grant any other entity exclusive publication rights to the dissertation itself.

Northwestern University may use its copy or copies and make the content available to others without restriction. The University Library’s scholarly research services has resources to help scholars understand publishing options and author’s rights.

Copyright policy can be found at NU’s Innovation and New Ventures Office web page.

Delay of Publication (Embargo)

Students may elect to delay publication of the dissertation by submitting a request providing a rationale for the embargo and selecting an embargo length when depositing the dissertation via ProQuest. Students will have the option to select a publishing option that pertains to the ProQuest database and separately to the institutional repository. An embargo has the effect of restricting online access to the dissertation through the ProQuest database and through the institutional repository for the period of the embargo. Metadata (author, title, abstract, keywords and subjects) about the embargoed dissertation will be available through ProQuest and the library catalog. Users of those systems are able to search for and see the metadata, but not the actual text or other content of the dissertation.  The University’s expectation is that dissertations approved by TGS will be released for use through the ProQuest database and through the institutional repository without delay. The University is proud of the accomplishments of its PhD graduates and wants their research to be available to the world as soon as possible. Consult TGS's policy on dissertations as well as the Institutional Repository Publishing Frequently Asked Questions for Dissertation Authors for more information.

Dissertation Assistance

TGS recognizes that scholarly writing is a process that benefits from conversations and consultations with others. As such, TGS supports Northwestern services such as The Graduate Writing Place, graduate writing workshops, and dissertation boot camps, which offer appropriate levels of writing assistance, provided by facilitators/consultants who are trained to help you avoid any academic integrity violations. Beyond such services, all graduate student writers should consult with their advisors about appropriate forms of assistance before assistance is rendered. Regardless of the type of assistance you receive with your writing, it is appropriate to acknowledge this support. The policy on Dissertation Assistance can be found in the Policy section.

Research Data Archiving

Researchers and institutions have a shared responsibility to ensure long-term research data preservation. The University Libraries offers data repository and management services to help students archive research data and analysis code for others to find and use. For a list of all services available, please take a look here. 

Arch is a digital repository service for research materials. Students can use this service to deposit any supplemental files created for the dissertation research to be made available to the public, including data, analysis code, figures, presentations, and media. In addition to Arch, Northwestern researchers have access to Dryad, a data repository for preserving and sharing research data. Northwestern’s institutional membership allows researchers to archive and share any size data file at no additional cost.