ETD Access Restrictions

Can I restrict access to my thesis or dissertation?

Yes, you can embargo your work, which restricts public access for a specified period of time. You may choose to restrict access to your work for six months, one year, two years, or six years, depending on your school's embargo policies.

Consult with your advisor about your wish to restrict access to your thesis or dissertation. Your school or program must approve any embargo request. 

Restricting access to your entire thesis or dissertation requires several steps. Make sure you read the instructions carefully during the submission process.

For doctoral students whose work is automatically submitted to ProQuest and masters students electing to submit their work:  The embargo period you request through Emory's ETD submission process must match the embargo you request from ProQuest. If you are requesting an embargo longer than two years, you must contact ProQuest directly at

For Laney Graduate School students wanting to request an embargo extension:  Complete the LGS Embargo Extension Request form. Once you submit your request, the LGS approver will process it, and you will be notified of their decision.

How do I decide whether to restrict access to my work?

When deciding whether to embargo your work, it's important to think about the possible outcomes of sharing your work openly.

Sharing your work: As an early career scholar/researcher, you likely have some interest in making yourself known in the academic community that you wish to join. Perhaps you will be looking for a tenure-track faculty position at a college or university, or maybe you want to do research in a commercial setting, such as a pharmaceutical company. Whatever your specific goals are, everything probably boils down to getting a job, and this task can be made a bit less daunting if you have made a solid start on establishing your scholarly reputation. Sharing your dissertation openly as soon as possible after graduation helps you because it gets your work out there for others to discover and appreciate. After all, how can people get to know your work if they cannot access it?

Not sharing your work: Your goal may be to revise your dissertation and publish it as a book. If so, some scholars and researchers believe (without much evidence) that publishers may be reluctant to accept your book for publication if your dissertation is openly available online. In other words, there's a perception that publishers may consider an open dissertation to be "prior publication," which would mean they would reject it. However, most book-based dissertations require considerable revision, so many publishers may not consider depositing your thesis or dissertation in the repository as a prior publication. In fact, having your dissertation openly accessible may help create interest in your future publication.

However, there are valid reasons to embargo your dissertation for a short time.

  1. Your work may include descriptions of something for which one of more patents are pending, and you want to ensure that early release of your work does not interfere with the patent process.
  2. If the research you conducted was sponsored by external funding, the funder may require you to restrict access to your thesis or dissertation for a specified period.
  3. You may have already published one of more chapters of your dissertation (or your entire thesis) as a journal article, and you transferred the copyright in that work to your publisher. This transaction means that the publisher now controls who can access it (unless it was published open access, in which case you likely still own the copyright and can do what you like with your work). Most publishers will not object to your reuse of the published article in your dissertation or thesis, even if you transferred the copyright to them, but it's wise to check their policies and obtain reuse permission; publishers usually do not charge a fee for this type of reuse. If you have any questions about this topic, be sure to contact us at

What does restricted access include?

Emory offers three options for restricted access:

  • Restrict files only (visitors will not be able to see the full-text PDF of your work or any supplemental files you attached to the record)
  • Restrict files and table of contents
  • Restrict files, table of contents, and abstract

If your abstract or table of contents contain sensitive information, you may wish to restrict access to them. Discuss this with your advisor and school or department, and follow the instructions during the submission process to restrict access to the appropriate sections.

If you restrict access to your abstract, notify ProQuest soon after graduation to request that your abstract not be included in Dissertation Abstracts. You must contact ProQuest directly at Provide your name, your dissertation's title, your school (Emory University), and, if possible, the publication number. If you need to speak with someone at ProQuest, call 734-761-4700, Ext. 2.

Please note that while you may request to temporarily restrict acess to your abstract, table of contents, and/or files, the rest of your record will be accessible by the public through Emory's ETD website and popular search engines. Publicly accessible information will include your work's title, author, committee members, program of study, research fields, and keywords.

Additional Resources

Open Access and Dissertation Embargoes by Audrey Truschke in Dissertation Reviews

Published a Revised Dissertation 

To Embargo Your Dissertation, or Not?