How to submit the final version of your PhD thesis
At the end of the examination process all successful PhD and MPhil candidates are required to submit the final version of their thesis to the appropriate College Postgraduate Office.
The requirement for one hard copy thesis to be submitted has been waived during the current circumstances which require remote working for most staff/students. Submission of PhD theses will be electronic only. A signed declaration is not required in the final version when the submission is deposited in Pure. This concession from the regulations about physical thesis submission will continue for the foreseeable future, and will be reviewed by Academic Services once the pandemic is over.
The University has an expectation that a PhD thesis is a document available for public consultation. As such, unless a legitimate reason for restricting access to the thesis exists, all PhD theses will be made publicly available on the internet via the Edinburgh Research Archive (ERA).
It is highly recommended that you discuss with your primary supervisor the implications of publishing your thesis online in ERA. If your thesis contains confidential or sensitive data it may not be appropriate to make the full text freely available online. Similarly if there is the intention to publish the whole, or extracts from, your thesis you may want to restrict access to the electronic version.
- Go to Pure and log in with your EASE account
- Click on the green ‘Add new’ button on the top right and select ‘Doctoral Thesis’, or alternatively click on ‘Student theses’ on the left-hand-side navigation bar followed by ‘Doctoral Thesis’
- The record should be auto-populated with most of your thesis award information. Please check for completeness, and add in the title of your thesis in the appropriate box.
- Upload your electronic thesis files by clicking on the ‘Add document’ button. If you require an embargo for the PDF add the date and reason in the appropriate boxes. The initial embargo length is one year from date of graduation. The date will be checked by Library staff and changed if a different value is added without permission.
- Please remove any signatures, personal postal and email addresses from the PDF version.
- Upload your Access to Thesis form alongside your thesis files.
- Supplementary data can be added alongside the thesis text. Change the ‘Type’ to ‘Supplementary materials’ and upload the files as described above. The record Visibility needs to be set to 'Backend - Restricted to Pure users'
- To finish, set the status to 'Entry in progress', click the blue ‘Save’ button at the bottom of the screen and the submission is ready for validation by college office staff.
Submission of PhD theses is now electronic only - see the steps above.
If your thesis has supplementary data (for example images, videos, source code or analytical data) we would like to store a copy of this data alongside the thesis text. We do this to try and preserve the fullest record of the work as possible. Datasets should be supported by good accompanying documentation which is appropriate to your subject discipline. The UK Data Archive (UKDA) offers some specialist advice in this area. We do not routinely allow public access to this data; however, if you wish to share your data with others we recommend the Edinburgh DataShare service.
If you have a lot of supplementary files - for example lots of images, data in multiple spreadsheets or video formats - we don't recommend depositing them in PURE. Instead, contact the Scholarly Communications Team and we can advise the best way to send them to us.
If you wish to make your thesis available to the public to consult, but there are problematic elements that cannot be openly shared then it is possible to submit a redacted version. We typically recommend partial thesis redactions are suitable for the following scenarios:
Where third party copyright has not been obtained, students may submit an edited thesis, as an alternative to requesting an embargo.
If the thesis contains confidential or sensitive information, e.g. transcripts of interviews, which cannot be shared or anonymised.
If your thesis contains photographs of people and you do not have their permission to publish their image online.
It is possible to design your thesis in a way which means the problematic material is easy to remove. For example, if you are planning to use a large number of photographs, you could layout your thesis with the photographs in a separate appendix which can be easily removed.
Students who have chosen to submit a redacted version of their thesis would also need to submit a full unedited copy which will be securely kept stored by the Library. This is important to preserve the integrity of the academic record of the University. Both versions of the files should be uploaded to the Thesis Module in Pure with the files clearly named to differentiate between the two. We recommend the following file naming convention:
<Last name><First initial>_<Year>_COMPLETE
<Last name><First initial>_<Year>_REDACTED
If the redaction option is not possible then students are permitted to embargo their thesis under certain conditions described below:
Normally a longer embargo period may be granted when there are firm publication plans in place, e.g. where a manuscript has been submitted to a publisher and is in a formal stage of publication (submitted, accepted, in press). Vague plans for publication are not normally accepted.
There may be contractual restrictions imposed by a sponsor, which could include industrial sponsors or governmental agencies.
Patent applications can be rejected by the premature publication of research. Where the research might lead to a commercial application or patent then we recommend that the Intellectual Property needs to be protected.
Contains personal data
Where a thesis contains personally identifiable or ethically sensitive data or where material obtained in the thesis was obtained under a guarantee of confidentiality we would consider placing an embargo. These issues should have been addressed at an early stage of the research project.
Where third party copyright has not been obtained, students may submit an edited thesis, as an alternative to requesting an embargo. They would also need to submit an unedited hard copy which will be secured kept.
Publication could endanger health and safety or prejudice national security
The thesis contains sensitive material (political or otherwise) which could put at risk the authors or participants if made openly available. These issues should have been addressed at an early stage of the research project.
How to request a 12 month embargo
You can restrict access to the electronic version of your thesis for one year without any special permissions. If an embargo is required, this must be indicated on the Access to Thesis form, otherwise, the thesis may be made publicly available. This form should be deposited in Pure alongside the full text of the thesis.
At the end of the embargo period, the University is under no obligation to contact you about extending the period of restriction. If towards the end of your embargo period you have any concerns that the forthcoming public availability of your thesis would be problematic please contact the Library (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the Scholarly Communications Team will be able to help.
Embargo requests longer than 12 months
Requests for embargoes that exceed 12 months starting from the date the work is added to the Library’s collection require Head of School approval and must be accompanied by a clear rationale as to why a longer period is required. Complete Section 2 of the Access to a Thesis form to request an extended embargo. Extended embargoes beyond five years will not normally be approved unless there are very exceptional reasons. Normally any relevant evidence to support a request for an extended embargo should be attached to the request, e.g. publishing contract or correspondence from industrial sponsors.
Further help and information
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You can book a one-to one video consultation with an expert from our team. If you want to find out more about open access (journals, funding, policies etc ), Copyright & Intellectual Property, General publishing activities (request an ISBN or DOI), or research metrics (using Web Of Science or Scopus) please contact our team via email to book a session at a time that suits you.