Research Guides

Open Access

Introduction: OA & The Dissertation

A dissertation contains original research that contributes to the scholarly record. In order to advance knowledge, dissertations must be available to readers beyond the degree-granting institution. In addition, doctoral students embarking on their own dissertation research must be able to demonstrate that their proposals are, in fact, original.

For this reason, universities everywhere require graduating doctoral students to submit their dissertations for archiving and publication. In this context, “publication” means “the act of making available to the public,” or dissemination, not “formal publication with a publishing house.”

At the Graduate Center, all capstone projects, master's theses, and dissertations must be submitted to CUNY Academic Works (CUNY’s open access institutional repository), and all dissertations must also be submitted to ProQuest for inclusion in the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global database.

This page contains information for dissertation authors on the Graduate Center's policies as well as general information on copyright, publishing your work, and making an informed decision on whether or not to embargo your dissertation.

Your Dissertation: Policies & Copyright

Surveys: ETDs & Subsequent Publication

CUNY Embargo Policy & Options

Embargo (delayed release) options determine when a dissertation, thesis, or capstone project will be made publicly available online. Under an embargo, a work is only made available to the Graduate Center community and researchers at other institutions through Interlibrary Loan. Graduating students may place an embargo of up to two years from the initial deposit date by selecting appropriate options in both ProQuest and CUNY Academic Works.

After the degree has been conferred, any requests to extend or remove an embargo must be sent to the Graduate Center Library and ProQuest, separately.

Read more about embargoes in our Dissertations & Theses guide.

To Embargo or Not to Embargo?

Hear and read some key thoughts from the GC event “Share It Now or Save It For Later: Making Choices about Dissertations and Publishing,” featuring the MLA's Director of Scholarly Communications, two university press editors, and two recent alumni.

Also, see background information and related readings.

Recommended Reading