As a public land-grant institution, Washington State University values free publication of its research outputs. As such, the university requires graduate students to make electronic copies of their completed theses and dissertations (ETDs) available to the general public. For an overview of the entire ETD creation and submission process, please see these guidelines (PDF) from the Graduate School. The following also outlines some key considerations when submitting an ETD.
Doctoral students at WSU submit their dissertations to ProQuest/UMI, where they are indexed and made accessible via ProQuest's Dissertations and Theses database. Subsequently, dissertations are added to Research Exchange, Washington State University's institutional repository, where they are permanently maintained by the WSU Libraries.
Submitting Dissertations to ProQuest/UMI
To get started, click on Upload Your Doctoral Dissertation. You will need to create an account in the UMI ETD Administrator system. Follow the guidelines provided by ProQuest and the WSU Graduate School (PDF). The following overview may be useful for understanding licensing options, embargoes, and copyright in relation to the ETD submission process.
When submitting to ProQuest, doctoral students can choose between two licensing options.
- Traditional (PDF):
- What is the licensing arrangement? Students grant ProQuest a non-exclusive license to publish abstracts and distribute dissertations through the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database.
- Where will the dissertation be distributed? ProQuest's Dissertations and Theses database
- What about copyright? Student retains copyright
- What about royalties? Should ProQuest sell the student's dissertation, they will pay royalties
- What about cost? This option is free to WSU students
- Open Access (PDF):
You can find a summary of these two options in this document (PDF).
- What is the licensing arrangement? Students grant ProQuest a non-exclusive license to publish abstracts and dissertations through ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Open, where the general public can access them for free.
- Where will the dissertation be distributed? ProQuest's Dissertations and Theses Open
- What about copyright? Student retains copyright
- What about royalties? ProQuest will not pay royalties for open-access dissertations
- What about cost? This option costs $95. To be clear, WSU Libraries also makes dissertations openly accessible via Research Exchange at no charge to the student.
Copyright and Embargoes
Students will be presented with two additional decisions when submitting their dissertations.
- Copyright registration: Per U.S. copyright law, students automatically own copyright to the ETDs that they create. However, registering the dissertation with the U.S. Copyright Office can provide advantages, such as the ability to sue for damages in case of infringement back to the date when registration occurred. Note that authors may register themselves for $35 at the U.S. Copyright Office website, or for $55 through ProQuest.
- Embargoes: In special cases, you may wish to restrict access to your work for a period of time after completion of your dissertation. This delay or embargo period may be appropriate in the following circumstances:
- You require time to submit for publication a manuscript based on your dissertation.
- You plan to publish all or part of your ETD with a publisher that considers public release of the dissertation to be "prior publication" and specifically requests delayed or restricted access to the ETD.
- You require time to seek a patent on a process or device that emerged from your dissertation
- You received research funding from a commercial company that has requested a delay in access to your dissertation
- Your dissertation describes a process or idea that if developed could be financially lucrative to you and/or the university
Embargoes may be requested from ProQuest for six months, one year, or two years. In addition to indicating your embargo preference with ProQuest, You must also fill out the "Embargo Option" section of the Hold Harmless and Copyright Acknowledgment (PDF) form, and submit it to the Graduate School. These forms allow WSU to honor embargo requests in Research Exchange as well as ProQuest/UMI.
Should you wish to extend an embargo beyond two years, please contact the Graduate School and they will initiate appropriate arrangements if your request is approved. In addition to completing this request, doctoral students are responsible for contacting ProQuest/UMI to make arrangements to extend embargoes in ProQuest's Dissertations and Theses database. ProQuest can be reached via the ETD Administrator or by phone at 1-877-408-5027.
Next Steps: The Publication Timeline
After submitting your dissertation to ProQuest, you will be prompted to make any necessary corrections by the Graduate School. By 30-45 days after Commencement, the Graduate School strives to complete review of ETDs. At this point, the WSU Libraries adds dissertations to Research Exchange.
Research Exchange is a digital repository that preserves research materials produced by faculty and students at WSU. The repository provides free access to ETDs; however, should you request an embargo, your dissertation will not appear in Research Exchange until the embargo period has elapsed.
Access to ETDs is also provided through Search It. Both the WSU Libraries and Graduate School work to make your dissertation available in as timely a fashion as possible. Should you have questions about the publication timeline for your dissertation, please contact us at the emails below.
For help with files other than pdfs or with pdfs that have other embedded formats, please contact Jerry Becker, 509-335-2012, firstname.lastname@example.org
For assistance with Research Exchange, please contact Talea Anderson, 509-335-2266, email@example.com
Please address questions about embargoes and submission polices to the WSU Graduate School, 509-335-6424, firstname.lastname@example.org