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Author Rights: Theses Concerns

Information for researchers to consider during the publication process.

About This Page

This page provides specific information about publishing your thesis. For more general information about publication, see the Your Rights, and Keeping Them page.

Important Resources

Thesis Distribution Licence

This is a PDF copy of the Non-Exclusive Distribution License for Electronic Theses and Dissertations that you agree to when you submit your thesis to UWSpace. This is good to have on hand before signing an agreement with your publisher. 

If you have any questions about this license, please contact

Publication and Your Thesis

The license signed with the University of Waterloo is non-exclusive and clearly indicates that you continue to own the copyright in your thesis. To read the license see the PDF file in the Thesis Distribution Licence box on the left. Additionally, per University Policy 73, you own the rights to the Intellectual Property you create at the University of Waterloo.  You also keep your moral rights, i.e. the rights you retain over the integrity of the work and the right to be named as its author even after sale or transfer of the copyright. 

You can pursue any other publishing venture that you wish so long as the University of Waterloo maintains a non-exclusive royalty free license to:

  • circulate the work as part of the University Library collection, including network-based electronic indexing and circulation;
  • make copies or representations of the work for academic purposes within the University;
  • make copies of a thesis deposited in the University Library at the request of other universities or bona fide institutions;
  • microfilm the work and submit the microfilm to the Library and Archives Canada;
  • publish the abstract of any work which is a student thesis

You should carefully review any agreement that you are offered prior to signing to ensure that you retain copyright and moral rights. If the publisher asks you to sign an exclusive license, it means that you will not be able to do anything else with your dissertation and you would be giving total control to that publisher. For more information see Keeping Your Rights

Before you submit your thesis

Still writing your thesis? Keep the following in mind...

If you intend to publish your thesis or chapters of your thesis, there are 2 things to keep in mind.

1. You may need to apply an embargo to your thesis.

Some publishers will require that your thesis be embargoed (an embargo restricts access to your work), in order to publish. The publisher often wants their version of your work to be the only one available for a certain portion of time. Investigate the ability to apply an embargo to your thesis. Depending on the length of the embargo you require, you may need to file paperwork with the Graduate Studies Office, along with selecting the embargo option in the UWSpace submission process. Find more information in the UWSpace guide, and on the GSO's Submissions page

One way to find information on publisher policies is through SHERPA/RoMEO; this database is a good place to start when looking for information on publisher copyright and self-archiving information. When in doubt, contact the publisher to double check. 

2. You must submit your thesis to UWSpace, and accept the Thesis Distribution License. 

Any licence you sign with your publisher can not limit the license you agree to with the University when you submit your thesis to UWSpace. Make sure to discuss your requirement to submit your thesis to UWSpace with your publisher. Discuss the license you must sign, and the rights the University retains with your publisher before signing any publishing agreement. Make sure that any agreement you sign with the publisher allows you to deposit your thesis in UWSpace. For more information on publishing agreements see Sample Publishing Agreements