As a public land-grant institution, Washington State University values the 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.
Graduate students at WSU submit their theses and dissertations to ProQuest, where they are indexed and made accessible via ProQuest's Dissertations and Theses database. These documents are also made available through the Research Exchange and are permanently stored by the WSU Libraries.
Submitting Theses and Dissertations to ProQuest
To get started, click on Upload Your Thesis/Dissertation. You will need to create an account in the ProQuest ETD Administrator system. The following overview may be useful for understanding licensing options, embargoes, and copyright in relation to the thesis/dissertation submission process. Submitting your thesis or dissertation to ProQuest is free for graduate students; however, anyone selecting optional services from ProQuest must complete payment when uploading their thesis/dissertation draft.
When submitting to ProQuest, graduate 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 theses/dissertations through the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database, where the general public can access them for a fee.
- Where will the dissertation be distributed? ProQuest's Dissertations and Theses database.
- What about copyright? Student retains their copyright.
- What about royalties? Should ProQuest sell the student's dissertation, they will pay the student royalties.
- What about cost? This option is free to WSU students.
- Open Access (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 their 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.
You can find a summary of these two options in this document (PDF).
Copyright and Embargoes
Students will be presented with the following two additional decisions when submitting their thesis/dissertation:
- Copyright registration: Per U.S. copyright law, students automatically own copyright to the ETDs that they create. However, registering the thesis or 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 thesis or dissertation. This delay, known as an embargo period, may be appropriate in the following circumstances:
- You require time to submit for publication a manuscript based on your thesis or dissertation.
- You plan to publish all or part of your ETD with a publisher that considers public release of the thesis/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 thesis or dissertation.
- You received research funding from a commercial company that has requested a delay in access to your thesis or dissertation.
- Your thesis or 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 through the WSU Libraries, Research Exchange, as well as ProQuest.
As you prepare your thesis/dissertation, please be sure to follow best practices for accessibility. Document accessibility is important so that people who rely on assistive technology can also read and engage with your work. Find more information at the following:
Next Steps: The Publication Timeline
After submitting your thesis or dissertation to ProQuest, you will be prompted to make any necessary corrections by the Graduate School. Approximately 45 days after commencement, the Graduate School strives to complete reviews of all ETDs. ProQuest sends the approved documents to the WSU Libraries to be made available via 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 thesis or 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; however, this process often takes several months. Should you have questions about the publication timeline for your dissertation, please contact us at one of the the email addresses 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 policies to the WSU Graduate School, 509-335-6424, firstname.lastname@example.org