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Open Access Publishing

Open access to PhD/MD/ResearchMasters' theses

The University of Galway provides access to PhD/MD/Research Masters' theses in both print and online format as soon as possible following the award of the degree. Open access to online theses allows the University to share the excellence of its research without restriction. The default position of the University is not to place an embargo on open access to the thesis.  Online publication enables immediate access to a thesis from anywhere in the world and offers the potential for a thesis to be cited more frequently in other research publications.  This gives University of Galway research and researchers greater exposure.

PhD/MD/Research Masters' candidates must:

  • submit one hard-bound copy of the thesis and completed Library Submission Form  EOG 051 form to the Student Registry Helpdesk
  • upload an online copy (PDF file) to University of Galway Research Repository and email a copy of their completed Library Submission Form EOG 051 to or send it to Trish Finnan, Library, University of Galway.

For more information please consult the following pages of the QA245 University Guidelines for Research Degree Programmes

  • 6.2.2 Directions on Format, Layout and Presentation
  • 6.2.3 Third-Party Copyright
  • 6.7 Final Thesis submission
  • 6.7.1 Library Submission form EOG 051
  • MD Degree 7.2.5 Final Thesis Submission
  • See Appendix 1: Relevant Official Forms
  • Discuss with your supervisor whether an embargo period to withhold access to your thesis is necessary. If required request the embargo on the Library Submission Form EOG 051 which is available on the Graduate Studies Website.
  • Submit the completed Library Submission Form EOG 051 with your hardbound thesis to Student Registry Helpdesk and also email a copy of your completed Library Submission Form EOG 051 to or send it to Trish Finnan, Library, University of Galway. 
  • Your Library Submission Form EOG 051 form must be completed fully. Otherwise the Library will be unable to process your submission.
  • It is very important to check if you need to obtain permissions to include any third party copyrighted material such as illustrations or tables from other sources that you have reproduced. Your e-thesis will be available on open access so if you do not have permission you must replace this content in the electronic version with a placeholder that states the content has been removed due to copyright restrictions. Retain all third party copyright permissions received. A template permissions request letter is available below. See the Copyright FAQs for further information about third party copyright.
  • The electronic version of your thesis may require editing to indicate third party copyright permissions or you should replace third party material with a placeholder where copyright permission was not received before deposit.
  • The thesis should be saved as a PDF and the recommended file naming convention is yearnamedegree.pdf (e.g. 2011smithphd.pdf, 2023smithresearchmasters.pdf).
  • When you are ready to upload the electronic version of the thesis, email for upload instructions and you will be sent instructions on how to submit your thesis to the University of Galway Research Repository
  • Please upload a pdf file of your PhD/MD/Research Masters with the recommended file naming convention which is yearnamedegree.pdf (e.g. 2011smithphd.pdf, 2023smithresearchmasters.pdf).

The repository administrator will verify the metadata and check the status of any embargo request before committing your thesis to it, thus making it available via the Web.


Where an embargo has been granted, only the descriptive information will be displayed in University of Galway Research Repository for the duration of the embargo period. If an embargo period was granted, it will be lifted automatically when the embargo period expires.

Applications for an embargo period will be considered by the Embargoes sub-group of the Graduate Studies Board, consisting of the University Librarian, Business Development Manager Research and Innovation Office, Graduate Studies Manager, Digital Publishing and Data Management Librarian and chaired by the Dean of Graduate Studies. The sub-group will meet at least twice per calendar year.

Can I include third party copyright material in my e-thesis?

If your e-thesis includes material in which the copyright belongs to a third party e.g. figures, tables or illustrations created by a third party, you must seek permission from the owner of the copyright in that material in order to make it available in University of Galway Research Repository).

Traditionally, for the purposes of examination, inclusion of such copyright material owned by a third party has not been an issue as the print version of a thesis has not been considered as formally published. However, where you make your thesis available on an open access basis on the Web, the work becomes much more visible and subject to wide dissemination and the copies are no longer made for the purposes of examination.

Do I need to get permission to use material that I have previously published?

If you intend to include published material that you have authored yourself, e.g. journal articles, you still need to check if the publisher will permit you to include these as part of your thesis. The easiest way to do this is by contacting the publisher directly. Most publishers will permit this. A template for permissions request letter is available below.

Do I need to seek permission to include short quotations from published works in my e-thesis?

If the third party copyright material within your thesis consists of a short quotation from a published work and you have acknowledged and referenced it adequately it will probably not be necessary to seek permission from the copyright holder. However, there is no exact definition given in the Act regarding the amounts that may be reproduced. If in doubt about whether you need to get permission to include material within your thesis it is best to err on the side of caution and assume that you do. Ideally you should seek permission to include third party copyright material in your thesis as you go along rather than at the point of writing up your thesis.

How do I get permission to use third party material in my e-thesis?

To seek permission to include third party material you need to contact the rights holder. This may be the author of a work, a publisher, an illustrator etc. In the case of material from books and journals you should contact the publisher in the first instance. Many publishers give details on their web site of how to seek permission and who to contact. Look for information on rights/permissions/copyright clearance. If the publisher does not hold the rights to the work they should forward your enquiry to whoever does. Once you have established who to contact you can use the sample permission seeking template to form the basis of a letter or e-mail to the rights holder asking permission to include the material in the electronic version of your thesis. If the rights holder does not reply immediately you may choose to contact them again. However, do not deem a lack of response as consent to use the material. A template for permission request letter is available below. 

What do I do if permission is granted?

If a copyright holder indicates that permission has been granted you should indicate this at the appropriate point in your thesis, e.g. 'Permission to reproduce this ... has been granted by...'. You should keep a copy of any letters or e-mails you received from rights holders.

What do I do if permission is not granted?

Where you have not, or cannot obtain permission from third parties, then you must edit the work before submission to University of Galway Research Repository. If you are depositing your thesis with third party copyright clearance outstanding, you should remove the relevant material and insert a place holder at this point in the document, e.g. Figure (Text/Chart/Diagram/image etc.) has been removed due to Copyright restrictions. There is a feature in Acrobat to add a placeholder to a .pdf file. See Tools, Protection Mark for redaction/Apply redaction.

Do I need an embargo if I want to publish my thesis, or parts thereof, in journals?

Journal publishers may follow the COPE Guidelines. Publication of an academic thesis in an institutional repository (University of Galway Research Repository) may not, in general, be counted as prior publication. Excerpts or material from your thesis may therefore generally be eligible for publication and an embargo is not required. 

Queries about submitting your PhD/MD/Research Masters thesis to the University of Galway Research Repository should be emailed to