The Dissertation Guide

Dissertation Timeline and Semester Registration

Formatting Guidelines and Checklist

Publishing Your Dissertation

Online Submission of Your Dissertation to ProQuest

Online Submission of Your Dissertation to the BIR

Dissertation Templates

Forms/Survey/LaTeX Program

Helpful Links

Shipping Your Softbound Copy

GSAS requires valid address to ship the softbound copy of your dissertation about six months after you graduate. GSAS will use your address listed in SAGE unless you e-mail Meghan Peck a new address.

Publishing Your Dissertation



Overview and Publication Information

As part of the requirements for the Ph.D. degree, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) requires electronic submission of your dissertation. Along with the finished dissertation, The Office of the University Registrar and GSAS require that specific paperwork be submitted by the specified deadline. A timeline of deadlines outlining the forms and surveys is available here.

Brandeis only accepts electronic submission and participates in a program for archiving electronic versions of dissertations through a division of University Microfilm International (UMI) called ProQuest Information and Learning. Authors find this advantageous since an electronic version of the dissertation may include photographs, simulations, video clips and sound, thumbnail pages, and links to aid navigation through the document. Adding color to diagrams of molecules and simulating three-dimensional models would enhance the impact and possibly clarify for readers some of your ideas. 

To submit electronically, upload your manuscript to the ProQuest Information and Learning site here. Should you wish to make your dissertation Open Access, you can also submit it to the Brandeis Institutional Repository, free of charge here. Please contact Meghan Peck and Erin Jerome if you are interested in submitting to this site.  

Once your degree has been conferred, GSAS will release your dissertation to ProQuest. ProQuest will publish your work to the World Wide Web, produce three soft bound copies, and make one microfiche copy. The library will receive the microfiche and a soft cover reproduction for its archives. Your program will receive a soft cover reproduction, and you will receive one softbound copy. It takes approximately four months for dissertations to be published. You should receive your soft bound copy 4-6 months after your graduation. If you submit your dissertation well before the submission deadline, it will not go into the ProQuest system until your degree has been conferred by the Registrar. If you wish to order additional copies, an order form is available on page 7 in the ProQuest publishing agreement guide, or go here. Note: GSAS requires valid address to ship the softbound copy of your dissertation. GSAS will use your address listed in SAGE unless you e-mail Meghan Peck a new address.

Your ETD (Electronic Thesis and Dissertation) will be uploaded into the UMI/ProQuest searchable Dissertation Abstracts database consisting of approximately 1.6 million entries and will receive an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) and titles will be listed in the UMI Dissertation Abstracts database as well as other online and web-based book distributors and databases. Both paper copy and online electronic submissions of dissertations are available to the general public via this service.

Full text of dissertations submitted by Brandeis students will be available online only to Brandeis University faculty, staff, and students here. When an author selects the ‘Traditional Publishing’ option, UMI’s ProQuest Digital Dissertations program lets web users search and preview the first 24 pages and order full-text digital copies in Adobe PDF format for immediate downloading for a fee. Royalties will be paid to author’s selecting the ‘Traditional Publishing’ option. To read about an author’s publishing access options, go here.

Publishing an ETD

Electronic theses and dissertations, or ETDs, are defined as those theses and dissertations submitted, archived, or accessed primarily in electronic formats. Publishers are concerned about the relationship of ETDs to other forms of publication. Often a dissertation becomes the basis for a scholar's first book. While most of those works are considerably revised for publication, some are published with relatively few changes. Even though paper theses and dissertations are available on-line, most academic presses are not as concerned that on-line publication represent prior publication, probably because of the barriers of time, distance, and cost. However, the prospect of having full texts available online, given that the market for scholarly books is very small, may worry some publishers. 

On the other hand, greater access might be seen as a way to induce readers to preview a book. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education (Winkler, 1997), some academic publishers consider online publication to be "great advertising": "For each of our electronic books, we've approximately doubled our sales," says Marney Smyth, electronic-productions editor of the MIT Press. "The plain fact is that no one is going to sit there and read a whole book online. And it costs money and time to download it." The National Academy Press has already put nearly 2,000 of its books online, and has found that the electronic publication of some books has boosted sales of paper copies often by as much as two to three times from previous levels.  

Another concern is the use of copyrighted material in an ETD. Scholars sometimes include graphics and other copyrighted material in their theses and dissertations without acquiring permissions (unless the work was accepted for commercial publication). If ETDs are published on the Web, authors will need to ensure compliance with copyright law and fair-use guidelines. That may include acquiring permission to use copyrighted material, which can sometimes be costly. Although UMI and other services have long made theses and dissertations available to the public, the access was limited enough that inclusion of copyrighted materials did not seem to have been an issue in most cases.  However, copyright issues and fair-use guidelines are being debated hotly in light of the explosion of electronic publishing. ETD authors must consider the impact of that debate on their ability to use copyrighted materials. 

[The above section is an except from an article in the Journal of Electronic Publishing, Electronic Theses and Dissertations: Digitizing Scholarship for Its Own Sake by Christian R. Weisser and Janice R. Walker, available here. The article covers other areas germane to this topic like the history of ETDs, access and distribution, so you might want to read it.]

The Publishing Agreement Form

The UMI Publishing Agreement grants UMI non-exclusive rights to reproduce your dissertation but does not prevent you from granting other publishing rights as you choose. If you, your dissertation advisor, or your publisher decides that you should place access restriction on your publication with UMI, you can do so when you fill out the Publishing Agreement Form (required by UMI/ProQuest). UMI offers two publishing options – Open Access or Traditional Access. To limit access to your original work, restrictions are available under the ‘Traditional Publishing Option’:

  • Electronic Restriction: No search engine access
  • Release Options: 6 month embargo; 1 year embargo; 2 year embargo. We can manually increase the length of your embargo as well if it is beyond 2 years. Contact GSAS.

Copyright and Intellectual Property Issues

UMI offers an option to register the copyright for your dissertation with the Library of Congress Copyright Office. Please note that copyright privileges reside with the author immediately upon creation of the work and  that any work of original authorship is protected by copyright even without registration. If you choose to file for copyright, the copyright filing fee of $65 is sent to the U.S. Copyright Office on your behalf by ProQuest.

Registration is not a prerequisite to copyright protection, but if a work is not registered within three months of first publication, attorney's fees may not be recovered if a suit is brought nor can you collect statutory damages which the law provides in cases where real damage is difficult to show. It is your choice whether to register for copyright, but we strongly encourage you to do so. For information on copyright registration through UMI, requesting permission, or if you want more general information on copyrighting, please pick up a copy of the “Copyright Law & Graduate Research” booklet in the GSAS office, or visit the United States Copyright Office.

UMI Information to Users

Below is a note to UMI Users from UMI that is inserted into all photocopied dissertations. We include this to underscore the scrupulous care you must take in following the guidelines for submission of your dissertation. To underscore how careful you must be, UMI reports that 15% of all submitted dissertations do not have the correct page numbers!  GSAS encourages you to check each of the preceding guidelines twice.

UMI INFORMATION TO USERS

This manuscript has been reproduced from the microfilm master. UMI films the text directly from the PDF or copy submitted.
 
The quality of this reproduction is dependent upon the quality of the copy submitted.  Broken or indistinct print, colored or poor quality illustrations and photographs, print bleed through, substandard margins, and improper alignment can adversely affect reproduction.

In the unlikely event that the author did not send UMI a complete manuscript and there are missing pages, these will be noted. Also, if unauthorized copyright material had to be removed, a note will indicate the deletion.



Oversize materials (e.g., maps, drawings, charts) are reproduced by sectioning the original, beginning at the upper left-hand corner and continuing from left to right in equal sections with small overlaps.

Submitting to the Open Access BIR

Once your dissertation is in a suitable PDF format for submission, go here. and select “login” under My Account. Use your Unet ID and password to log in.  Select the Submissions option under My Account. This will take you to the first step of the submission process. Please make sure that your PDF is named with your last name, “dissertation,” and publication year. For example: PeckDissertation2014.PDF. 

After GSAS has approved the formatting, and your degree has been conferred by the Office of the Registrar GSAS will release your dissertation to the University Repository for public access. If you submit your dissertation well before the submission deadline, it will not go into the electronic system until your degree has been conferred by the Registrar. Also, if the document appears to be incomplete or if there are questions about the reproduction of previously copyrighted materials, publication will be delayed until all concerns are resolved.

Once published, your dissertation will be available on the World Wide Web as well as through the LOUIS system. In some circumstances, it may be possible to limit access to your work through a temporary embargo. Contact GSAS to discuss limitations on access.  

  • Copyright and Intellectual Property Issues
    Copyright registration is not a prerequisite to copyright protection, but if a work is not registered within three months of first publication, attorney's fees may not be recovered if a suit is brought nor can you collect statutory damages which the law provides in cases where real damage is difficult to show. It is your choice whether to register for copyright. For information on copyright registration or if you want more general information on copyrighting, please visit the United States Copyright Office
  • Publishing an Electronic Dissertation 
    Electronic dissertations are defined as those dissertations submitted, archived, or accessed primarily in electronic formats. Publishers may be concerned about the relationship of electronic archival submission to other forms of publication. Often a thesis becomes the basis for a scholar's dissertation or first book. While most of those works are considerably revised for publication, some are published with relatively few changes.  Even though dissertations are available on-line, most academic presses are not as concerned that on-line publication represents prior publication, probably because of the barriers of time, distance, and cost. On the other hand, greater access might be seen as a way to induce readers to preview a book. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education (Winkler, 1997), some academic publishers consider online publication to be "great advertising": "For each of our electronic books, we've approximately doubled our sales," says Marney Smyth, electronic-productions editor of the MIT Press. "The plain fact is that no one is going to sit there and read a whole book online. And it costs money and time to download it." The National Academy Press has already put nearly 2,000 of its books online, and has found that the electronic publication of some books has boosted sales of paper copies often by as much as two to three times from previous levels.

    Another concern is the use of copyrighted material in an electronic thesis. Authors sometimes include graphics and other copyrighted material in their theses without acquiring permissions (unless the work was accepted for commercial publication).  If theses are published on the Web, authors will need to ensure compliance with copyright law and fair-use guidelines. That may include acquiring permission to use copyrighted material, which can sometimes be costly.  Copyright issues and fair-use guidelines are being debated hotly in light of the explosion of electronic publishing. Authors must consider the impact of that debate on their ability to use copyrighted materials. 

    The above information is excerpted from an article in the Journal of Electronic Publishing, Electronic Dissertations and Theses: Digitizing Scholarship for Its Own Sake by Christian R. Weisser and Janice R. Walker, available here. The article covers other areas germane to this topic like the history of ETDs, access and distribution, so you might want to read it.]
  • The Publishing Agreement Form When you submit your thesis to the Brandeis Institutional Repository, you will be asked to accept the following agreement, which allows Brandeis to preserve and publish your work:

    -Non-exclusive Distribution License for Submissions to the Brandeis Institutional Repository By signing and submitting this license, you (the author(s) or copyright owner) grants Brandeis University (Brandeis) the non-exclusive right to reproduce translate (as defined below), and/or distribute your submission (including abstract) worldwide in print and electronic format and in any medium, including but not limited to audio or video.

    -You agree that Brandeis may, without changing the content, translate the submission to any medium or format for the purpose of preservation.

    -You also agree that Brandeis may keep more than one copy of this submission for the purposes of security, back-up and preservation.

    -You represent that the submission is your original work, and that you have the right to grant the rights contained in this license. You represent that your submission does not, to the best of your knowledge, infringe upon anyone’s copyright.

    -If the submission contains material for which you do not hold copyright, you represent that you have obtained the unrestricted permission of the copyright owner to grant Brandeis the rights required by this license, and that such third-party owned materials is clearly identified and acknowledged within the text or contents of the submissions.

    -IF THE SUBMISSION IS BASED UPON WORK THAT HAS BEEN SPONSORED OR SUPPORTED BY AN AGENCY OR ORGANIZATION OTHER THAN BRANDEIS, YOU REPRESENT THAT YOU HAVE FULFILLED ANY RIGHT OR REVIEW OR OTHER OBLIGATIONS REQUIRED BY SUCH CONTRACT OR AGREEMENT.

    -Brandeis will clearly identify your name(s) as the author(s) or owner(s) of the submission, and will not make any alteration, other than as allowed by this license, to your submission.

Traditional Publishing (TR) versus Open Access (OA)

What is Open Access?
The now-common usage of the term "open access" means freely available for viewing or downloading by anyone with access to the internet. Sometimes a distinction is made for "limited open access" meaning that material is available free of charge to a limited group of authorized users. Our usage of "open access" means the former; that is, dissertations and theses published for Open Access with ProQuest/UMI will be available at no charge for viewing or downloading by anyone with access to the internet, indefinitely. 

What is Traditional Publishing?
Traditional publishing at UMI® corresponds with the model that generated the publishing industry as soon as mass-reproduction of printed material was possible. That is, the owner of intellectual property and author of the work contracts with the publisher to reproduce, distribute, and sell copies of the work. The publisher pays the author a certain portion of the revenue thus generated. That is why we also refer to our Traditional Publishing model as the "copy sales and royalty payments" model. It's been our business model since 1938, and we've paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties to the authors of dissertations and theses over the decades.

Why do we offer both options for publishing your work?
Just as the modern printing press stimulated the modern publishing industry, technology and the ubiquity of the worldwide web have revolutionized the dissemination of intellectual property—including graduate works. The scholarly community in particular has benefited as more and more of its reference materials and the latest literature in every discipline becomes available online—especially when it's free whether or not you or your institution subscribe to the publication. The primary literature is accelerating toward open access as scholarly publishers work to create new business models that will support this demand while sustaining the quality of their product. Where the primary literature goes, so does ProQuest/UMI, because we believe graduate works are primary literature. At the same time, society is rapidly altering its notion of intellectual property, as access to information becomes a mouse click rather than a trip to the library or bookstore. There is a strong and growing notion that information should be free to all members of society. While academia has long argued that there is a difference between information and intellectual property, it is clear that the distinction becomes ever more blurred as the Web grows and search engines become increasingly intelligent and powerful. The notion that information is a global commons, that society has a right to access the results of research that it supports, and the increasing call for academic accountability are together generating powerful forces that will affect how you publish as a scholar from this point forward. For example, search the internet under the term "Federal Research Public Access Act" and you will see that Congress may soon require the published results of all federally funded research to be held in open access repositories. This is why ProQuest/UMI offers an open access publishing option to the authors of graduate works.

So why will we continue to offer the traditional copy-sales and royalties publishing option?
The landscape of scholarly publishing is evolving—not changing overnight—so we are evolving with it by offering a range of options to suit the best interests of all graduate student authors.

How do you choose between Open Access and Traditional publishing?
1. Check in with your graduate school or its equivalent first. Your university may require that you publish for Open Access, particularly if your research was supported by federal funds.

2. Check into any restrictions imposed by a funding source. If your work was funded by industry or a corporate interest, as part of their research and development efforts, there may be some restrictions on the dissemination of all or part of your published dissertation or thesis.

3. If you have a patent pending, or there is patentable work in your dissertation or thesis, you should already be working with your institution's technology transfer office or higher-level research office. If this is the case, see Guide 4: Embargoes and Restrictions and take appropriate steps to ensure that any patentable rights are protected.

4. Next, check in with your advisor, committee chair, and any trusted mentors in your field. Your disciplinary community may share strong sentiments either for or against open access publishing. In some disciplines, open access is seen as a threat to the peer-review system because of the financial stress it causes for non-profit scholarly societies who publish journals. Other fields share a common and strong ethic for open access, particularly if its contributions are important to individual and societal decision-making. While you may not wish to have your decision governed by the norms of your discipline, you should at least be aware of any strong culture for or against open access in your field. Your mentor should also be able to advise you on whether or not your work is commercially viable in and of itself. If, for example, it is likely that your dissertation or thesis would sell well, you may not want to forgo earned royalties. Finally, your mentor should be able to help you decide if there is content in your work that should remain within academic circles, at least for a while. In such cases, you could still choose to publish for open access, but delay the release of your work for a fixed time (see Embargoes and Restrictions).

5. Lastly, check in with your own value system and your professional goals. Do you believe that society will benefit from your research? Was your graduate work supported by public funds or by a charitable source with a strong social mission? If so, you may feel like giving back by making your work free to anyone who wants or needs it. Are you on your way to a career in the fine or performing arts? If so, you may not want to give away the unique platform you've built through your graduate work, and prefer to let interested readers or viewers pay for the privilege. Did you create or develop something with tangible value to industry or business? Again, perhaps you should start requiring payment for your expertise now. In the end, there is no right or wrong to either open access or copy sales and royalties as a basis for disseminating your work. We have developed the means for you to choose the model that best serves your professional and personal interests. Open Access graduate works will be maintained in the PQDT Open database, comprising the subset of our collection for which authors have paid the one-time fee for open access. For more information on PQDT Open and Open Access Publishing with ProQuest/UMI, go to http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/epoa.shtml.

What about Copyright and Open Access publishing?
We have been asked whether there is any benefit in retaining your copyright or registering your claim to copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office if you publish anything for open access. There certainly is good reason, if not more reason to retain and protect your copyright if you publish open access, though you must decide for yourself about registering your claim (see the following section). By giving open access to your work, you are inviting people to read, reference, think about, build upon, refute, and perhaps even enjoy your work. You are NOT granting the right to take your work as one's own and/or to use it as one's own and/or to use it for commercial purposes without your permission. That is a copyright infringement.

Reprinted from Guide 3, Open Access Compared to Traditional Publishing PQ/UMI® Guide F2009