My thesis in the library

To allow easier public access to theses, Academic Board approved changes to the open access policy at its August 2016 meeting.  These changes will take effect on 1 February 2017.  The new arrangements are outlined below.


Deposit requirements

From 1 February 2017 onwards, the Library will only require an electronic copy of your thesis and no longer requires a printed copy.  The electronic copy must be submitted to the University of Melbourne Institutional Repository, Minerva-Access, once a final 'pass' has been recommended and be prepared in accordance with the Minerva-Access guidelines.

  • If your thesis contains published articles, the author-accepted versions of the articles should be included in the electronic copy. For information on author-accepted manuscripts visit the Open Access Compliance Program blog.
  • If your thesis contains other copyright material you must obtain permission. See the Copyright Office page on Copyright and Submission of Digital Theses.

The University of Melbourne scholarship thesis allowance will not be available after 1 February 2017.  If your department/school requires a printed copy, this won’t be covered by the thesis allowance as this copy is not a requirement for completion. Only students who submitted the final copy before 1 February 2017, when it was a University requirement for completion, will be able to claim the thesis allowance and the allowance must be claimed within six months of submitting the final copy.

Please note that you must upload the final electronic version of the thesis to Minerva Access yourself; copies are not transferred from the Thesis Examination System.

FAQ on digital thesis submission are available from the Library's Minerva website.


Public access to my thesis

Until it is made publicly available, your thesis is an untapped resource of original research. The University is committed to ensuring that all research outputs are disseminated as widely as possible. This allows the University not only to meet the open-access policies of national and international granting bodies but also ensures the results of research are made available to the public, industry and researchers worldwide, for the benefit of society. Individual researchers, likewise, have a responsibility to other researchers and the wider community to disseminate a full account of their research as widely as possible. In keeping with these commitments, the electronic copy of your thesis can be made available on the web, via the University's institutional publications repository, Minerva Access.

Making your thesis publicly available via Minerva Access, has the following benefits:

  • The general public, which has invested in the University, can access your findings
  • Allows more exposure and influence for your research
  • Helps build your scholarly reputation and research profile
  • Practitioners can apply your findings
  • Other researchers, especially in developing areas, can see and easily access your work.

Through Minerva Access, you:

  • Ensure that a digital copy of your thesis is preserved
  • Receive a permanent and citable web link to your thesis
  • Can track usage of your thesis.

In some circumstances, however, it may be necessary to delay or to withhold online access to the thesis.


Public access options

There are three options for access to your thesis in the repository. Once your decision is made about these options, this information is included as part of the data you enter into TES when submitting your thesis for examination:

Open AccessThesis full text is available online to anyone, as soon as deposited into Minerva-Access.  This may be the redacted version of your thesis if sensitive or third-party copyright information in your thesis cannot be published.
External Embargo

Thesis full text is available to Melbourne staff and students only during the embargo period, with access via UniMelb login. After the embargo period has passed, the thesis full text is available online to any person.  

  • Thesis metadata (including title, author, abstract, keywords) will be displayed publicly during the embargo period
  • Requests from the public via inter‐library loan for research or study purposes will be fulfilled during the embargo period.

Why choose External Embargo?

This is sufficient to meet genuine needs to limit access pending a publication submission or if the thesis contains published articles that are subject to publisher embargoes.

How long is the embargo period?

The embargo is for two years and can, if required, be extended for another two years. It is necessary to indicate the reasons for requesting embargo on submission into TES.

Full Embargo

Thesis full text is not available by any means during embargo period. After the embargo period has passed, the thesis full text is available online.

  • No requests for inter‐library loans will be fulfilled.
  • There will be no access to the thesis in University departments.
  • Thesis metadata (including title, author, abstract, keywords) will be displayed publicly during the embargo period. It will only be suppressed in very exceptional circumstances, such as to avoid public disclosure prior to a patent application.

Why choose Full Embargo?

This is an appropriate choice where intellectual property protection is required (eg pending a patent application/ commercialisation negotiation) or there are exceptional privacy or security issues.

How long is the embargo period?

The embargo is for two years and can, if required, be extended for another two years. It is necessary to indicate the reasons for requesting embargo on submission into TES.

Redacted Version of Your Thesis

Some theses contain information that cannot be made public, such as confidential or private data, matters related to intellectual property agreements, or third-party copyright where permission to publish it has not been obtained.  

In these cases, students may be required to provide two versions of the online thesis to the Library:

(i) a full version for archival and preservation purposes and, if required,

(ii) a partially redacted version to comply with confidentiality and copyright conditions.

Where possible, confidential information should be presented in an appendix rather than in the body of the thesis. The body of the thesis can then be available on open access, while the appendix is not.

When providing a redacted version of your thesis to the repository, the required copies of the thesis are:

  • The thesis as examined including any required amendments and including the third-party material. This copy will not be publicly available but will be stored in Minerva Access for long-term preservation.
  • A second “public access” copy of your thesis, with third-party material for which there is no permission removed or “redacted”.
    • Such material should be redacted and replaced with a statement such as "This image/material has been removed by the author of this thesis for copyright reasons”. If possible, when removing material from the digital copy, a placeholder should be included to retain the pagination of the original document.

Third-Party Copyright Material in your Thesis

Whether choosing immediate open access or seeking an embargo, the Preparation of Graduate Research Theses Rules require you to list third party copyright material included in your thesis and whether you have gained permission from the copyright owners to make this material publicly available as part of your thesis.  You should obtain those permissions as early as possible to avoid delays to submission.

When creating the list of third party copyright material included in your thesis, please use the Template for Listing Third Party Copyright Material.

Please ensure that:

  • The inclusion of publications in the thesis complies with publisher copyright conditions. Usually this means the post‐print (author-accepted manuscript) should be used rather than the publisher PDF as it appears in the final published version at the publisher site.
  • Informed consent has been obtained for the use of research participants’ photographs (eg patients), and particularly for the use of images of Indigenous Australians.
  • The identity of participants in the research is adequately protected.

If you have not been successful in obtaining these permissions, you will need to deposit two copies of the thesis. Likewise, if your thesis includes confidential or sensitive material you should consider redaction.

If you are unsure what constitutes third-party copyright and what is legitimate use and what use would require permission, see Copyright in my Thesis.


Exceptional Circumstances

In rare cases it may be necessary to prevent access to all versions of your thesis for a limited time. For example if:

  • Your thesis contains material which could have legal repercussions if published
  • Your thesis contains material for which you intend to apply for patent protection, or there are other possible commercial benefits which would be prejudiced were the thesis to be made public immediately after acceptance
  • There are other exceptional circumstances.

Restricted access must be approved by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Graduate and International Research) and is normally approved for up to one year. Restriction for longer periods may be approved on further application. You must consider carefully whether applying for restricted access will unduly impair your ability to publish your research or make your work and achievements known to potential employers. Discuss these issues with your supervisors before applying.

To apply for restricted access, submit a completed application to the Graduate Research Examinations Office by email. When you upload your thesis to Minerva Access select the citation and metadata only display option.


How users discover my thesis

Your thesis, whether in print or online, can be discovered by users around the world. Users can search for theses from the University of Melbourne Library Catalogue or Discovery tool or from search engines such as Google and Google Scholar.

All records about Australian theses held in university library catalogues and digital repositories are also made available via Trove, the National Library of Australia's database.

Search engines return results based on the metadata associated with your thesis: author, title, keywords. Some publishers provide tips for authors on how to optimise metadata for search engine discoverability. Wiley's Author Services site is one example.

If you are pursuing an academic career, the discoverability of your work is important. It is also important that your work is attributed correctly to you.


For information on copyright, including copyright in creative works and dealing with the copyright of others visit the Copyright Office.


Next: Thesis prizes