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, which apply from 1 February 2017.


Deposit requirements

The Library only requires 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 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.

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 will 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 Access

Thesis full text is available online to anyone, as soon as it is 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 only to Melbourne staff and students 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?

If you have concerns that you will limit your ability to publish your work if your thesis is available via open access or if you have a publication pending, you should select “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 be extended for another two years if required. 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. See Exceptional Circumstances below.

Why choose Full Embargo?

This is an appropriate choice where intellectual property protection is required (eg pending a patent application or 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. See also Full Embargo of Your Thesis below.

Embargo Criteria

The criteria for which an embargo may be sought include:

  • The research was conducted under a contract or third-party arrangement that places restriction on access to the thesis
  • An application for a patent or intellectual property protection is planned but not yet submitted
  • The thesis contains material that must remain confidential due to legal, cultural, ethical or national security reasons
  • The prospective publisher of articles from the research requires that the thesis has not been made available.

Redacted Version of Your Thesis

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

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

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

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.

Full Embargo of Your Thesis

If your thesis is placed under full embargo, your Chair of Examiners will only able to view the thesis metadata. Therefore, you will need to provide your Chair of Examiners with the exact file that is uploaded to Minerva Access (via secure means, e.g. CloudStor or Dropbox) so that they can certify that you have satisfactorily addressed any examiners' comments and complied with any conditions that must be met prior to the award of the degree.

Reducing an Embargo Period

If you selected embargo to your thesis, you may lift the embargo before its expiry by submitting an email request, along with your supervisor’s endorsement, to Minerva Access.


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 copyright permissions as early as possible to avoid delays in submitting your thesis.

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 your publisher copyright agreement. 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 (e.g. 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 depositing two copies. See Redacted Version of your Thesis above.

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:

  • 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.

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.

Embargo Extensions

The embargo period of two years can be extended for up to an additional two years if required. You will be contacted prior to the initial two year embargo period expires to invite you to extend for an additional two years. If you need an extension beyond four years, submit a completed application to the Graduate Research Examinations Office by email.

No Access

No access means that the thesis metadata (including title, author, abstract, keywords) may not be displayed and 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. To apply for no access, submit a completed application to the Graduate Research Examinations Office by email.

When submitting your thesis for examination to TES you should select the Full Embargo 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