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Brian Cockburn Brian Cockburn's principal role is to teach and advise faculty, administrators and students about copyright, and intellectual property.
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ELECTRONIC Theses and Dissertations



An ETD is an openly-accessable electronic verison of your thesis/dissertation that will be kept by JMU Libraries instead of a bound, paper copy.

After you have submitted your electronic thesis/dissertation and the Honors office or Graduate School has approved it, it will be available as follows:

  • The full text will be openly available in the Library's digital repository, at a unique, permanent URL
  • A description will appear in the Library catalog, with a link to the document
  • Your thesis/dissertation will be indexed and available through search engines (such as Google)

You will be offered several options for restricting access (referred to as an embargo) when submitting your thesis/dissertation. While immediate open access is the default, embargo options should be discussed with your advisor, and both the advisor and the thesis/dissertation author should agree.  Both the Graduate School and Honors program will ask that you and your advisor sign the Document Agreement indicating appropriate availability. 

Options for Restricting Access to an ETD (Embargo) 
There are several situations in which you should consider restricting access to your work. JMU offers two embargo options:  one year, and two years. If you select an embargo, your thesis/dissertation will not be available through the Library until the end of the embargo period. The title, abstract, attribution information, and subject classification will be available during and after the embargo the Library catalog.

Why might I want to embargo my work:

  1. If your work is based on data generated through research that will support other publications from people on the research team (such as your advisor), it may be necessary to refrain from releasing that data while other publications are prepared.
  2. If your thesis/dissertation contains data or material that was generated pursuant to a grant or contract and the thesis/dissertation is subject to review by the sponsor or grantor prior to publication, you should select a one year embargo.
  3. If you are planning to publish all or part of your thesis/dissertation and know that publishers in your field consider open access electronic thesis/dissertations to be a prior publication, you may want to consider an embargo or check on their open access policy before submitting your thesis/dissertation.
In all cases you should discuss these issues with your advisor.