Your thesis and open access

After the final submission of your thesis for a PhD or DBA programme, it will be made available as open access via Edinburgh Napier’s Research Repository.

In this blog post you’ll find more information about what this means for your thesis, the benefits of open access, and the possibility of embargoes.

Your thesis in the repository

The repository serves as a permanent archive for your thesis. Your thesis will be made freely available for anyone to read – this is what open access means. Your thesis will also be assigned a DOI, a permanent link which can be easily shared and cited.

Once deposited in the repository, your thesis will subsequently appear in:

  • Edinburgh Napier University’s Research Explorer Tool
  • The British Library’s EThOS service, which aggregates records of all doctoral theses awarded in the UK and currently contains details of over 500,000 theses.
  • CORE – a service which brings together millions of open access research papers from institutions worldwide.

Benefits of open access for your thesis

  1. More readers! Open access removes barriers between research and readers, meaning that more people will be able to find your thesis, including via services like EThOS and CORE. It will be freely available to anyone, anywhere in the world, who has internet access. This increases the range and impact of your work.
  2. Increase citation and collaboration – by making your research more accessible to other researchers, the potential for others to cite, respond to, and build upon your research is increased. Researchers working in similar areas will find it easier to discover your work and therefore connect and collaborate with you.
  3. Stable archiving – the repository serves as a permanent record of your thesis, meaning that accurate details of your thesis and the full text will remain available in perpetuity for future researchers.

Open access and embargoes

Edinburgh Napier University’s policy is to make all theses available open access, except in cases where a temporary embargo is approved. This approach is standard across UK HE institutions, and making research open access is a requirement of many funders.

If there is a reason why you would not want your thesis to be openly available, you can apply for an embargo as detailed in Section 6.7 of the Research Degrees Framework. This must be done before final submission of your thesis and embargoes must be approved by the University Research Degrees Committee. If a thesis is granted an embargo, it will remain private for a temporary period (typically no longer than two years) and then will subsequently be made open access in the repository in the usual way.

Planning to publish from your thesis? You won’t necessarily need an embargo. Many major publishers don’t consider an open access thesis to be prior publication, and in most cases anything that you publish based on your thesis would undergo substantial revisions and therefore be considered a separate work. If you’re concerned, it’s worth checking with the specific publisher you’re interested in to see what their policies are.

Check the Research Degrees Framework for more information on how to apply for an embargo if you need one.

Contact us

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Repository Team at