Thesis and Dissertation Embargo

An important goal of Wichita State University is to produce and disperse new knowledge. As such, every possible effort should be made to ensure that the scholarship produced at the university is disseminated as widely as possible. However, there are situations where publicly releasing research results, creative activities, and other scholarly projects too soon may jeopardize the ability of the owners of the intellectual property to obtain a patent or subsequently publish the work. Further, there may be cases when classified research is being conducted that cannot be published at all. As a result, this policy provides a framework to allow graduate student theses and dissertations to be embargoed, while simultaneously underscoring the university’s commitment to dissemination of its produced knowledge.

Temporary Embargo

In consultation with the faculty thesis or dissertation advisor, a graduate student may request an embargo of their work. The dean of the Graduate School will embargo the academic document in question (i.e., prohibit public disclosure) for a period of one year from the date of deposit. In reviewing such requests, the dean should consider the full implication of embargoing ongoing and future academic and scholarly work at the university.

If a request to temporarily embargo a thesis or dissertation is approved, the embargoed thesis or dissertation will be made unavailable within the university’s institutional repository. However, bibliographic information (i.e., author, advisor, title and date) will be publicly available. The dean of the Graduate School will inform the dean of University Libraries of all embargo decisions made relative to this policy and will provide pertinent information concerning a thesis or dissertation to be embargoed, such as title, student name, graduation date, department and thesis or dissertation director's name. The completion of the requirements for a graduate degree will not be affected in any way by an embargo of a thesis or dissertation.

At the end of the one year period, the embargoed thesis or dissertation will automatically be released without further action. If an extension of the embargo is required, that request must be made to the dean of the Graduate School before the end of the embargo with appropriate justification. The threshold to demonstrate continued need of the embargo is high, and it is not expected that this would be a routine occurrence.

Pursuant to the university patent policy, it is the responsibility of the faculty advisor and the student to protect the intellectual property during the conduct of the project and the writing of the document, and in any examinations over the contents of the document. The faculty advisor and the student should consult with the dean of the Graduate School and the director of technology evaluation at WSU Ventures about these matters as early as possible.

Classified Research

In certain instances, graduate students may be involved in classified research that indefinitely prevents public disclosure of the results. These situations must have approval from the dean of the Graduate School before the research is started. In particular, the dean of the Graduate School will work with the student, faculty thesis or dissertation advisor, and (perhaps) sponsor to come to an agreement of all publication restrictions prior to initiating the project. Indefinite embargoes, beyond what is detailed in the above section, will typically not be approved once the project is underway.