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UMass Amherst Libraries

Dissertations & Theses

Helpful links for dissertation and thesis authors

VDM/Lambert Academic Publishing

Umass Amherst recommends that students who would normally publish a monograph of their thesis or dissertation for promotion and tenure purposes should rely on more traditionally accepted / peer reviewed publishers within their respective fields for publishing opportunities.  This publishing venue uses a print-on-demand model and markets dissertations and theses through Amazon, Barnes & and other large online booksellers.  Royalties are paid to authors when sufficient sales warrant.  VDM/Lambert Academic Publishing routinely contacts authors of dissertations and theses using information they get through ProQuest, the University, library catalogs, and other sources.  Authors should note that VDM/Lambert Academic Publishing requests exclusive distribution rights for versions that they publish. 

Open access, Campus Access, Embargoes and your dissertation or thesis

What does open access mean?

Open access means the full content of your dissertation or thesis is freely available online to researchers and the general public, permitting any users to read, download, print, search, or link to the full text of your dissertation or thesis.  You, as the author, retain copyright over your dissertation or thesis and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited. 

What does campus access mean?

Campus access means the full content of your dissertation or thesis is restricted to those using a computer on the UMass Amherst campus, those with a valid UMass Amherst user name and password, or through interlibrary loan.

What is an embargo?

        An embargo is a restriction placed on your dissertation or thesis for a specified length of time after submission.  No one will be able to access your dissertation or thesis during the embargo period.  Embargo periods are usually for 6 months.  If necessary, longer embargo periods may also be requested with approval of your academic department and the Graduate Dean.

More Information:

For more information on open access and your author rights see the Scholarly Communication Guide

Reasons to choose open access:

1.) When dissertations and theses are publicly available, your scholarship is available to anyone who might want to read it. That means more recognition, more impact, and more citations to your work by other researchers

2.) By choosing open access, you will have the ability to share a download link with potential employers and colleagues. (Campus access theses and dissertations can only be downloaded by those with a valid, current UMass Amherst user name and password.  This means potential employers, colleagues, friends, family, and even you yourself will not be able to freely access your dissertation or thesis.)
3.) Improve the dissemination of knowledge and the advancement of research by making your scholarship freely available online.

Reasons you might consider choosing campus access or an embargo:

1.) You have concerns about your ability to publish your dissertation or thesis as a book or journal article.  Keep in mind that dissertations and theses that will later be published as books or journal articles are likely to require extensive revision, and the open availability of the dissertation or thesis should not be presumed to undercut its future market.  However, you should be informed about whether publishers in your field consider open access electronic dissertations or theses to be a prior publication.  You may want to consider an embargo or check on publishers' open access policies before submitting your dissertation.

2.) If you plan to apply for a patent based on research that is discussed in your dissertation, you should be aware of the rules governing prior publication of material for which a patent is sought. Generally, once patent applicants publish their ideas or invention, they have a one-year window to file for a patent. After one year, the applicant's own publication may be considered “prior art” that could prevent the issuance of a patent. Since electronic distribution of your dissertation through either Proquest or ScholarWorks is publication for this purpose, an embargo will delay the beginning of this one-year time clock against a potential patent application. By selecting a six month embargo, you will have a total of 18 months to submit a patent application.  If necessary, longer embargo periods may also be requested with approval of your academic department and the Graduate Dean.

For more information on patents

Publishers to avoid

Predatory, open-access publishers are those that unprofessionally exploit the author-pays model of open-access publishing (Gold OA) for their own profit. Typically, these publishers spam professional email lists, broadly soliciting article submissions for the clear purpose of gaining additional income. Operating essentially as vanity presses, these publishers typically have a low article acceptance threshold, with a false-front or non-existent peer review process.  Unlike professional publishing operations, whether subscription-based or ethically-sound open access, these predatory publishers add little value to scholarship, pay little attention to digital preservation, and operate using fly-by-night, unsustainable business models.