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Caltech Theses: Thesis Dissemination Policy

Ph.D. theses must be submitted in electronic form as part of the graduation requirements for Caltech. This guide serves as a stepping-off point for this process.

Doctoral Thesis Dissemination Policy (effective March 1, 2017)

  • 6-Month Thesis Embargo Form.  May be used to restrict thesis files to campus for 6 months.  You will be asked for the reason for the embargo.
  • Thesis Embargo Exception Form. May be used if you wish to extend the initial 6-month restriction to campus for another 6 months, or if you need to fully embargo the thesis files eve from campus.  You will be required to receive approval from the Vice-Provost, Division Chair, Dean of Graduate Studies and University Librarian, and provide supporting documentation.  Please read the Policy carefully to find out what kinds of requests are more likely to be approved.
    The supporting documentation should be sent directly to thesis@caltech.edu.  It will then be forwarded on, along with your Exception request, to the 4 persons who will be making the decision.

More details are forthcoming.  Please contact us if you have any questions.

Access and Restriction Options (until March 1, 2017)

Thesis Availability Options

Important Notes - please read these carefully:

You should consider these options carefully. Feel free to ask Caltech Intellectual Property Office or legal counsel for advice, and to discuss this with your advisor.

  • If you have any patent information included in your thesis, you may want to consider embargoing at least portions of your thesis.
  • If you intend to work with a publisher regarding journal or book publications, be sure you understand their policies and any agreements you would sign.
  • The library will NOT submit a copy of your thesis to UMI as long as it is embargoed or restricted to campus, even in part. The file wil reside in the UMI/Caltech staff-managed buffer until is is sent to UMI by library staff.
  • Restricted thesis files are automatically released when the expiry date is reached. If you wish to extend the restriction, you must contact the library before the expiry date.
  • Withheld thesis files are NOT automatically released when the expiry date is reached. You can either contact the library to have them released early, or the library will contact you after the expiry date is reached.

CaltechTHESIS gives you four options for affording electronic access to your thesis. The online submission form in CaltechTHESIS, allow you to indicates your choice byf file and by record.  The choice made at the record level must reflect the choices made at the individual file level:

  1. Public: Recommended. Thesis will be freely available worldwide.
  2. Restricted to Caltech community only: Thesis will be freely available to the Caltech community only, but unavailable to others.  This restriction on access is only for a period of one year. To protect you, the Institute will allow the period to be extended, a year at a time, as long as necessary, and will not release your work until you and your advisor provide written authorization.
    1. CaltechTHESIS automatically releases restricted thesis files when the expiry date is reached. 
    2. If you wish to extend the restriction, you must contact the library.
  3. Withheld: Thesis will be completely embargoed, even disallowing access by the Caltech community.  This option addresses situations such as when a patent application is planned, or when proprietary interests are at stake. To protect you, the Institute will allow the period to be extended, a year at a time, as long as necessary, and will not release your work until you and your advisor provide written authorization.
    1. The average embargo period is 1 or 2 years.
    2. Withheld files are NOT automatically released.
    3. You can either contact the library to have them released early, or the library will contact you after the expiry date is reached.
  4. Mixed availability, specified at file level: If the thesis includes multiple files, access restrictions can be set differently for each file For example, you could have some files restricted or embargoed, while others are publicly available.

You must use the Embargo Expiry Date option in CaltechTHESIS if you are restricting access to all of or parts of your thesis in any way. This will allow us to process your thesis more efficiently and know when to ask for permission to release the file and eventually forward it on to UMI.