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Digital theses and ORA: FAQs

Digital theses FAQs

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Do I have to deposit my thesis in ORA?

D.Phil., M.Litt. and M.Sc.(by research) students who registered from 1st Oct 2007 are required to deposit a copy of their thesis in ORA. Students taking these degree programmes and registering prior to this date, and students following other research degree programmes are invited to deposit a copy of their thesis in ORA if they wish. For details of eligible programmes see Eligible eTheses.

Which username and password to I need to deposit my thesis in ORA?

You need your WebLearn also known as Oxford Single sign on, WebAuth or Herald username and password. If you have left the University and your password has expired contact for a temporary password. 

Who owns the copyright of my thesis?

In most cases the author of the thesis holds the copyright. All authors should be aware of material included in the thesis where copyright is held by another party (for example if you have used an image or map). You will need to obtain permission from the rights holder to make this material freely available on the Internet by including your thesis in ORA. In a minority of cases a commercial sponsor or other party may hold some of the rights. If you are unsure check with the Research Services Office or your supervisor.

When do I have to ask permission from the copyright owner to use their material in my digital thesis?
When citing other’s work, you should reference the work or extract using standard academic referencing and fully acknowledge the work of others in line with common best academic practice. For short text excerpts you probably do not need to ask permission. However, you should be aware of the proportion of the work you have quoted: for example quoting 4 lines from a short poem may constitute a large proportion of the work and you should seek the permission of the rights holder. You should be particularly mindful of images, diagrams, maps and so on. It is very likely you will need the copyright holder’s permission to distribute their material via the Internet. You should send copies of permissions to ORA when submitting your thesis. IF IN DOUBT, SEEK PERMISSION FROM THE RIGHTS HOLDER.

How much does it cost to obtain permission to include photos and other copyright materials in the online version of my thesis?

No student is expected to pay for permission to include copyright material in the online thesis. If permission is not granted, you will have to embargo the affected content. See restricted access to your thesis for dealing with embargoed content.

My thesis includes articles I previously published in scholarly journals. Can I make my entire thesis freely available online?

You should check the policy of each journal publisher. For many you can do this easily using SHERPA/Romeo. If the publisher does not grant permission as a general policy or you cannot find their policy, you can contact them personally to explain that the article was used as part of your thesis (and if applicable, that you are required to deposit it in ORA). Suggested wording for use when contacting publishers is available here. If you are not able to obtain permission to make the articles available online then you should apply for dispensation from consultation for the affected content.

Some publishers will not permit a publisher-formatted version of an article to be made available online via your thesis, but may permit an author-formatted version to be made available instead. If this is the case for an article in your thesis, please replace the publisher-formatted version with an author-formatted version in your digital thesis. There is no need to apply for dispensation from consultation to obtain permission to replace the publisher-formatted version of the article with a version you have formatted.

Oxford Research Archive






Oxford University Research Archive (ORA) is an institutional repository for the University of Oxford and is home to the scholarly output of its research members. It holds publications, theses and research data.

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