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This page contains guidelines on creating a separate appendix for your thesis, which can simplify the process of restricting access to sensitive or copyrighted material.
Creating a separate appendix
These guidelines are designed to simplify the process of restricting access to sensitive material whilst enabling the remainder of your thesis to be read by other researchers. Copyright and sensitive material can be segregated into a separate restricted appendix, and the main body of the work made freely available.
Access to content in a thesis is necessary in the research ethics context because there might be material in the thesis which could be identified as data from, or description of, an individual participant who had not given consent to such information being made publicly available.
Note that all versions of your thesis must match in form.
- Try to obtain permission wherever possible to include 3rd party copyright material in the online version of your thesis whilst gathering material, rather than waiting until you deposit your thesis.
- Be vigilant for sensitive or copyright content when writing up your thesis and to which access should be restricted. More details are available here. Ask your supervisor or Research Services if you are unsure whether or not material is sensitive.
- Sensitive and uncleared copyright content can be separated from the main body of the thesis into a separate appendix. You can do this either when writing up your thesis or after all examinations and viva commitments have been fulfilled and passed. Write your thesis as you need to to satisfy the examiners.
- Reference should be made to content in the appendix at appropriate points in the text.
- Include a clear statement in the front matter of your thesis (eg. table of contents) and at the start of the appendix about the restricted content you have placed in the appendix (see suggested wording below).
- Make sure you include your name, title of the thesis and date of the thesis in the separate appendix (for example, as a heading or header)
- If there is so much sensitive or copyright material that it is impractical to separate it or it will render the remainder unintelligible, you may prefer to apply for dispensation from consultation for the entire thesis.
- Students following D.Phil., M.Litt. and M.Sc.(by Research) programmes are required to apply for dispensation from consultation for formal permission to restrict access to the appendix
- There may be content that can be included in the print thesis, but not in the freely available digital thesis (for example third party copyright material where permission has not been granted for distribution via the Internet). The copies should be identical unless there is very good reason to the contrary. The entire print version including the integral appendix can then be consulted in the Bodleian, whilst the appendix in the digital version will remain inaccessible.
- Use form GSO3C to apply for dispensation from consultation for the appendix.
Depositing your thesis
You should remember to:
- Deliver the print copy of your thesis together with the appendix (either integral or separate) to the Examination Schools. Where necessary the appendix can be separately bound and restricted (with permission via form GSO3c).
- Deposit the digital copy of your thesis in ORA. The appendix containing sensitive and/or copyright material should comprise a separate file to the main body of the thesis. Indicate on the ORA deposit form the nature of the embargo and the date when the restricted appendix can be made available (i.e. the date for removal of restriction of the item with the latest restriction date).
Suggested wording for inclusion in the front matter of the thesis (eg table of contents)
- Appendix [A]: [the digital version of] this appendix is not available for public consultation ‘until [date]’ or ‘in perpertuity’
- Sections of this thesis are not available for public consultation [online]. Restricted [digital] material is held in Appendix A which is not available for consultation ‘until [date]’ or ‘in perpertuity’
Suggested wording for inclusion at the start of the appendix
- Appendix [A] is not available for consultation until [date] or ‘in perpertuity’
Oxford University 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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