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Digital theses and ORA: What to deposit


Depositors may deposit files in any format in ORA. It is expected that most files will have been created using current common or recent software applications. Some older, obsolete or more obscure file types may present preservation or dissemination difficulties and depositors should be aware of such limitations.

Coronavirus Update

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic ORA services are remote working with limited access. Please use the contact us form or email directly. Phones are currently unmanned with voicemails being accessed intermittently.

Hardbound theses submissions:

Students will not need to submit a hardbound copy of their DPhil thesis to the Examination Schools in order to graduate, following being granted leave to supplicate, during Michaelmas Term 2021/22 academic year. This also includes any students who were unable to submit a hardbound copy due to COVID-19 social distancing measures in the 2019/20 & 2020/21 academic year. However, all candidates will still need to submit an electronic copy to the Oxford University Research Archive (ORA) a minimum of five working days prior to their graduation date. Students will not be able to attend a degree ceremony (even in absentia) without doing so.

Submissions of Research Degrees theses to be sent to examiners will still be via the Research Thesis Digital Submissions portal.

Up to date guidance for students and staff can be found on the Covid-19 FAQ page: “

Deposit of your thesis

In order to have your degree conferred at a graduation ceremony you must submit one hard-bound copy of the final version of your thesis (including any approved minor corrections) for deposit in the Bodleian Library. 

Candidates for the degrees of DPhil, MLitt and MSc by Research are also required to deposit a copy of their thesis with ORA. Deposit of a copy with the archive is optional for candidates for the degrees of DClinPsych, MPhil, Master of Studies in Legal Research (MSt) or Bachelor of Philosophy (BPhil) in Philosophy.

Further details for depositing the hard-bound copy are available at 


In addition to these notes, please see the relavent Examination Regulations Governing Research Degrees

Two copies of your thesis should be submitted to the research archive. An archive version and a dissemination version.

Archived version: The version of your work that is required for deposit to the research archive in order to comply with the terms of your graduation is a copy that is as close to the examined work as possible, with all images and text in place and no security settings applied for the purpose of preservation – this may be a Word doc, Latex, PDF (depending on how the file has been created) or another source (files can be zipped together to send to the archive as necessary). 

The original source file(s) will be kept secure in the dark archive for preservation and will not be made accessible for general use.

Dissemination version: A PDF version of the work should also be added to the archive as the version for dissemination (once any embargo periods have ended). Please try to ensure that the pagination of your e-thesis matches that of the hardbound version of your thesis. 

If you are unable to make the full version of your thesis available online we must still receive a full archive version of your thesis, but you can - with dispensation from consultation - provide an edited dissemination version. Please see: Edited/dissemination copy of your thesis 

PDFs are a good form for dissemination as they display as the author intended, retain pagination (and therefore correct cross-referencing) and can have security settings enabled. 

Software for converting files to PDF is available on many departmental or college workstations, but if you have any problems additional support can be given from by IT Services, Banbury Road.

Additional notes 

  • Security settings: it is not possible to index or run preservation activities on files that have security settings enabled, so the archive version of your thesis cannot have security settings enabled.
  • LaTeX: If your document requires any custom LaTeX macros or scripts, please include these as well.
  • TIFF: It is helpful to deposit a JPEG version as well. ORA staff may make a JPEG copy.
  • Datasets: ORA now includes an ORA Data as a formal service for storage of Oxford research data. Please contact if you wish to discuss the deposit of research data in ORA.

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.

Contact us at:

NOTICE: Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic ORA services are remote working with limited access. Please use the contact us form or email directly. Phones are currently unmanned with voicemails being accessed intermittently.

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