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May 2010

As the copyright owner of your thesis you are free to do with it as you will such as seeking a publisher, leaving it on the shelf or digitally archiving it on open access. To smooth the way to either making it available on open access or have it published, you will need to clear the copyright for any material that is not yours which you have included i.e. images, graphs, maps etc… . Most publishers will require you to have done this before they start to work on your thesis and this will need to be done before can make it available on open access via Sydney Digital Theses.

Clearing copyright means getting permission from a copyright owner to use their material (you do not need to do this if you are not going to do anything with your thesis after you have submitted it, but you never know… .).

You should seek permission in writing, the University Copyright guide section - Copyright and your thesis has reference to a template that you can easily use. As well, this guide has a lot of relevant information in relation to copyright. For a comprehensive guide relating to copyright and depositing your thesis see Copyright Guide for Research Students: What you need to know about copyright before depositing your electronic thesis in an online repository. This includes how long copyright lasts, exception and other templates for seeking permission.

It should be noted that archiving a digital copy of your thesis and making it available on open access should not preclude you from nor hinder your chances of the work being published. There are many benefits to having your thesis archived and available on open access:
• International exposure of your thesis
• Web access
• Indexing by Google Scholar, Scientific Commons and other scholarly search services
• Secure archival storage
• Permanent and citable web links that you can use in your resume or future publications.

To end with, a very important reminder. If you do publish, read your contract carefully. Don’t be afraid to ask that your original work i.e. your thesis, be made available on open access and remember. Don’t sign your rights away!


Welcome to the first post on the University of Sydney Open Access blog. Some of you may already be aware of what open access is however for those that are new to it the essential principle of the Open Access movement is that knowledge derived from public funding should be freely accessible online, for public use. For more information about this there is a Library site devoted to this please see -

The focus of this blog will be to discuss the benefits of and developments in open access and keep people up to date with open access happening at the University of Sydney.

To kick things off I’d like to highlight a recent publication that I found interesting. Digitize this book: the politics of new media, or why we need open access now by Gary Hall. Gary Hall. Chapter one “ Why all academic research and scholarship should be made available in online open access archives – now!, provides an interesting and nontraditional introduction into open access publishing and its benefits. Gary Hall is Professor of Media and Performing Arts in the School of Art and Design at Coventry University, UK and Visiting Fellow in The Centre for Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences ) at the University of Cambridge. He presented a very good paper at the 1st Conference on Open Access Scholarly Publishing, Lund, 2009 titled "Follow the Money": The Political Economy of Open Access in the Humanities, - - .I found presentation very poignant especially his response to questions from the floor. Enjoy.