Procedure Placing an Embargo on a Thesis

Thesis Embargo Procedure

Version date: 28 Jul 2023


A digital copy of a UCD research thesis is automatically deposited in the UCD Library Research Repository UCD (RRU) upon award of the research degree and, without an embargo being set, is immediately publicly available to view*. The default position of the university is to not apply an embargo on a research thesis. However, there may be cases where the thesis does need to be embargoed for a period of time. This period of time would normally be 2 years, but requests for more than 2 years can also be considered. This document outlines the procedure to request an embargo on a research thesis.

Embargos will be approved only where there is a good reason for doing so and must be supported by the research student’s Principal Supervisor. Please note that an embargo on a thesis can only be sought prior to submission of the thesis for examination (normally three months in advance of the expected thesis submission date). Embargo approval rests with the University Graduate Research Board (GRB).

*It is a requirement for the award of a research degree that a printed copy of the thesis is also deposited in the UCD Library to be archived in a closed store.



Procedure & FAQs

To seek an embargo on a research thesis, evidence must be provided that the research thesis contains personal, security or commercially sensitive information or the thesis contains material intended for future publication.

  • The student consults with their supervisor regarding the requirement for an embargo and secures their permission to apply for an embargo.
  • The student prepares supporting documentation to make the case for placing an embargo on their thesis. If the reason for seeking an embargo is for copyright reasons, then the student must provide evidence that:
    • they have made every effort to secure permission to use the material in question and have been unsuccessful, or
    • the volume of copyrighted materials included in the thesis falls outside the “fair dealing” stipulated Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000 and the Copyright and Other Intellectual Property Law Provisions Act 2019.
  • The student completes the Research Thesis Embargo Request Form, uploading supporting documentation which upon submission is forwarded to the Graduate Research Board (GRB). This request must be made prior to submission of the thesis for examination*. If the supporting documentation is deemed to be of a confidential or sensitive nature, then it must be sent securely encrypted/password protected. Please email the one-off password for this to
  • The GRB will consider the request** and will contact the student (and their Principal Supervisor) by email with the decision on the application:
    • If embargo is approved, the embargo expiry date will be recorded on the University Student Information System and the thesis will not be transferred to the RRU until the approved expiry date. Please note that in order to take into account the amount of time that may elapse between submitting your thesis and awarding your degree, an additional 3 months will be added onto the period of time of your request for an embargo***.
    • Once the thesis is embargoed, a citation to the thesis will always remain visible on the RRU.
    • Where the request for an embargo is rejected, the thesis will be made accessible upon the award of the degree.

*If an embargo request is not submitted before thesis submission, then it may not be possible to prevent the deposit of the thesis to the Research Repository UCD (RRU).

**For embargo time periods greater than 5 years the request will be considered at the monthly GRB meeting.

***The embargo expiry end date will not automatically change if, for example, there are any changes to the originally planned thesis submission date.

  • A copy of a confidentiality/non-disclosure agreement showing that research participants had taken part under the condition that access to the thesis would be restricted
  • A plan for publication with a prospective publisher and publication dates identified, proposed dates for publication and, if applicable, confirmation that the ability to publish in a journal/paper would be compromised if the research appeared elsewhere e.g. UCD RRU
  • A letter from a research funder declaring that the thesis is required to be embargoed for a period of time
  • A filing receipt of a submitted patent

More substantive Supporting evidence must be provided if the request is for an embargo of more than 2 years.

  • A letter from a prospective publisher showing that they would consider publishing works deriving from the thesis only if access to the thesis is restricted
  • A copy of notification that a patent has been granted.


Research Thesis Embargo Request Form

Research Repository UCD

Thesis Embargoes