Should I put an embargo on my PhD thesis?

March 19, 2024

WUR's Open Access policy requires making your PhD thesis publicly available in the PhD theses repository. Do you want to publish one or more chapters of your PhD thesis in a scientific journal? Some journals have rules about publishing material that has already been made publicly available elsewhere. Consider putting an embargo on the full-text availability of your thesis.

What is an embargo?

An embargo on an online document temporarily blocks its full-text publication. When an embargo is placed on a thesis in the WURs PhD theses repository, only the author’s name, title and metadata are published. The full text is not available during the embargo period. In this way, your thesis is not yet publicly available and cannot be detected by plagiarism detection software.

Reasons for placing an embargo

Most of the time you do not need an embargo on your PhD thesis, but there are two exceptions:

  • You still need to publish one or more chapters of your thesis and the publisher does not allow online publication of your thesis in an institutional repository.
  • In special cases such as commercial interests in the case of patent applications.

If one of these exceptions accounts for your thesis, you can request an embargo by emailing The default embargo period is 1 year. The embargo period can be extended on request.

Embargos usually not needed

The default is to publish your PhD thesis open access without an embargo. As a PhD candidate, WUR's Open Access policy requires you to publish your work open access, including your thesis. This way you create more impact with your research and get more citations on your publications. Putting an embargo on the thesis limits these possibilities.

Additionally, most publishers permit thesis publication in institutional repositories, reducing the need for an embargo. Check the regulations of the journal’s publisher where you want to publish your article(s). Always clarify in your cover letter to the publisher that the article is part of your PhD thesis. If issues arise with a publisher about the publication in the repository, ask your science group's legal advisors for assistance.

More information

For more information go to Publishing parts of your thesis. You can also find more information on the PhD thesis submission page.