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Release Options

Shortly after degree conferral for each graduation period, the Graduate College transfers the theses of those graduates to IDEALS, the Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship. IDEALS is the digital repository for research and scholarship produced at Illinois and contains over 40,000 graduate theses.

When you submit your thesis to the Graduate College, you will be asked to select a release option for your work in IDEALS. These options go into effect when the Graduate College transfers your thesis to IDEALS. Take time to review the IDEALS Deposit Agreement: Non-Exclusive Distribution and Preservation License prior to submission.

IDEALS Release Options

The release option you choose will go into effect after your thesis has been transferred to IDEALS. The metadata for your thesis—including title, author’s name, adviser/committee, department, degree, abstract, and subject(s)—will be visible for your thesis in IDEALS for all release options. All doctoral and master’s students will choose from one of three release options:

  • Open Access: The thesis will be immediately publicly available through IDEALS.
     
  • U of I Access: Access to the thesis through IDEALS will be restricted to members of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign community for a period of 2 years. The thesis will also be available through the University Library’s interlibrary loan service during this period of time. After 2 years, the thesis will become publicly available through IDEALS.
     
  • Closed Access: Access to the thesis through IDEALS will be restricted such that it will not be available to anyone, including you and your adviser, for a period of 2 years. After 2 years, the thesis will become publicly available through IDEALS.

ProQuest Release Options (Doctoral Students Only) - Optional

In addition to the copy of the doctoral dissertation transferred to IDEALS, doctoral students may opt to have the Graduate College transfer a copy to ProQuest. ProQuest provides non-exclusive distribution via the ProQuest Dissertation & Theses Database (PQDT). Students who wish to send their dissertation to ProQuest should agree to the ProQuest publishing agreement during step 2 of the thesis submission process. Note: Paper agreements are no longer accepted.

Note that as the dissertation author, you retain the copyright to your work; this agreement grants ProQuest only a non-exclusive license to make the dissertation available.

If you choose to send your dissertation to ProQuest, the release option you select for IDEALS will determine the ProQuest release option in the following way:

  • If you choose IDEALS Open Access, your work will be sent to ProQuest for immediate release.
  • If you choose IDEALS U of I Access, your work will be transmitted to ProQuest with a 2-year delayed release (embargo) before the full text is available. During this time, ProQuest will not make the dissertation available; however, metadata including the author’s name, title, and abstract are published and appear in the PQDT.
  • If you choose IDEALS Closed Access, your work will be transmitted to ProQuest with a 2-year delayed release (embargo) before the full text is available. During this time, ProQuest will not make the dissertation available; however, metadata including the author’s name, title, and abstract are published and appear in the PQDT.

When the University transfers your dissertation to ProQuest, the following choices are selected by default:

  • The work will not be indexed by search engines.
  • Sales by third party retailers are not permitted.

If you would like to change your publishing options with ProQuest after publication, contact the ProQuest Author Relations Department at 800-521-0600 ext. 77020 or disspub@proquest.com. Please note: ProQuest will only be able to assist you once your document has been transferred to them, usually about 4 months after degree conferral.

Withholding for Patent Considerations

The best way to protect the patentability of the research disclosed in your thesis is to temporarily withhold publication of the thesis, including the title, abstract, and the body of the work.  This can only be done through a formal thesis withholding process, administered through the Office of Technology Management (OTM).  Neither the IDEALS U of I Access or Closed Access release options nor the ProQuest embargo options are substitutes for contacting OTM and making a formal request that your thesis be withheld from publication to prevent premature disclosure of potentially patentable subject matter:

  • Limiting publication to the University community in IDEALS via the U of I Access option is still considered a public disclosure for patenting purposes, which could limit your ability to obtain a patent or greatly narrow the scope of possible patent protection.
  • Under the IDEALS Closed Access option and all ProQuest embargo options, the title and abstract of your thesis will still be publicly available.  The information contained in these parts of your thesis is considered a public disclosure for patenting purposes, which could limit your ability to obtain a patent or greatly narrow the scope of possible patent protection.

If your thesis is withheld, the IDEALS release option you chose upon submission will go into effect when the thesis is released from patent review.

Students should contact OTM for more information about thesis withholding and should carefully review the Patent FAQ section of the Thesis Office FAQ page.

Request an Extension or Change to Your Release Option

To change or extend your IDEALS release option, follow the instructions for the request that applies to you:

  • Request a change to the initial release option (within 2 years of graduation): Email thesis@illinois.edu with your request. Include your name, UIN, title of your thesis, graduation semester and year, the release option you are requesting, and if the release option is for a master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation. The Thesis Office will contact you when the request is complete.
     
  • Request a two-year extension of U of I Access (more than 2 years after graduation): Complete this PDF request form and email to thesis@illinois.edu. The Thesis Office will contact you when the request is complete. No limits are imposed on the number of times a graduate can request U of I Access extensions; however, these extensions will only be made in two-year increments. The Thesis Office will not notify you when the two-year extension period is over.
     
  • Other request: Requests for extensions of Closed Access or longer periods of U of I Access require justification and review through the petition process using a Graduate Student Request form. You will be required to include a justification for the request. Questions about the petition process should be directed to Graduate Student Academic Services (GSAS) at gradacserv@illinois.edu or (217) 333-2364.
     
  • Request that my thesis be openly available (Open Access): Contact IDEALS at ideals@library.illinois.edu with your request.

Doctoral students interested in extending or changing the release option for the copy of your dissertation in the ProQuest database should work directly with ProQuest. The ProQuest Author Relations department can be reached at (800) 521-0600 ext. 77020 or disspub@proquest.com.