Publishing Your Thesis or Dissertation: ProQuest Digital Dissertations© & Special Collections at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County

After your document has cleared all necessary Univeristy of Maryland, Baltimore County checks, the Graduate School releases the document to Proquest Information and Learning for publication. At the time of release, a copy of the document is also inserted into the Special Collections at the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery.

During the submission process, you are required to grant the University and ProQuest Information and Learning a one-time, “non-exclusive right” to archive, release, and reprint your work. ProQuest will send a bound print copy of your work to Albin O. Kuhn Library. This is a non-circulating copy which will be available for reading in the AOK Library. Both ProQuest and AOK Library will host an electronic version of your work. ProQuest will keep a copy in its commercial database, Digital Dissertations; and the Library will keep a copy in the Special Collections.

What is ProQuest Information and Learning (PQIL)?

ProQuest Information and Learning (PQIL) is a private company that maintains, through an arrangement with the Library of Congress, the bibliographic record for over 2 million master’s theses and doctoral dissertations dating back to 1861. This is done through the Digital Dissertations database, a popular full-text research tool to which many university libraries subscribe. Nearly 700 institutions submit titles to the database, including every accredited doctoral degree granting institution in North America. The submission agreement allows ProQuest to host your work and to offer it for sale through its database and other online outlets, such as You are entitled to receive an annual royalty payment of 10% of all income PQIL receives from the sale of your work, payable in each year that the accrued royalties reach $10.00. Institutions that have “open access” subscriptions to ProQuest’s Digital Dissertations have free access to the full electronic text of all documents in the database.

Additionally, for a fee, ProQuest will submit your work to the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress for copyright registration. Note that you, as the author, hold copyright to your work regardless of registration, but registration makes copyright easier to enforce should your work be plagiarized.

What is Special Collections?

Special Collections is an area of the AOK Library that stores masters theses and Ph.D. dissertations submitted by UMBC students.

What are the benefits of having my work available through Proquest and Special Collections?
  • Your research can be found, read, and used by a global audience, including scholarly colleagues and potential publishers and employers.
  • Your research can be found by most popular search engines, such as Google or Yahoo, as well as through special repository search engines.
  • Increased accessibility to your research increases the chances of it being cited in other scholarly work.
  • Access to your work is maintained with a permanent URL, to which you can refer and link from your CV, email messages, or web pages.
What are my choices regarding access?

As the owner of copyright in your work, you have the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, make derivative works based on, publicly perform and display your work, and to authorize others to exercise some or all of those rights. As a condition of graduation, your work must be published. When you submit your work to the Graduate School you will be given several options regarding access to your work via ProQuest’s Digital Dissertations and Special Collections. Your options include:

  1. Make your work available via ProQuest and Special Collections as soon as it is received
    The abstract and full text of your work will be present in Proquest’s Digital Dissertations for purchase, and will be both freely available and searchable online via Special Collections.
  2. Restrict online publication of your work for either 1 or 6 years
    You may place an embargo (a restriction) on electronic access to your document through ProQuest’s Digital Dissertations and Special Collections if there is legitimate reason to do so. Patents or future publication, for example, might be jeopardized by providing unrestricted access (see below). Should you elect to restrict online publication of your work, a description of your research, including your name, the title, your advisor’s name and the abstract will be available via ProQuest and Special Collections, but the actual electronic file will be unavailable for viewing or download until the selected embargo period has passed.
  3. Restrict online publication of your work indefinitely
    You may place an indefinite embargo on your work. In this case, a description of your work including your name, the title, your advisor’s name, and the abstract will be available via ProQuest’s Digital Dissertations and Special Collections, but the actual electronic file will be embargoed indefinitely. This option requires the written approval of the Dean of the Graduate School. This restriction can be lifted at the request of the author at a later date.

These choices affect only the electronic distribution of your thesis or dissertation document. A non-circulating copy of your thesis or dissertation will be available for consultation in Special Collections of AOK Library, and print copies of your document will be made available upon request to researchers through inter-library loan.

The Graduate School requests that all students completing a Thesis or Dissertation fill out the Electronic Publication Form, which will enable you to communicate to the Graduate School your preferences regarding electronic access to your work.

Publication and Patent Issues


Under U.S. patent laws, public dissemination of patentable information, such as through publication or a seminar, effects the deadline for filing for patent protection in the U.S. and may eliminate your ability to acquire foreign patent rights. As a result, if you intend to seek patent protection for material covered in your thesis or dissertation, you may wish to request a delay in publication through PQIL and Special Collections. A one-year embargo is usually sufficient for patent purposes.

The Office of Technology Development ( may be able to help you with the patent process if you and the University jointly own the intellectual property rights in a patentable invention or if you as the sole owner of those rights assign them to the University. Consult the University of Maryland Policy on Intellectual Property, Sections VI and VII, at


The policies of publishers of professional journals with respect to publishing articles that are the identical to or a revised version of a work that was previously released and can vary significantly from publisher to publisher. You may want to speak with publishers to whom you are likely to submit your work regarding their policies before you complete the Thesis and Dissertation Electronic Publication Form. A one-year embargo on electronic publication is sufficient to comply with most publishers’ policies regarding pre-posting of material.

If you intend to publish your research as a monograph, the process will be more complicated and longer than the process for publishing a professional article based on your thesis or dissertation. Again, you may want to ask potential publishers about their policies regarding publication of your thesis or dissertation in PQIL and Special Collections. A six-year embargo on electronic distribution should provide adequate time for prior monograph publication.

Publisher contact information is available at AcqWeb’s directory. In addition, a list of publishers’ copyright and self-archiving policies is maintained at the SHERPA site.

If you have any questions concerning the availability of your work on ProQuest’s Digital Dissertations or Special Collections, please contact Dr. Lisa Portis-Morgan at the Graduate School at