Skip to Main Content

Scholarly Communications

A guide gathering information and topics related to scholarship and publishing.

Publishing Your Dissertation


Proquest/UMI is a major dissertation publisher; NYU dissertations are submitted for digital curation by ProQuest.

ProQuest will make your dissertation available in its Dissertation & Theses database, through which academic researchers can access your dissertation via an institutional subscription.  

Depending on the options you choose when completing ProQuest's Submission Agreement, your dissertation can also be made available for free on the open internet.

The ProQuest Submission Agreement covers a number of issues and choices that academic authors commonly face when submitting their work, including:  

  • copyright & your rights as an author
  • what to do when using other people's copyrighted work
  • considering embargo options
  • choosing traditional or Open Access options

Below are some key points to be aware of when reviewing and signing your submission agreement with ProQuest.

Book & Journal Publication

It is common for dissertation writers to publish some or all of the work done for their dissertation as books or journal articles, often reworked for different audiences.

Resources for writers new to publishing with presses:

  • Ask UP - a service by the Association of University Presses that takes anonymous questions about publishing with university presses
  • NYU Center for Faculty Advancement - The Center offers resources on publication and writing, including regular workshops

Copyright & Your Rights as a Dissertation Author

As the author, you own the copyright to your work. This is true of your dissertation, a journal article, a website, or any other original creative work that you create independently.

For more information on author rights, you may refer to the following resources:

Under ProQuest's Publication Agreement:

  1. you remain the copyright owner -AND-
  2. you grant ProQuest a nonexclusive license to post & distribute your dissertation

As the copyright owner, you can choose to distribute your dissertation through channels other than ProQuest. Because the license you grant is nonexclusive, you remain free to grant similar publication or distribution rights to other individuals, publishers, etc.                                            

When Using Others' Copyrighted Work in Your Dissertation

Many dissertation authors find it important to use third party images or other materials subject to copyright in their dissertations. In general, it is a good practice to consider whether your use of such material is fair use, or whether you may need to obtain permission. ProQuest, a common dissertation publisher, requires authors to obtain copyright permission in order to include third party images or other materials subject to copyright in a dissertation. 

NYU does not itself require proof of permission to include copyrighted works in your dissertation. Authors should be aware, however, that ProQuest may remove third party works from a dissertation -- or may elect not to distribute a dissertation -- if it believes that necessary copyright permissions have not been secured.

Here is a sample permission letter for requesting permission to use a work in your NYU dissertation: Sample Dissertation Copyright Permission Request (Google Doc).

For more information on copyright permissions generally, visit the Getting Permission page.

Embargo Options

Ink illustration of a turtle with the word "EMBARGO" on its back, lying in front of a sailboat.ProQuest, a common dissertation publisher, allows you the option of embargoing full-text access to your dissertation for :

  • 6 months
  • 1 year -OR-
  • 2 years

If you choose to embargo your work, only the dissertation abstract will be made available in ProQuest's dissertation database. At the end of the embargo period, full-text access will be provided. Because the ProQuest Agreement offers a maximum embargo of two years, authors wishing to extend their embargo may contact ProQuest Dissertation Publishing directly via or through ProQuest Support Center.

Image credit: Jefferson-era political cartoon, in Public Domain.

Traditional & Open Access Publishing Options

The ProQuest Agreement gives you a number of options for how your dissertation will be made available

Open Access Option: dissertation is freely accessible to the public on the internet.

  • ProQuest charges an additional fee for OA, and you will not be eligible to receive royalties.
  • For more information on OA generally, visit the Open Access guide.

Traditional Publishing Option: dissertation is available in ProQuest's Dissertation Abstracts, a subscription database.

  • You will be eligible for royalties on any sales of your work.

Whether you choose Open Access or traditional publishing, you have an additional choice:

Search Engine Discoverability: ProQuest will make your dissertation discoverable via major search engines, unless you instead choose to limit search engine access. 

ProQuest Author Resources

ProQuest Logo.

ProQuest's Author Relations provides a guide to submitting your dissertation, covering manuscript preparation, copyright, embargoes, and more:

Submitting Your Dissertation or Thesis to ProQuest

Library Resources

These resources can help you navigate copyright in the dissertation process.

Click on a book cover to learn more.

Cover of the monogrpah "Getting it Published" - link to book info. Cover of the monogrpah "From Dissertation to Book" - link to book info.Cover of the monogrpah "Permssion: a Survival Guide" - link to book info. Cover of the monogrpah "Getting Permssion" - link to book info.