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From the 1st October 2016 The Open University requires the full-text of all their awarded doctoral thesis to be submitted to ORO. 

Open Research Online (ORO) accepts the deposit of theses from the following research degrees awarded by The Open University:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Doctorate in Education (EdD)
  • Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
  • Master of Research (MRes)

Theses from students from The Open University's Affiliated Research Centres (ARCs) are also required to be deposited in ORO.

For Open University academics and researchers whose doctorate was awarded by other institutions the bibliographic information and/or the full-text of the thesis can be deposited in ORO.

The advantage of depositing your thesis in ORO is that digital theses (eTheses) are more easily found and can increase your visibility as a researcher. Deposited theses will also be made available to the British Library EThOS service.

How to deposit your eThesis

Deposit is via your ORO User Area (requires login)

Please select the ‘electronic thesis submission’ item type.

If you have an Open University doctorate and are no longer working or affiliated with The Open University and want to deposit an electronic copy of your thesis in ORO please contact the Library Research Support team.

It is the responsibility of the individual to ensure any copyrighted material owned by a third party has been cleared (i.e. permission to make available in an open access resource received) prior to depositing the thesis in ORO. More information on third-party copyrighted is provided below, and further details can be found in the guide to 'Copyright and your thesis' (log-in required).

Third-party copyrighted material

Before depositing your thesis in ORO, you need to be sure that you have permission for any third-party copyrighted material to be made available in an open access resource. 

If you are a new research student about to embark on your research degree, consider seeking such permission as you go, rather than waiting until your thesis has been finalised. This will save time at the end of your research. Please see the guide to 'Copyright and your thesis'  for further information (log-in required). The following video will also help you to understand why, when and how to seek permission to include third-party copryrighted material in your thesis.

Transcript for Copyright and your thesis (PDF)


Permission to include third-party copyrighted material in your thesis should be sought by contacting the copyright holder. This may be the author of a work, a publisher, an illustrator etc.

You need to seek permission when you wish to include these material types in your thesis:

  • Long quotations and extracts from literary or scholarly texts
  • Illustrations such as images, maps, photographs, tables
  • Short extracts if they form a substantial proportion of a work (such as a poem)
  • Internet material

Written permissions must include the right for you to disseminate the material in your thesis for non-commercial purposes in an open access resource. Further guidance, including templates for requesting copyright permission are available within the guide to 'Copyright and your thesis' (log-in required).

What if I am unable to clear copyright for third-party content contained in my thesis?

If you are unable to clear copyright for third-party content contained in your thesis a redacted version without this content should be deposited in ORO as well as the final version. In the redacted version please provide a link or description for any material that has been removed. Ensure the two versions' file names are clearly distinguishable.

Has any part of your thesis been published?

If any part of your thesis has been published (e.g. as a journal article) then you need to check the copyright agreement you signed with your publisher. Even if you assigned copyright to the publisher, the publisher may still allow you to use the material in your thesis. A template for requesting permission to include your own published material in your thesis can also be found within the guide to 'Copyright and your thesis' (log-in required).

Personal information

If your thesis contains any personal information e.g. your personal identifier, personal email addresses, phone numbers, personal addresses please remove these and submit both the full version and a redacted version. Ensure the two versions' file names are clearly distinguishable. 

Depositing PhD by published work

To deposit the full-text you will need to check the copyright with each of the publishers of the publications that make up your thesis. If the publisher does not allow the full-text to be deposited in ORO replace the full-text of any publications included in the PhD with a link to the DOI of the publications.

You should deposit both the final version with the full-text of all the publications (an infinite embargo will be applied to this version) and a redacted version of the abstract, covering paper and links to the publications. Ensure the two versions' file names are clearly distinguishable.


Sometimes there may be a valid reason for your thesis being restricted or under embargo for a limited period of time (e.g. as stipulated by a commercial sponsor, or promised for publication as a monograph).

Any embargoes are usually agreed at the start of the doctorate. Embargoes have to be approved by the Chair of Research Degrees Committee. Please read the relevant sections of the Research Degree Regulations on Embargo or restricted access to thesis (pdf; requires login) if you wish to apply for an embargo on access to the full-text of your thesis.

Underlying research data/digital materials

Wherever possible, research data or other digital materials underpinning your thesis should be made available in ORDO and the DOI assigned to your data should be added to ORO in the ​related URLs ​field when depositing your thesis.

Data should be deposited in ORDO before ​your thesis is added to ORO. This is to enable you to add the DOI associated with your data to a Data Access Statement in your thesis.

Embargoed or restricted datasets

It may be appropriate to apply an embargo to your data; if so please give reasonable justification in the record when adding your data to ORDO.

In some cases it may be impossible to make your data openly available, due to ethical, legal or commercial restrictions. If so, you may archive your data in ORDO and keep the files confidential. The record should clearly state why the data are unavailable for download and whether there are any conditions which would allow access. If you are unsure whether your data should be made publicly available in ORDO, please contact the Library Research Support team for more advice.

For more information, see our guidance on using ORDO

Using another data repository

If your PhD has been funded you may be required to deposit your data in an external funder-supported repository. In this instance you do not need to deposit the data in ORDO, but should still include a Data Access Statement in your thesis and add the DOI to your thesis record in ORO.

In some circumstances it is preferable to deposit data in a well established discipline-specific repository, rather than ORDO, to enable greater discoverability or credibility. In this instance you do not need to deposit the data in ORDO but should still include a Data Access Statement in your thesis and add the DOI to your thesis record in ORO. 

If you have any questions about depositing your thesis or require any help please contact the Library Research Support team.

Guidance on issuing take down requests for thesis being sold on third party sites

The Open University policy on copyright ownership is that you (the author) retain ownership of your creation. This means that you are able to use your content as you wish. However, this also means that you are responsible to police use and enforce your copyright. So, where a breach occurs you will need to contact the third party who has breached your rights and ask them to remove your thesis from their website.  

For example, if the thesis is being sold on Amazon the take down request needs to be submitted via the ‘report infringement’ page. You will need to login using your Amazon account or create an account if you do not already have one.

Suggested text for the takedown request

The infringing material can be found here xxx and has been placed on your platform by yyy (the “seller”).

The seller has breached the creative commons licence terms under which this copyright material was published and has not been given permission to publish my thesis, nor to make it available for commercial purposes. This email is official notification under Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (”DMCA”), and I seek the removal of the aforementioned infringing material from your servers. I request that you immediately notify the infringer of this notice and inform them of their duty to remove the infringing material immediately.

As a service provider or host, I request you to remove or disable access to the infringing materials upon receiving this notice.

Contact us

Library Research Support team