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Hong Kong Baptist University Hong Kong Baptist University Library

Publishing your Thesis at HKBU: Home

FAQ for MPhil / PhD students on theses deposits at HKBU's Institutional Repository

Why deposit?

Why do I need to deposit my thesis at HKBU's Institutional Repository?

HKBU's OA (Open Access) policy for Research Postgraduate students since Sep 2013 requires that all PhD/MPhil students deposit their theses at the University Institutional Repository, an open collection of scholarly work by all HKBU faculty and postgraduates. Exceptions can be granted in the case of patent applications or under certain special circumstances.


undefined Do I own the copyright of my thesis or dissertation?

Yes, you do. You are the copyright owner of your thesis/dissertation, or ETD (Electronic Thesis & Dissertation). In addition to submitting your ETD to the HKBU Institutional Repository, you are free to publish it as you wish. However, your publisher may require you to seek permission if you have included other copyrighted works such as images, figures or diagrams, etc.

According to the University Administrative Guidelines for the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights (login required), faculty, staff members and students alike hold copyright to works of their individual efforts, including books, journal articles, creative works and other copyrightable materials during the course of their employment and study at the University.

Access Form?


What is an EMBARGO and why do I need to fill in the ETD (Electronic Theses & Dissertation) Access Form?

After you submit your thesis or dissertation, you will be asked to sign an ETD Access Form and choose between having your work as Open Access or embargo for 1 or 2 years.

An embargo is a time restriction on your work and may be appropriate when:

  1. You intend to apply for patents
  2. Your work contains sensitive data or information that need to be protected

You may also need an embargo if you wish to publish through a traditional press that considers open access works to be prior publication. However, most publishers these days are “open” to Open Access and the benefits of OA often out weights non-OA.

The University of Florida Libraries have a helpful summary that details Selected publisher policies on reuse of previously published works (see below OACA advantage).

Here is what happens after the Library receives your indication: 

OPEN ACCESS | After the Library adds metadata to facilitate searching, your work will be released to the world, thus increasing your research visibility.

EMBARGO | Your thesis title, abstract and table of content will still be searchable, but full text has restricted access until your specified release date.

OACA Advantage

What is the OACA Advantage?

Definitive research has confirmed OACA, the Open Access Citation Advantage. A 2014 study based on 1.5 million Scopus-indexed articles by has reported that overall, OA papers were cited 26% times more, while OACA for institutional repositories was 53%! 

46 out of 70 studies conducted until 2015 have also confirmed the benefits of OACA, according to a summary of studies commissioned by SPARC Europe

Publishing opportunities

Will Open Access diminish publishing opportunities?

Contrary to anecdotal evidence and common perceptions, numerous studies have confirmed that OA ETDs will not diminish publishing opportunities.

83% of journal editors and 54% of university press directors said they either welcomed or would consider publishing ETDs on a case-by-case basis, according to a 2013 study targeted at social sciences and humanities publishers.

80% of sciences publishers indicated likewise in a 2014 follow up study that they welcomed OA ETD submissions or would accept revised ETDs under certain conditions.

University of Florida's Copyright concerns of Graduate Researchers Guide has a summary of publisher policies detailing their acceptance of publications based on previously published theses or dissertations that are available open access.

MIT Libraries' Thesis Content and Article Publishing page lists publisher policies regarding graduate students' reuse of their previously published articles in their theses, and policies on accepting journal submissions that first appeared in an author's previously released thesis. 


How can I find out more?

Educate yourself to make an informed decision when trying to determine whether to go OA or to embargo your thesis. Here are a few helpful resources:


The doctoral dissertation and scholarly communication | Bring yourself up-to-date with this 2018 overview of changing publication practices among graduate students. | Author explains why you should not be “coerced into automatically holding back scholarship by scare-mongering or by current trends.”

Theses containing Publications: Rights management and Open Access | Videorecording explaining the theses-containing-publications approach, by University of Sydney Library.

Theses containing Publications: A firsthand experience | One PhD student at University of Sydney shares the pros and cons of the “publishing-as-you-go” approach.

From Dissertation to Book (Second Ed.) | Easy-to-digest book for those navigating the journey from theses/dissertations to publishing.

Contact me

Good luck with your journey!

Feel free to contact the Library at if you have questions regarding ETDs, or any other scholarly communication issues.