Policies for Graduate School of Nursing Dissertations


Students retain ownership of the copyright for the content of their dissertation, including the right to use all or part of the content in future works. Students are free to register the copyright to their work with the U.S. Copyright Office.

Students are solely responsible for obtaining the rights to use any third-party copyrighted materials, allowing electronic distribution, prior to submission.

Public Access, Embargoes, and Subsequent Publishing

The full-text of dissertations from the Graduate School of Nursing are made publicly available in the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s repository for research and scholarship, eScholarship@UMMS, unless the student has elected to postpone public access for a specified time (this is known as an embargo). Students may choose from the following embargo options: no embargo; 6 months; 1 year; 2 years.

There is a record of each embargoed dissertation in eScholarship@UMMS that displays the author name, title, abstract, publication year, committee chair, and department affiliations. The record also shows when the embargo will expire. Only the student (as the author) and administrators of eScholarship@UMMS can access the full text of the dissertation before the embargo expiration date.

Possible reasons to consider an embargo:

  • The student is applying for a patent on an invention or procedure documented in the dissertation and does not wish to make the contents public until the patent application has been filed
  • The dissertation contains sensitive and/or classified information
  • Immediate release of the dissertation may impact an existing or potential publishing agreement

Students often wonder if including unpublished data in a dissertation precludes later publication in peer-reviewed journals. As publisher policies on previous or duplicate publication vary, it is best to check with the publisher in question. Many publishers include this information on their websites. For example, Nature will consider submissions of material previously published in a thesis or dissertation. The MIT Libraries have compiled a helpful chart summarizing the policies of some publishers. GSN students have the option of utilizing the embargo feature so that the full text of their dissertation is not publicly available while they are in the process of submitting manuscripts for publication in journals.

If students do not request an embargo, or following the expiration of an embargo, the dissertation will be made publicly available in eScholarship@UMMS and will be licensed with the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. Creative Commons licenses are popular tools to facilitate knowledge sharing and creative innovation that copyright holders can apply to their works to indicate how they would like their materials to be used. Those who want to make their work available to the public for limited kinds of uses while preserving their copyright use CC licenses. The Creative Commons Attribution license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered and is recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.


Students are required to register for an ORCID and enter their ORCID ID on the Graduate School of Nursing eScholarship@UMMS Electronic Dissertation Permission Form. ORCIDs are unique author identifiers for researchers that are becoming integrated into research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission. Registration is free and takes 30 seconds.

Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs)

Dissertations deposited in eScholarship@UMMS are assigned a DOI (Digital Object Identifier). DOIs are permanent unique identifiers assigned to publications, data, and other scholarly products that make it easier for them to be discovered, cited, and credited.

Sharing Research Data Publicly in Dissertations

Students have many options for publicly sharing research data, including government-sponsored repositories, disciplinary repositories, third-party repositories, and established campus resources such as LabArchives and UMass Medical School’s institutional repository, eScholarship@UMMS.

Students can include links in their dissertations to research data that has been permanently shared publicly, whether through deposit to a repository or published with a DOI through LabArchives. It is recommended that students use a DOI, if available, to link to research data from within their dissertations. Both LabArchives and eScholarship@UMMS have the ability to assign DOIs to datasets stored and shared with the software.

Students also have the option to upload research data as supplemental files when they are submitting their dissertation to eScholarship@UMMS. Data files are displayed on the web page with the dissertation and download statistics are available.

In all cases, students should make sure that permanent, public data sharing is appropriate. Data should be documented so that it is easier to understand. Good data management practices should be followed, including using standard data and file formats, good null values, and basic quality control (see Ten Simple Rules for the Care and Feeding of Scientific Data).


Dissertations are published exactly as they are submitted. They are not edited, typeset, or retyped by the Graduate School or the Library. Therefore, the document’s appearance when it is accessed or printed is entirely the responsibility of the student. The student must assume responsibility for: preparing the document according to the Graduate School of Nursing PhD Program Dissertation Guidelines; converting the document into Adobe PDF format; checking the document for appearance; and submitting the final, approved PDF document to eScholarship@UMMS.

The complete list of requirements that students must fulfill before submitting their dissertation online is available at Graduate School of Nursing Dissertation Submission Guidelines.

Post-Publication Edits

Once the Graduate School has posted the dissertation on eScholarship@UMMS, corrections or retractions cannot be made unless the student submits an official request to the Director of the PhD Program. Since this is the version of record, the full-text cannot simply be swapped out. Changes can be made to the metadata (descriptive information about the dissertation) but not to the full text. Upon Graduate School approval, students will be allowed to upload another version which will display as an additional file, or to submit revised supplemental data as an additional file. The record will be amended to describe the actions/correction.

As the dissertation is the student’s intellectual property, only the student can initiate any corrections to the metadata or full text of a dissertation.

Removal of Content

The full text of a work will generally be removed from eScholarship@UMMS only for reasons such as unethical/unsound science, plagiarism, copyright infringement, IRB non-compliance and/or violation of the Licensing Agreement. Removal requests should be sent to the Director of the PhD Program and should include the reason for removal. If the work is removed, a record describing the original version of the paper will always remain on the site at the same URL.