Policies for Undergraduate Honors Theses

After you have submitted your electronic thesis it will be available as follows:

  • The full text will be openly available in W&M Publish, at a unique, permanent URL, unless you selected an embargo.
  • Embargo thesis; only the full text will be restricted. The title, abstract, author and subject classification will be available during and after the embargo.
  • A description will appear in the Library catalog and in OCLC WorldCat, with a link to the document
  • Your thesis/dissertation will be indexed and available through search engines (such as Google)

Options for Restricting Access to an ETD (Embargo)

The College of William and Mary Libraries is committed to the open dissemination of knowledge. As part of this commitment, W&M Libraries encourages students to submit their honors theses without restrictions on access, commonly called Open Access. By default, W&M Libraries will make the submission available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative works license accompanied by a copyright statement indicating the author’s continuing rights. However, W&M Libraries recognizes that there are situations where students may want to delay the release of their work. For these cases, W&M Libraries offers the options of 1 to 3 years embargo (i.e. delaying release) for a thesis.

Embargo Policy: Embargo only pertains to the full text of your thesis, which will not be available until the end of the embargo period. The title, abstract, author and subject classification will be available during and after the embargo in the W&M Libraries catalog and OCLC WorldCat.

While immediate open access is the default, embargo options should be discussed with your advisor, and both the advisor and the thesis author should agree.

Why you might want to embargo you work:

  • If your work is based on data generated through research that will support other publications from people on the research team (such as your advisor), it may be necessary to refrain from releasing that data while other publications are prepared.
  • If your thesis contains data or material that was generated pursuant to a grant or contract and the thesis is subject to review by the sponsor or grantor prior to publication, you should select a one year embargo.
  • If you are planning to publish all or part of your thesis and know that publishers in your field consider open access electronic thesis/dissertations to be a prior publication, you may want to consider an embargo or check on their open access policy before submitting your thesis.

In all cases you should discuss these issues with your advisor and the Honors Program.

Take-down requests are not honored for legacy honors theses submitted to the W&M Digital Archive (prior to spring 2014) or new honors thesis submissions to W&M Publish.

Before submitting honors theses, authors must agree to a non-exclusive distribution license agreement which grants the College of William & Mary the "non-exclusive right to reproduce, and distribute your submission (including the abstract) to the public as well as the right to migrate or convert your submission, without alteration of content, to any medium or format for the purpose of preservation or continued distribution."

Authors are given the ability to embargo honors theses upon submission for a specified time period not to exceed 5 years. Embargos requested after submission will not be honored. As is policy of W&M Special Collections and Archives and pursuant to state agency records retention schedule GS 111 101085 which governs the retention of student theses and dissertations, honors theses produced in partial fulfillment of a degree from W&M are considered permanent college record and are therefore, barring an established term-limited embargo upon submission to the W&M Digital Archive or W&M Publish, considered permanent public record.