Institutional Repository > E-Theses FAQs

General Information

Submitting a doctoral thesis abstract and an e-thesis

Preparing an e-thesis

Concerns about e-theses

General Information

Q. What is an e-thesis?
An e-thesis or electronic thesis describes a thesis in digital form that is generally accessed via the internet.  Access to, and storage of, electronic theses is usually facilitated by open access repositories such as the UCC institutional repository, CORA.

Q. Why is UCC supporting the development of an e-thesis programme?
UCC is developing an e-thesis programme to ensure that postgraduate research conducted in UCC is widely disseminated.   In many countries, a move has been made in recent years to electronic submission of theses, in parallel with hard-copy submission, enabling theses to be searchable and readable online. Numerous studies have shown that electronic access to theses, as well as resulting in much greater access through consultation of theses online and downloading, also results in a significant increase in citations to a University’s theses, showing how theses become valuable practical academic publications with the increase in accessibility.

E-theses programmes are already in place in most Irish universities including DCU, NUIG, NUIM, TCD, UL  as well as DIT and WIT and are widespread around the world. For example, as of January 2013 the DART-Europe E-theses Portal  provides access to over 365,978 full-text research theses from 527 Universities in 27 European countries. As of January 2011, the British Library has made 44,000 full text e-theses from UK Higher Education Institutions available through its Electronic Theses Online Service, EThOS.

Q. Where is my e-thesis stored?
A.  Your e-thesis is stored in CORA, the UCC institutional repository.  This is an open access repository based on DSpace software.

Q. Who can see my e-thesis?
A.  Anyone with access to the internet can view and download your e-thesis providing you haven’t requested an embargo on part or all of it.

Q. What URL should I use when referring to my e-thesis?
A.  You should use the persistent identifier given at the top of the thesis record page in CORA e.g.

Q. Where can I see usage statistics for my e-thesis?
A.  Click on the ‘View Statistics’ button at the end of the thesis record page in CORA e.g.

Submitting  a doctoral thesis abstract and an e-thesis

Q. How do I submit my thesis abstract?
A.  You submit your thesis abstract online through CORA.  Firstly you need to register with CORA.  Following registration, you will receive an e-mail within 2 working days confirming that you have been given permission to complete your thesis description form and upload your abstract. Detailed guidelines are available to download from here.

Q. How do I submit my e-thesis?
A.  You submit your e-thesis online through CORA.  Firstly you need to register with CORA.  Following registration, you will receive an e-mail within 2 working days confirming that you have been given permission to complete your thesis description form and upload your abstract.  You can upload your e-thesis file on the same thesis description form as your abstract.  Detailed guidelines are available to download from here.

Q. Who is eligible to submit an e-thesis?
  Doctoral students (PhD, Practitioner Doctorates, MDs) submitting theses from January 2013 from all academic units in UCC are expected to submit their thesis in electronic form to the repository.

Q. What should the title page of my thesis look like?
A.  The title page of your thesis shall give the following information:
     1. The full title of the thesis and the subtitle, if any.
     2. The total number of volumes if more than one, and the number of the particular volume. 
     3. The full name of the author, followed, if desired, by any qualifications and distinctions. 
     4. The qualification for which the thesis is submitted.
     5. The name of the institution to which the thesis is submitted - National University of Ireland,                  Cork. 
     6. The department, school, faculty or organisation in which research was conducted. 
     7. The year of submission. 
     8. Name of the head of the department or school concerned. 
     9. Name of the supervisor of the research. 

Q. Why do I need to complete a thesis description form and upload my abstract online?
A.  The thesis description form is required by the university in order to process and manage access to your thesis. Submitting your abstract online replaces the previous practice of submitting a disk with the abstract alongside the hard bound post examination thesis.

The thesis description form includes indexing information, embargo request, decision to withhold e-thesis, a facility to upload abstract and e-thesis and the thesis deposit licence.

Indexing information (Required) - This descriptive information is required for the indexing of your thesis in the UCC institutional repository, CORA and on the UCC Library catalogue.

Embargo Request (Optional) - In certain circumstances, you may not want to make all or part of your thesis immediately and openly accessible on the internet through CORA. These include:

  • Concerns that your e-thesis will prejudice future publication opportunities
  • Protecting the commercial interests of UCC while the intellectual property (IP) contained in the thesis is being developed.  Click on this link to the UCC IP policy
  • Protecting the commercial interests of your sponsor
  • Sensitivity and confidentiality reasons
  • Permission to use third party copyrighted material was not granted by copyright owner
  • In these cases and with the agreement of your supervisor, you may apply to restrict access to your whole thesis or part of your thesis for a defined length of time.

Decision to Withhold (Optional)

Doctoral students who, with the agreement of their supervisor(s), do not want to archive an e-thesis will be able to request to withhold their e-thesis from CORA.  They will need to complete a Decision to Withhold E-thesis Form and must be co-signed by their supervisor and submitted to the Graduate Studies Office at the time of submission of the hard copy thesis.

Deposit Licence (Required) – This is required in order to give certainty to the repository in terms of what rights we have to store, manage and organise your electronic thesis within the repository and your hard copy thesis in the library. You will need to read and sign this licence along with your supervisor.

In summary the licence seeks to outline the

  • Agreement to deposit the thesis
  • Rights you maintain over the thesis
  • Permissions you grant the repository to maintain and preserve the work in the longer term
  • Conditions under which the repository or author can remove the thesis from public display
  • Warranties undertaken by the author during creation of the thesis

Q. What happens after submission of my hard copy and electronic copy theses?
A.  Your e-thesis is archived in CORA and an e-mail is sent to notify you of the permanent url for the item e.g.   Within days of being added to CORA, the record of your e-thesis will be harvested from CORA by DART Europe E-theses Portal and RIAN the Irish open access portal. Within 3 weeks web search engines such as Google Scholar will have indexed your e-thesis.

Your hard copy bound thesis is catalogued; a record is added to the UCC Library catalogue and a record is sent to the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses — UK & Ireland service.  The hard bound thesis is archived in closed access in Special Collections in the Boole Library.

Q. I am a UCC PhD graduate and have my thesis available in electronic format, can I submit it to CORA?
You can submit an e-thesis to CORA once you complete the online form available on the Boole Library website and send the e-thesis to  If you need any further help, please contact Breeda Herlihy, Manager, Institutional Repository, Boole Library, UCC email:  tel: +353-21-4205109

Q. Can I opt-out of e-thesis submission?
A.  You can opt-out of e-thesis submission. Doctoral students who, with the agreement of their supervisor(s), do not want to archive an e-thesis will be able to request to withhold their e-thesis from CORA. You will need to complete a Decision to Withhold E-thesis Form and this must be co-signed by your supervisor and submitted to the Graduate Studies Office at the time of submission of the hard copy thesis. You will also need to indicate this online in CORA when completing your thesis submission form and uploading your thesis abstract.

Preparing an e-thesis

Q. What format should my e-thesis take?
A.  You may deposit your thesis in any file format but you should include two copies

The file in the original format that you used to create your thesis e.g. Microsoft Word, Open Office Writer, LaTEX without any security settings such as password protection and with fonts embedded. This file is required for preservation purposes.

A single pdf file. This is required for dissemination and will be modified if a partial embargo has been requested.

If you have any supporting files or additional data that you would like to include with your e-thesis, please contact Breeda Herlihy, Manager, Institutional Repository, Boole Library, UCC to discuss further, email:  tel: +353-21-4205109

Q. How do I create a pdf file?
A. There are different applications available for creating PDFs and these are outlined here:

  • Word 2007 which is available on all student open access computers, has a “Save as Adobe PDF” option. Open your word document, click on the Office button on the top left corner, go to save as and then click PDF. This will save your document in a PDF format.
  • In Word 2010, go to ‘File > Save As’. In the window that pops us, select PDF from the ‘Save as type’ drop down list.
  • If you use OpenOffice (all platforms) or NeoOffice (Mac) there is an “Export PDF” option on the File menu which allows you to save your document in PDF format.
  • If you are using LaTeX, make sure your editor toolbar is set to create a PDF document. If you use a typed command, use "pdflatex” instead of "latex".
  • Check with your supervisor or department to see if they have a local copy of Adobe Acrobat Pro (Adobe PDF creation software).
  • Use  Adobe’s online PDF creation service.
  • Download the trial version of Adobe Acrobat Pro from 

Q. What assistance is available for help with creating my e-thesis?
A. If you need help with preparing your e-thesis, you can contact Breeda Herlihy

Q. Is there a file size limit imposed on e-theses?
  Currently there is no file size limit imposed on e-theses in CORA.  However, it is worth noting that Google Scholar can only index pdf files lower than 5MB.

Q. I have requested an embargo for part of my e-thesis, do I still submit the entire thesis?
A.  For preservation purposes, it is important that you submit your entire thesis. Library staff will remove the relevant section and insert a placeholder page into the thesis to inform users that the section has been removed. When the embargo period is over, the entire thesis can then be made available online through CORA.

Concerns about e-theses

Q. Will making my e-thesis available through an open access repository disqualify me from future publication elsewhere?
A. Students retain copyright for their theses and are free to publish or distribute their thesis elsewhere. Since an e-thesis is disseminated widely via the internet, it could be considered as a ‘publication’. While most publishers do not regard e-theses as prior publication, it is not possible to speak for all publishers in all disciplines.  The best advice is that if you intend to publish a book from your thesis, then you should query the prospective publisher.  If the e-thesis is likely to prejudice future publication opportunities, then you can request an embargo for a specific length of time to ensure that access to your e-thesis is delayed until you have had the opportunity to seek publication.

Q. Are the rules governing the use of third party copyright materials any different for e-theses compared to hard-copy theses?
A.  No, copyright regulations with regard to the use of third party copyright materials apply to both hard copy and electronic copy theses. Third party copyright material is any material where copyright is held by another person or entity, other than yourself.

You should not infringe copyright in your thesis. Unless your use of the third party copyright material comes under the ‘fair dealing’ exemption in the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000, you should seek permission to use it in your thesis.

Under fair dealing (Sections 50-52), use or reproduction of copyright material for ‘the purposes of research or private study’ and ‘for the purposes criticism or review of that or another work or of a performance of a work’ is allowed providing it is accompanied by sufficient acknowledgement.  Such reproduction is deemed acceptable if it is ‘for a purpose and to an extent that will not unreasonably prejudice the interests of the owner of the copyright’.

While there is no exact definition given in the Act as to the amounts that may be reproduced under the ‘fair dealing’ exemption, the general view is that copying an insubstantial amount of third party material without the permission of the owner of the copyright would not infringe copyright. 

However, whether the amount of a third party's work that has been used is insubstantial requires both a quantitative and a qualitative assessment. For example, a diagram or a table may constitute a small part of a third party's work quantitatively but may convey significant information which is central to the third party's work. Its use by the student might therefore be regarded as use of a substantial amount of the third party's work and therefore outside the protection of the fair dealing exception. Each proposed use of third party material therefore has to be examined carefully on its own particular facts in order to determine whether its use would constitute fair dealing.

Adapted from: 

CONUL Subcommittee on Copyright and Regulatory Matters, 2008.

O’Brien, D., Fitzgerald, A., Fitzgerald, B., Chisholm, S-K, Coates, J., Pappalardo, K., 2007. Copyright Guide for Research Students: What you need to know about copyright before depositing your electronic thesis in an online repository [Online].

Advice provided to the Office of Corporate and Legal Affairs, UCC by Ronan Daly Jermyn Solicitors, personal communication (10 January 2010).

Q. What if I want to include a journal article that I have authored or contributed to as a chapter in my thesis?
A.  This will depend on whether you have assigned copyright for the article to the publisher. If you have transferred copyright to the publisher, then this is an instance of the use of third party copyright material in your thesis. You will need to check the publisher’s policy on author’s rights and/or re-use of articles or request permission where the policy is not clear. Journal publishers are generally fairly explicit about re-use of their articles and have statements in the copyright transfer agreement or on their websites.  For example in their Schedule of Author Rights, Taylor & Francis award authors

 “the right to include an article in a thesis or dissertation that is not to be published commercially, provided that acknowledgement to prior publication in the relevant Taylor & Francis journal is made explicit”

In their copyright transfer statement Springer state that “The author retains the right to use his/her article for his/her further scientific career by including the final published journal article in other publications such as dissertations and postdoctoral qualifications provided acknowledgement is given to the original source of publication.”

While some publishers may not allow you to use the published version of an article in your thesis, most will allow you to use the accepted version i.e. the author created version that incorporates referee comments and it the accepted for publication version. You can check the Sherpa RoMEO service for publisher copyright policies & self-archiving.

Additionally many journal publishers use the RightsLink service whereby you can request permission from the article on the journal publisher’s website.

Q. Will my thesis be easily plagiarised because it is available online?
A.  It is difficult to prevent plagiarism of print or electronic theses effectively but it is easier to detect plagiarism when theses are made available online. It is possible to find text snippets by entering them into a search engine such as Google and plagiarism detection software like Turnitin compares work against freely available internet sources like open access e-theses.

Additionally, users of your thesis will be made aware of the rights of the author through the copyright information on the record of the thesis. The uses that they are allowed to make of the thesis are outlined in the Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0) applied to all UCC e-theses.

Review of e-thesis by supervisor

Q. What is the supervisor’s role in e-thesis submission?
Once the student has uploaded their abstract and e-thesis, it will be submitted directly to their primary UCC supervisor in CORA. The purpose of this step is to ensure that supervisors are aware that the e-thesis will be archived on CORA and are happy with any embargo requests which may have been made. Supervisors will also need to check that the thesis uploaded is the true copy of the hard bound thesis. If there are any issues, the thesis can be returned to the student for editing and resubmission. Once the supervisor approves the e-thesis, it is sent to the Graduate Studies Office and on to the library. Detailed guidelines for supervisors using CORA are outlined here []

Q. What are the consequences of any delay in the process?
Students who wish to submit an e-thesis to CORA must do so before the deadline for the relevant conferring ceremony so that they can meet thesis submission requirements for the Graduate Studies Office. It is important that supervisors review the e-thesis as soon as possible so that it is sent to the Graduate Studies Office ahead of deadline for thesis submission.

Last updated: 08 May 2017

More Information