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Copyright and Intellectual Property

You automatically have copyright to your work unless some other agreement has been made with a publisher or funder. Registering your copyright by filing directly through the U.S. Copyright Office is optional.

Copyright Information

  • If statutory copyright has been or will be claimed, a copyright notice is normally listed in the manuscript (see the sample title page). You may apply for copyright registration by filing directly through the U.S. Copyright Office, or you may wish to use the copyright registration service offered by UMI. You can find information about UMI’s service in the ETD Submission Information Packet. Students who desire the copyright service offered through UMI should click the item ” Requesting ProQuest/UMI to file for U.S. Copyright Registration”. The $55 fee will be assessed and on-line payment information will be required before the submission is completed.
  • The student is required to obtain written permission from the author or publishers to quote extensively from copyrighted material. Such permission is usually granted on condition that acknowledgment is made. If payment is required, this is the student’s responsibility. Permission for the use of all such materials must be obtained before the thesis or dissertation is submitted to the University Libraries.
  • Reprints may be used in the body of a thesis or dissertation if the student is the primary author or has been primarily responsible for the publication. This assumes the student has had primary responsibility for the research as well as the preparation and the editing of the manuscript. Permission to use reprints may be required by the publisher.

Proquest/UMI

  • All master’s and doctoral students who submit an electronic thesis or dissertation are required to participate in the ProQuest / University Microfilms Inc. (UMI) Abstract publishing program (participation for Problem Reports, Project Reports or Research Projects is optional).
  • Each participant’s abstract shall be published in the Master’s Theses and Doctoral Dissertations Abstracts International database.
  • As your publisher, ProQuest/UMI offers your dissertation for sale and pays you royalties in any year in which your 10% accrues to $10.00 or more when you select the “Traditional Publishing” (print-on-demand/royalty) option. If you did not restrict distribution of your dissertation when you signed your author agreement, Proquest assumes that you want the broadest possible distribution of your work. If you are no longer comfortable making your work broadly available, they can restrict sales of your work per your instruction. You can contact their author relations team at disspub@il.proquest.com or 1-800-521-0600, extension 7020.
  • You may also limit distribution via ProQuest at the time of graduation by simply selecting the appropriate restriction options on the Publishing Agreement form. To re-authorize ProQuest/UMI to distribute copies of your thesis or dissertation, you may send an email request to disspub@umi.com to make arrangements for this. You will need to cite your name, document title and Proquest publication number along with your request.
  • ProQuest/UMI Open Access Distribution Option:
    The now-common usage of the term “open access” means freely available for viewing or downloading by anyone with access to the internet, indefinitely. The cost for the ProQuest open access service is $135.00 for theses or dissertations. In this publishing scenario, the student pays an up-front publishing fee which allows the public to access the ETD free of charge in perpetuity and the author forgoes royalty payments. At WVU, students typically select “Open Access” for “wvuScholar” repository distribution while simultaneously selecting “Traditional Publishing” for ProQuest distribution.
  • An archival microfilm master copy will be produced from the electronic document (where applicable), which is retained in perpetuity in the ProQuest/UMI and Library of Congress archives. For preservation purposes, ProQuest/UMI may utilize alternate storage media such as CD-ROM for use in situations where multimedia submissions cannot be reproduced by conventional means.

Web Distribution Options at WVU

Upon completion of the ETD approval process, your thesis or dissertation is deposited into the Research Repository @ WVU. When submitting your ETD paperwork you choose how you would like your ETD to be made available.

Open Access

  • The University and ETD Task Force recommend making your ETD freely available worldwide.
  • It should be noted that historically this option may have been perceived by a few book or journal publishers as “publishing” the work, thus they may have seen a conflict with this level of distribution of the thesis or dissertation. However, today the vast majority of publishers (in fact over 80%) support the archiving of a thesis or dissertation in an open access institutional repository such as the WVU ETD collection. Presently over 75% of WVU students use the open access option. Recent studies by Suber, Harnad, etc. demonstrate that scholars who deposit their works as open access increase their citation rates between 2 and 5 times more than simply relying on academic journal article publishing. The recognition factor is vital for budding scholars, hence we embrace open access to scholarship.
  • Students may choose “Open Access” at WVU while simultaneously choosing “Traditional Publishing” option via ProQuest (included in base ETD submission fee) at no additional cost.

Campus Access

  • Makes the ETD freely available only to the WVU community (via login to the WVU eTD system) and as requested through the OCLC Interlibrary Loan (ILL) lending program.
  • Access will be provided by interlibrary sharing of electronic or printed copies as requested.
  • Campus only distribution will continue from year to year without special notification for a period of up to five years after the submission date, after which time it will revert to ‘World Wide Distribution’. You may change the Web distribution to “World” access at any time by sending an email to ETDreview@mail.wvu.edu.
  • This option addresses situations such as when a book or article is planned, and the book or journal publisher is concerned that prior publishing through a digital library will negatively impact on sales.
  • Limiting distribution to “Campus Only” is generally accepted to be the equivalent to the “paper copy on the shelf”.
  • Our best advice is for the student to contact prospective publishers to learn about their publishing policy. Many publishers have this information provided on their Web sites; if not, usually a simple email query to the editor will resolve any questions.
  • Special exception allowed for MFA Creative Writing program students.

No Access

  • Secures the entire work for patent, proprietary, data sensitivity and/or third-party funding sponsorship purposes for a period of one year.
  • During this period the copyright owner also agrees not to exercise her/his ownership rights, including public use in future works, without prior authorization from West Virginia University.
  • At the end of the one year period, either the student or proxy may request an automatic extension for one additional year. Student or proxy may determine a post-embargo status of option 1 (open access) or option 2 (campus access) for the duration of the the 5 year restriction limit.
  • Students (or designated proxies) may change the Web distribution to open access at any time by sending an email to ETDreview@mail.wvu.edu.