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Detail from Sculling on the Potomac by J. Love, 1888. From the University Art CollectionBooth Family Center for Special Collections

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ETDs - Embargoes

Should I request an embargo for my dissertation? 

If you are concerned that public release of your research may be inadvisable, you may request an embargo, which will restrict access to your work for a limited period of time. Reasons for an embargo include: making public information about a pending patent application, violating privacy rights; disclosing sensitive data or information; and adversely affecting your chances of publishing a revised dissertation. In these cases, you should consult with your advisor and dissertation committee to determine whether an embargo would be appropriate.

If your concern is that the availability of your dissertation in an open access repository will negatively affect your future publication prospects, there have been several recent studies on that topic: 

If my work is embargoed, what information will be available?

The Graduate School allows two types of embargoes:

  1. The citation and abstract will appear in DigitalGeorgetown and ProQuest, and the full text will be available only to the Georgetown community through DigitalGeorgetown.
  2. Only the citation and abstract will appear in DigitalGeorgetown and ProQuest. The full text will not be available to anyone. This most restrictive option could be requested for a patent pending application and must be supported by a letter from your mentor or Director of Graduate Studies.


How do I request an embargo?

You may request an embargo when you complete ProQuests's online submission form - that request must be approved by the Graduate School. Theses and dissertations in DigitalGeorgetown will only be embargoed with the approval of the Graduate School. The Graduate School's embargo policy is set out in "Publication of Theses and Dissertations" (Part B of the section on Graduate & Commencement) of the Graduate Bulletin.

Is there a time limit on the embargo? 

ProQuest's online submission form has 3 embargo options (6 months, 1 year, 2 years). In rare circumstances, an extension beyond two years might be granted. That request must be made before the expiration of any previously granted embargo and must be addressed in writing to the Dean of the Graduate School, accompanied by a letter of support from your mentor or the Director of Graduate Studies. The decision whether or not to grant such an extension will rest with the Dean.

Can I embargo my work after it has already been submitted to ProQuest and DigitalGeorgetown?

Requests to embargo a dissertation that has already been publicly available will not generally be approved. Even if an embargo is allowed, it is important to note that your work has already been freely available in DigitalGeorgetown, and any copies made by others won't be affected by a later embargo.