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It is the University's expectation that the full text of the vast majority of theses will be made available for unrestricted worldwide access. However, in some cases, it may be appropriate to restrict access to the electronic version and/or the hard copy version of your thesis.

An embargo is a restriction on public access to your thesis. If you have an embargo over both your hard copy and electronic thesis, the hard copy is not available for reading in the University Library, and the full electronic version is not available for download on the web via the Adelaide Research and Scholarship (AR&S) Digital Repository or the National Library of Australia's Trove Service, as would normally be the case otherwise. Only the citation of the thesis (comprising author, title, date the degree was awarded, physical description, name of the degree for which the thesis was accepted and the faculty/school/discipline of enrolment) and the exegesis (if applicable) will appear online.

An embargo is generally granted for a specified period of time which runs from the date of submission. However, from time to time, circumstances may warrant a permanent embargo, such as when the thesis contains information relevant to national defence security. Where a permanent restriction is approved, only an approved title of the thesis will appear in the citation to be placed on the web and the printed thesis will not be made available for public access in the University Library.

If an embargo on your thesis has been requested by the University under its Intellectual Property Policy, other publications containing components of the thesis or the results of your research will also be restricted from being made available to the public, including through published papers. This is to protect any intellectual property or confidential information that may be contained in the publication. In such cases you will require the prior approval of the University if you wish to publish.

Although the most common reason behind the placing of an embargo is the intellectual property contained in the thesis, an embargo may be put in place for a variety of reasons. If you are working on a project that builds on pre-existing University intellectual property or the project is being carried out for or in conjunction with an external third party (whether under a separate formal agreement or not), an automatic two year embargo will be placed over both your hard copy and electronic thesis.

At the expiry of this period, the embargo will automatically be lifted, unless prior arrangements have been made and approved by the University. You will be notified accordingly. For more information in relation to this, please refer to the section above entitled "Intellectual Property".

Other reasons necessitating you to make an application for an embargo to be placed over your thesis include:

  • confidentiality (for example if the project involves human participants and it is necessary to protect their anonymity)
  • if the thesis contains commercially, culturally, politically, or criminally sensitive data which the author, with prior approval of the University, had given an undertaking to the sources not to disclose or make public for a limited period of time
  • security restrictions
  • a pending patent application or publishing contract
  • sponsor or School requirements
  • other legal restrictions.

To make an application, complete and lodge the relevant form(s), all of which are available on the Intellectual Property Forms page.

Applications may be made:

  • for an embargo to be placed over your thesis at any stage in candidature (but preferably as soon as possible and well in advance of submission so as to avoid delays in sending your thesis out for examination), for any of the reasons set out in the paragraph above.
  • to remove an embargo (if you have already submitted your thesis for examination), or waive the embargo (if you have not yet submitted your thesis for examination).

Based on such application, the Graduate Centre may place an embargo on your thesis, or remove it, on the advice of Adelaide Enterprise , and in consultation with you, your sponsor (if applicable) and your supervisors.

For creative works such as a novel or a musical performance you may make an application for an embargo upon the work within the thesis but it will not normally be granted for the exegesis.

Consequently, it is important to ensure that your thesis and exegesis are bound separately (Volume 1 for major work, Volume 2 for the exegesis) for both submission and final lodgement.


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