1.     What is an ETD?

An Electronic Thesis or Dissertation (ETD) is an electronic version of a thesis or dissertation. In its simplest form it is a PDF file that reproduces the format of a printed document on a computer screen and can be used to produce a printed copy of the document. A more advanced type of ETD may consist of or include other types of digital media such as audio or video clips, hypertext documents, etc.

Kent State participates in an international ETD initiative through the OhioLINK
ETD Center which processes, stores, and disseminates theses and dissertations from Ohio schools. KSU is also a member of the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD), an international consortium that seeks to improve graduate education by developing accessible digital libraries of theses and dissertations. 

2.    Submitting my KSU thesis or dissertation electronically

All dissertations and theses may only be submitted electronically.
KSU began accepting electronic dissertations in 2004 and Masters theses in 2010. At some point theses and dissertations from previous years may be added to the project.

 3.     How much does it cost to submit an ETD?

There is no charge for submitting an ETD.

Doctoral dissertations do incur a publication fee charged by UMI (ProQuest), but currently the University absorbs it. 

 4.     Do I have to register my copyright?

No. However, registration is required before you can sue for infringement of your work and there are advantages to registering within five years of publication (see the Copyright Office's fuller explanation).


5.     Should I include a copyright notice in my ETD?

It's a good idea. See the Copyright Office's FAQ for guidance on how to do this.

6.     What does an ETD look like?

Generally an ETD looks just like a printed thesis or dissertation. If you've used the Adobe Reader or other software to view a PDF document (for example, an article from the OhioLINK Electronic Journal Center), you have a pretty good idea what an ETD looks like. You can browse the OhioLINK ETD site for examples.

If a thesis or dissertation contains non-print elements (for example, a video recording or hypertext), these can be incorporated into a PDF or stored along with it. Some institutions allow the preparation of theses and dissertations in other formats. 

 7.     What is Adobe Acrobat and PDF?

PDF stands for Portable Document Format. It was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated as a proprietary format for distributing, displaying, and printing documents while maintaining their original formatting and appearance. It has become a de facto standard for exchanging documents between different computer systems without compromising the integrity of the originals.

Acrobat is the name of the Adobe software for creating and viewing PDF documents.

Other software is also available for creating PDF file. Some programs, such as Office 2010, have a built in feature that allows you to save your files in PDF format. Be wary of web sites that offer PDF conversion services or software, especially if they are free. Some of these insert advertisements within the document or may not be full featured.

Whatever method you use for creating a PDF file, be sure to check the results carefully.

 8.     How do I get Acrobat and how much does it cost?

The free Adobe Reader (formerly called Acrobat Reader) will not allow you to create a PDF; it only allows you to view PDFs. The Acrobat software for creating an ETD is not free, but you don't have to purchase it.

KSU students preparing ETDs can use the Acrobat software on a computer designated by their college or on certain Library computers. All workstations within the Reference Center on the first floor are capable of creating PDFs from Word documents. If students are needing to manipulate their PDF documents (add additional text, images, etc.), they would need to use one of the Express Multimedia Workstations, a Group Instruction Lab workstation, or a workstation in the Student Multimedia Studio. For expert software advice, students should ask staff in the Student Multimedia Studio.

If you do wish to purchase a copy for yourself, Acrobat is available at the KSU Bookstore in different versions starting at about $100.

 9.     How do I use Acrobat to convert my document to PDF?

See the PDF How-To section of this site. Pay attention to the directions for creating a PDF/A. This is a stripped-down archival version of a PDF that is used to guarantee that your work can be more easily rendered on software platforms into the future. This is the same reason why you would also embed your fonts. Directions are provided in the PDF How-To section of this site.

 10.   How do I submit my ETD to OhioLINK?

See the Guidelines section of this site.

 11.   Which paper forms do I have to submit?

Check the Guidelines to find out if you have to submit any paper forms. If you do, you can download them on the Forms page.

 12.   To whom do I give paper forms and my payment for optional services?

To the designated person in your college or school (see the Contacts page).

 13.   What happens after I submit my ETD to OhioLINK?

Your college or school will be notified of your submission and will review it. After the school or college approves the submission, OhioLINK will release your ETD on the OhioLINK ETD Center web site. OhioLINK will also forward a copy of electronic dissertations to UMI. It may take UMI some months to add the ETD to their databases.

 14.  If I submit electronically, do I still need to submit paper copies?

The University Library no longer needs paper copies.

However, your advisor and committee members may prefer to work with paper copies through the defense process and for post-defense corrections. Your school or college may also request a paper copy of the final corrected version to aid in verifying your electronic submission.

In addition, you may be expected to provide printed copies of the finished product to your advisor and possibly your committee members. Please check with your department or the individuals involved about their expectations.

Personal print copies may be obtained through ProQuest/UMI or through the HF Group.

15.   What are the advantages of submitting electronically?

By preparing an ETD and submitting it electronically you learn about electronic document preparation and about digital libraries. These skills will serve you well whether you teach, do research, or use the research results of others. For instance, in many cases it's now required that grant proposals be submitted as PDF files.

Furthermore, you may consider how to better convey the message of your thesis or dissertation in an electronic form. For example, it is possible to include color diagrams and images, hypertext links, audio and video, animations, spreadsheets, databases, simulations, virtual reality worlds, etc. in your ETD.

Electronic submission of a thesis or dissertation offers some advantages in the preservation of your thesis or dissertation. An ETD is immune to theft as well as deterioration of paper and ink. OhioLINK is committed to electronic archiving of works received, making sure that these will be accessible in the future, regardless of changes in media and standards. Remember, paper documents can easily be produced from electronic documents, but not vice versa.

Your ETD will receive greater distribution and access than a paper copy. A copy will be stored on an OhioLINK server and indexed with the OhioLINK databases. Google and other search engines are now indexing OhioLINK's ETDs as well. In addition, OhioLINK will submit a copy of a dissertation to UMI for inclusion in its ProQuest Digital Dissertations database.

 16.   What is UMI (ProQuest)?

ProQuest Dissertation Publishing, formerly University Microfilms (UMI) and now part of ProQuest, is a business in Ann Arbor, Michigan, that has created Dissertation Abstracts, an index of over 2 million dissertations. The database is available as a commercial product through the ProQuest Digital Dissertations service and other database providers.

Most dissertations written in the US, including those from Kent State, are submitted to UMI for archiving and can be purchased in print, microfilm, or digital format through Digital Dissertations. Most of the historical archive is still maintained on microfilm but digital formats are rapidly becoming the norm for submission and storage.

17.   Should I follow the instructions on the UMI (ProQuest) web site when submitting my dissertation?

No! The site has much useful general information, but the procedures outlined there do not apply to KSU dissertations.

 18.   What is the relationship between UMI (ProQuest) and the ETD initiative?

UMI has a commercial interest in continuing to build its database and archive of digital dissertations and is also supportive of the ETD initiative as exemplified by the NDLTD and the OhioLINK ETD Center. It has a representative on the Steering Committee and on the Technical Advisory Committee of the NDLTD.

The NDLTD project focuses on graduate education and raising the level of knowledge transfer through the free availability of theses and dissertations with special regard to theses, which are not generally included in the UMI products. At the same time, those involved in the ETD initiative acknowledge the value of the UMI database and the services offered by UMI and other commercial vendors.

The OhioLINK ETD Center will preserve your dissertation or thesis in perpetuity and transfer copies of dissertations to UMI.

19.   Why should my dissertation be submitted to UMI?

The UMI product continues to be the most important single resource for disseminating the research of doctoral candidates and Kent State requires that you submit your dissertation to UMI. You may receive royalties from copies of your dissertation sold by UMI.

 20.   How will people be able to access my ETD?

After your ETD submission is approved by your college or school, it will be freely accessible on the web at etd.ohiolink.edu with a special type of URL that is not subject to change. This site has been indexed by Google and other search engines. OhioLINK will also submit dissertations to UMI for inclusion in its Dissertation Abstracts index and Digital Dissertations archive. This is a commercial service to which many libraries subscribe and which individuals can use to purchase copies of dissertations in a variety of formats. Additionally, the library will catalog your ETD and provide a direct link to it from KentLINK, the library catalog. The catalog record will be contributed to the OhioLINK catalog and the OCLC WorldCat database. Finally, KSU's involvement with the NDLTD insures that your ETD will benefit from this initiative to share theses and dissertations on a global scale.

 21.   What are the benefits of making my ETD freely available?

The world of scholarship depends on people making their research available to others. When this is done electronically, more people receive access at a lower cost, and more knowledge transfer occurs. When your work is available as an ETD, more people are likely read your work and cite it in their own publications, adding to your prestige and advancement as a scholar.

 22.   What is UMI's "Open Access" publishing option and why would I want to choose it?

UMI's "Open Access" is a service that you may purchase (for $95 as of Spring 2012, subject to change) to make your dissertation freely available through UMI's databases. OhioLINK already provides a similar service to you without cost. You might want to consider the "Open Access" option if you value the incremental advantage of making your dissertation freely available through UMI's channels as well as through OhioLINK.

 23.   What is a "Creative Commons" license and why would I select it?

Creative Commons licenses are for authors more interested in seeing their work used and reproduced than in controlling its distribution. Creative Commons licenses modify copyright restrictions to give others partial or full rights to the use of a work. For more information see the Creative Commons web site, particularly the FAQ.

 24.   What if I want to restrict access to my work?

Generally no restrictions are placed on access to theses and dissertations, whether print or electronic. Anyone may purchase copies in a variety of formats from UMI or borrow them from the KSU Library (through interlibrary loan if not associated with the University).

With an ETD you have an option to impose an embargo or delay on its publication for 6 months, 1 year or 2 years. This addresses situations such as a patent application, book contract negotiation, or other proprietary interests that are at stake. You must arrange a publication delay through your college or school (download this
form, print it, and take it to your advisor) and indicate the delay in the online form when you submit your ETD to OhioLINK. You may not request a delay after your online submission has been approved.

 25.   Can I earn royalties from the sale of copies of my dissertation?

UMI will pay royalties on any copies it sells above a minimum amount in a given year. You are also free to seek a commercial publisher for your dissertation. Copies distributed through OhioLINK are freely available and do not earn you royalties.

 26.   What do I need to know about signing agreements with publishers?

When you have your research published in conference proceedings, a book, or a journal, you usually sign some type of agreement with the publisher. You should read the agreement carefully before signing, making sure you understand AND AGREE with the terms and conditions. The agreement should be explicit about what future rights of use you retain. If you want to include the materials in a dissertation or to reuse the materials for teaching or a book chapter, it is important to document this in the agreement.

As the author you are entitled to discuss your plans with the publisher. We encourage you to obtain an agreement that allows you to include your research in a freely-available electronic thesis or dissertation.

During negotiations you may also want to discuss matters of timing and revision. A publisher may request that you restrict online access to your ETD for some period of time. You can impose such a restriction, or embargo, on the online publication of your paper by the OhioLINK ETD Center.

However, most publishers consider a thesis or dissertation to be quite different from a journal article. Typically an article is much shorter than the chapter or full work and has been revised as a result of the editorial process and peer review and it may have several authors. For these reasons, many publishers have no concerns regarding fully accessible ETDs.

 27.   What if I want to write a book related to my thesis or dissertation?

We realize that some students, especially in the humanities, prepare books related to their theses or dissertations. Sometimes the electronic release of early versions of a book leads to greater sales of that book. Indeed, having an electronic work made available on the Internet and showing a publisher a large number of electronic accesses to that work may help you land a book contract.

Usually, books that relate to theses or dissertations turn out to be significantly changed as part of the editorial process. This makes it likely that those interested in your work will buy your book when it comes out, even if they have reviewed your ETD.

However, since publishers vary widely in their policies, it may be wise to share this information and other documents about the ETD initiative with publishers to which you are likely to submit your work. If you intend to work with a publisher be sure you understand their policies and any agreements you sign.

 28.   What if I want to have a journal article as a chapter in my thesis?

If you have published an article or articles before you turn in your thesis or dissertation and you desire credit for it towards your graduate requirements, you have a number of options. These should be discussed with your committee, and possibly with your publisher. First, you can simply cite the publication in your references. Second, if the publisher has the publication online, you can link or point to it (with permission of the publisher, who usually has protection so that paying customers or subscribers are the only ones allowed access). Third, if the publisher gives you a signed release, you can include the publication in your thesis or dissertation according to the terms of the release. If the publisher restricts access in the release, possibly to your university, you may want to have two versions of your thesis or dissertation--one with and one without the chapter (e.g., published article) in question.

This matter may be avoided if your thesis or dissertation treats your research in a very different way from the published article. This difference often makes sense because articles are typically short, and your thesis or dissertation may be the only place where the details, data, tables, and other aspects of your research are made available.

 29.   What are the thesis and dissertation requirements for my specific school here at Kent State University?

Please contact your college, school, or department for this information (see the contacts page).

 30.   What if I realize I made a mistake in my submission?

Inform the designated person in your College School immediately. Indicate what is wrong and how it needs to be corrected. If there is an error in the PDF you will have to provide a corrected PDF. If the submission was already approved it will be more difficult to make changes, so your College or School may decline to make minor corrections.