Delaying Publication of your Thesis

UBC's Policy LR2 states: "Results of all research undertaken in the University shall be fully publishable..."

Because of this policy, the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies must be informed about reasons for requests for delays in publication of dissertations and theses. If there is strong justification, the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies may agree to delay publication of a thesis/dissertation (known as an "embargo") for twelve months. Under special circumstances, and with substantive rationale, the delay in publication may be extended to a normal maximum of two years.

Note: If you want to request a delay in publication of your thesis, you must do this before you submit the final version of your thesis to cIRcle. See How to Request a Delay in Publication for instructions.

You may request that publication be delayed if any of the following circumstances applies:

  • Time is required for completion and submission of a significant manuscript or patent application for a device or idea that might emerge from the thesis research.
  • The thesis describes something of considerable monetary potential which could, if you were given an opportunity to develop it, benefit you or the University.
  • Funding for the research was provided by a commercial company which has requested a delay in publication.
  • The thesis deals with a potentially dangerous product or process, or potential cure for a disease, for which you need more testing time before public release of the information.

The Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies will approve the request only when there is a full and convincing justification for delaying publication of the thesis in the Library’s online repository.

If an embargo is approved, ALL files will be embargoed. An embargo cannot apply only to specific files in your dissertation submission.

Requesting an Extension to an Embargo

On the day that the embargo expires, your thesis will be automatically released and will be available online. If you wish an extension to the embargo period, it is your responsibility to contact the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies no later than two months before the release date. You will not receive a reminder, so please be sure to note the release date of your thesis.

Please use the form "Request to Extend Delay in Publication (Embargo) of a Thesis/Dissertation" in order to request an extension. You must attach a document to the form that provides justification for requesting an extension. Please be very specific: for example, if you are requesting additional time to submit to journals, please list the journals you plan to submit to and what parts of the thesis you are planning to submit.

NOTE: Embargoes are normally extended in six-month increments, with a maximum of one year of extension at a time. As long as you can demonstrate that publication is still a viable option, or that the conditions that necessitated the embargo still exist, further extensions are possible. You must contact the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies annually to request a further extension and provide justification.

Please send the form and attached document to, or submit it to the Grad Studies office.

Submitting Parts or Revisions of your Thesis to Journals

If you plan to submit a revised version of your thesis (or a part of the thesis) to a journal and are concerned that putting your thesis online will damage your chances of publication:

  • Please check the journal's policies before requesting a delay in publication.
  • There is often a statement on a journal's website or in their author’s agreement describing their publication terms.
  • If the journal will not publish material that is already available online, please print out this information and attach it to the Request for Delay in Publication of Thesis form.

Planning to submit chapters of your thesis for journal publication is not, by itself, grounds for delaying publication, unless you can show that the journal will not consider material that has been published in a thesis.