In academia, an "embargo" is a restriction placed on a thesis or dissertation that allows only the title, abstract, and citation information to be released to the public, while the full text of the work is kept hidden for a limited period of time. Embargoes typically last from one to five years following publication of a thesis or dissertation via the college or university's Institutional Repository or some other publishing service (e.g., ProQuest). Colleges and universities have different rules about whether and how theses and dissertations can be embargoed; however, most embargos can be extended under certain circumstances.
Most theses and dissertations are not embargoed, but are made publicly available following their formal defense as part of completing a masters or doctoral degree. Some reasons to embargo a thesis or dissertation include:
Some colleges and universities encourage all authors to embargo their work, while others discourage embargoes except when they are absolutely needed.
As a condition of enrollment at Georgia Southern University, each student grants the University a limited, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce and make publicly available the student’s dissertation or thesis, in whole or in part, in electronic format via Digital Commons@Georgia Southern subject to the following voluntary elections:
Embargoes are intended only for documents that meet one or more of the following criteria:
If you have questions or concerns, please contact the College of Graduate Studies at firstname.lastname@example.org or 912-478-2647.
Always discuss the pros and cons of embargoing your thesis or dissertation with your graduate committee prior to submitting your work to Digital Commons@Georgia Southern. In addition, to help you with this decision, here are some recent articles that address this question:
If you learn about a thesis or dissertation that you want to read but it currently is embargoed, your best bet is to contact the author. If you are having difficulty finding contact information for the author, try contacting your library or the library at which the author earned his or her degree.