Confidentiality of PhD Theses in the UK

Stuart Powell

Stuart Powell is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Hertfordshire, where he was the Director of Research Degrees.

Howard Green

Professor Howard Green was Pro Vice Chancellor at Staffordshire University and Professor of Urban Planning, as well as a past Chair of the UK Council for Graduate Education

The report gives some background to the issue of confidentiality of theses, outlines the nature and scope of the survey and then reports and discusses its findings before setting out some conclusions.

In many parts of Europe doctoral theses are made public before or during the examination phase that is then conducted in a public forum. However, in the UK it is typically the case that theses are treated, implicitly or explicitly, as documents in confidence until examination processes are complete. After these processes it is common practice in the UK for theses to be made public — available in the University library and noted to the British Library. Again, it is typically the case that universities allow exceptions to this process of going public. The survey that this report considers, addressed the nature of such exceptions, their extent and their prevalence. 
Visit the main UK Council for Graduate Education website