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Theses and Dissertations: Rights and Responsibilities

Important things for Graduate students to know when writing a thesis or dissertation.

You are the copyright holder.

Even after your work has been sent to ProQuest, you are the copyright holder.

Proquest and Copyright

In addition to depositing your work in the ISU Digital Repository, a copy of your thesis will also be added to ProQuest's Dissertations and Theses database. Unlike, the DR, ProQuest's database is paid for by subscription and will be accessible only to those with log in information. If you have questions about copyright related to ProQuest, please see Copyright and Your Dissertation or Thesis [pdf]. Still have questions? Contact the Graduate College at

The Digital Repository and Your Copyright

A copy of your thesis or dissertation will also be kept at The Iowa State University Digital Repository. Unlike ProQuest, the DR is open access, allowing your work to reach a wider audience.

  1. Does contributing material to the Iowa State University Digital Repository affect the copyright of my work? No. We will never ask you to transfer your copyright to us before depositing your materials in the DR. The copyright will remain with its owner.
  2. Questions about the DR? Please contact the Digital Repository at
  3. Looking to submit additional research to the DR? Additional graduate research is accepted in the repository. For more information, see Building Your Online Research Presence or contact the Digital Repository as listed above.

Registering for Copyright

Even though copyright privileges are immediate upon creating your work, you may also choose to register your copyright. The Graduate College suggests this option if you plan on using your work to:

  • file a patent
  • write a book
  • publish articles
  • or, your major professor recommends it

For more information on registering your copyright, contact the Graduate College, as listed above.

For questions about copyright related to your thesis or dissertation, please contact the Graduate College.

Your Librarians

Abbey Elder's picture
Abbey Elder
150 Parks Library
Iowa State University