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Open Research Online Help Pages


Open Research Online ORO accepts the deposit of theses from the following research degrees awarded by The Open University:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Doctorate in Education (EdD)
  • Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

Theses from students from the OU's Affiliated Research Centres (ARCs) can also be deposited in ORO. Theses awarded by other institutions can be added to ORO. For theses not awarded by The OU, please only add the bibliographic information and abstract to ORO.

The advantage of depositing your thesis in ORO is that digital theses (eTheses) are more easily found and can increase your visibility as a researcher. Deposited theses will also be made available to the British Library EThOS Project.

How to deposit your eThesis

It is the responsibility of the individual to ensure any copyrighted material owned by a third party has been cleared (i.e. permission to make available in an open access resource received) prior to depositing the thesis in ORO. More information on third-party copyright is provided below.

Depositors of eTheses will fall into one of two categories:

  • Individuals employed by the OU and have an OUCU (OU Computer Username) can deposit their thesis online by logging into their User Area of ORO. The deposit workflow steps can then be followed, choosing .Thesis. as the item type and entering the item details and uploading the full text.
  • Individuals without an OUCU (e.g. individuals who are no longer affiliated with / employed by the OU, or research students from the OU.s ARCs) can deposit their thesis by email to the ORO Team, or by posting a CD or DVD, or sending the files on a USB stick. Please contact a member of the ORO Team if you would like to use one of these options.

We can only accept OU awarded theses with the full text provided. Once the ORO Team has verified that the degree has been awarded and the details are correct, the thesis will be moved across to the live repository. Theses from other institutions can be accepted as metadata and abstract details only - i.e. no full-text attached.


Sometimes there may be a valid reason for your thesis being restricted or under embargo for a limited period of time (e.g. as stipulated by a commercial sponsor, or promised for publication as a monograph). If this is the case please wait until the embargo has expired before depositing.

Third Party Copyright

Before depositing your thesis in ORO, you need to be sure that you have permission for any third-party copyrighted material, e.g. extracts from publications such as books or journals, or illustrations such as images, maps, photographs, tables etc., to be made available in an open access resource. If you are a new research student about to embark on your research degree, consider seeking such permission as you go, rather than waiting until your thesis has been finalised. This will save time should you wish to deposit an e-version in ORO at the end of your degree. Permission to include third-party copyrighted material in your thesis should be sought by contacting the rights holder. This may be the author of a work, a publisher, an illustrator etc.

What you will need to seek permission for

You need to seek permission when you wish to include these material types in your thesis:

  • Long quotations and extracts from literary or scholarly texts
  • Illustrations such as images, maps, photographs, tables
  • Short extracts if they form a substantial proportion of a work (such as a poem)
  • Internet material

Written permissions must include the right for you to disseminate the material in your thesis for non-commercial purposes in an open access resource. For additional information, please read the University's copyright guidelines for students working online.

Has your thesis been published?

If any part of your thesis has been published (e.g. as a journal article) then you need to check the copyright agreement you signed with your publisher. Even if you assigned copyright to the publisher, the publisher may still allow you to use the material in your thesis.

What to do if permission is not granted

If the copyright holder is unable to grant permission and it is possible to take out the third-party copyrighted material then send us the edited version. If this is not possible and the third-party copyrighted material has not been cleared then we will be unable to deposit your thesis to ORO.

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