Thesis deposit – Information for administrators

A new Thesis Deposit point goes live in Moodle on 19 July. This post is aimed at postgraduate administrators and explains what has changed and why.

What’s new within Moodle?

  • The options for students to restrict public access to a thesis are now 1 year and 3 years. There is no online option to permanently restrict access to a thesis. Students who have written a thesis that contains extensive material of a sensitive or confidential nature need to:
    • download a permanent thesis embargo request form
    • discuss the matter with their supervisor
    • obtain the necessary signatures
    • select the 1 year embargo in Moodle. When we receive the form, the Research Support team in the library will apply a permanent embargo to the thesis in KAR.
  • We’ve improved the workflow, used meaningful headings and added links to guidance on our web pages.
  • We’ve made the “Staff comments box” visible to students, so that you can keep the thesis in draft and send comments back to the students to request alterations.
  • We’ve set up an auto email that sends the student a message that their thesis has been deposited in Moodle and is with the Post-Graduate Administrator for checking.
  • You have an option to add your school’s generic post-graduate administrator email address to the Thesis Deposit point. This will send a notification of a thesis deposit to that email address.
  • We’ve made it impossible for a student to deposit their thesis twice.
  • We’ve added a “Delete “ function so that you can delete a whole thesis entry on the rare occasions when the student needs to start again.

What else is new?

What you need to do

  • Remove any links to old guidance in the Thesis section of your school’s module for postgraduates and replace with a link to:
  • Use the suggested new text for the ‘Minor Corrections Approved’ letter and send out the booklet with the letter.

Why have we made these changes?

Since 2014 University of Kent PhD theses have been submitted in electronic format only. Students submit theses via a Moodle module from where they are automatically fed into the Kent Academic Repository (KAR).  Theses from 2014 onwards are not routinely held in print format in the library. Last year the library reviewed this process through:

  • an audit of the theses in KAR and their access status
  • a survey of PG Administrators involved in the theses submission process
  • sitting with a PG Administrator to document the creation of a thesis module within Moodle, and the deposit into KAR to determine whether any improvements to the process can be made
  • observing a PhD student while they submit their thesis to see if the process can be improved
  • an audit of the guidance about thesis submission.

The review concluded that:

Too many theses are permanently embargoed

In 2017, 478 theses were in KAR, 284 of which were embargoed and to which access is restricted. 134 theses were permanently embargoed. This means that the information about the thesis is displayed in KAR and can be found by search engines, but the full text is not freely available online and never will be. Users can request access via the library research support team, who contact the author on behalf of the enquirer – but this depends on having the current contact address in KAR. There were 32 theses permanently restricted theses in KAR without contact details. As there is no print version in the library, the content of these 32 theses is now effectively locked up permanently with no legal way of making it available.

Guidance for students could be improved

Guidance about the deposit process existed in different forms in different places. Students were not always aware of it, or able to find it, where and when they needed it. This meant students were arriving at the Moodle deposit page without having read advice about the embargo options, about third party copyright, about how to redact or about submitting a full and a redacted version of their thesis.

Moodle deposit process could be better

The Thesis Deposit point needed changing to make it easier for students and for administrators.

How did we make these changes?

We consulted the Graduate School and Directors of Graduate Studies and proposed that the option to permanently embargo a thesis should only be available through the submission of a form outlining the reason for the need for a permanent embargo. This was agreed at the Graduate School Board on 31st October 2017. We then worked on the Moodle Thesis Deposit point, the booklet, library webpages and any other University documents that contained information about thesis deposit. Finally, we sought feedback from post-graduate students and post-graduate administrators on the new draft versions.

Where is the guidance?

Guidance on setting up and administering the thesis deposit point in Moodle has been updated and is available here:

Help with decisions about copyright, redaction, licences, embargoes, the deposit process accompanying files and data is on the library’s Deposit your thesis webpages.

A print booklet “Copyright, Open Access and your thesis” is available from the Graduate School and as a pdf on the library’s Deposit your thesis web pages.

Who to ask for help

Contact for help with the creation and management of the Moodle Thesis Deposit point

Contact for anything else

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