Publishing dissertations

What do I have to submit according to the promotion regulations?

In the additional regulations (par. 15.2 / appendix 4) of the Regulations (EN/NL) concerning the conferral of a doctorate at Wageningen University, the Doctorate Board determines the following:

  1. the number of copies of the thesis that must be provided before the public defence.
  2. the number of copies of the thesis that the doctoral student must supply at cost to the library of Wageningen University (in consultation with the Executive Board).

No later than two weeks before the public defence, the doctoral student must supply the following number of copies of his thesis:

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Why publish dissertations online?

PhD dissertations form an important part of the scientific output of the University. The University has always been committed to enhancing its scientific impact. To this goal it reimburses the printing costs of a substantial number of copies of a thesis and provides for the dissemination of these copies to scientific libraries all over the world. However, scientists today expect to be able to access publications electronically, and electronic publishing offers opportunities for better dissemination than the printed version, of which the distribution is limited. The University therefore decided to publish all theses on the Web from September 2002, taking into account possible constraints with regard to intellectual property rights (IPR). Electronic dissertations delivered to Wageningen UR Library will be distributed to a range of Search Engines and will also be available at The Dutch national theses database

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What about online dissertations and Intellectual Property Rights?

The library will check if any copyright issues might arise, and if necessary ask permission from the copyright holder on behalf of the author. Permissions are stored in a central registry. Please notify us if you have submitted, or intend to submit, an article from your thesis to a journal (especially if you did not mention that fact in the text). Instead of bringing it online on the Internet we will store it locally and put it on a 'embargo list'. We will make such files available to the general public after one year unless the author timely provides us with an other 'end of embargo' date.

Theoretically, the intellectual property rights for both printed and electronic theses are the same. However, as the distribution of electronic publications is potentially much wider, the issue of IPR is perceived as being a much more delicate issue. The Library is responsible for the organisation of the University´s electronic theses and is committed to taking the necessary steps to avoid any problems concerning IPR. Questions could arise for example if parts of the thesis have already been published, or are to be published, as articles in journals. In most cases, authors are inclined to enter into a standard agreement with the publisher, thereby transferring all rights to the publisher, often without realising what the agreement entails. We wish to stress that there is no need to sign such an agreement. In ever more cases a publisher will accept a statement from the author to the effect that the rights for a once-only publication of the article lies with the publisher while the author retains the IPR. Having said that, we will discuss below how we propose to deal with IPR in different situations where the rights of the thesis have already been transferred.

Articles that have appeared in journals

The Library publishes a thesis on the Web as a single file identical to the printed version. Although the publishers may have already implicitly granted permission for inclusion of an article in a thesis, we will nevertheless request permission to publish the article in an electronic version of the thesis. Until now, such permission has never been refused.

Articles to be submitted to journals

If an article or a number of articles included in the thesis, have been submitted to a journal which will appear after publication of the thesis, we will delay online publishing so as not to interfere with the acceptance process. Such theses will be kept on hold. After twelve months we will check whether or not the articles have appeared or, if we receive prior permission from the author, we will proceed with online publication. If you, as the author, do not indicate in the text of the thesis the journal to which an article will be submitted, you should inform us which journal needs to be checked before the thesis is published online.

Sales editions

Occasionally authors find commercial publishers who are interested in publishing integral theses and distributing them commercially. The University does not wish to hamper such ventures, as its aim is to enhance their distribution. The academic version of the thesis may differ from the sales edition that would be aiming to reach a wider readership. If there is to be a sales edition of your thesis, you should inform us. In consultation with the commercial publisher, the author may decide whether an academic version should be made available online by the University.

Publishers´ policies

Many publishers are now reformulating their IPR policies.

For your convenience an overview of current Publisher copyright & self-archiving policies is available.

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How to format electronic dissertations?

At present the Adobe® Portable Document Format (PDF) has been selected as being the most appropriate format for electronic dissertations. Adobe PDF is a universal file format that preserves all the fonts, formatting, graphics, and color of any source document, regardless of the application and platform used to create it. You can convert any document to Adobe PDF using Adobe Acrobat software.

In many cases authors will produce a PDF file to send their thesis to the printing office. The same file may be submitted to the Library in order to make the document available online.


Wageningen University electronic dissertations should comply with the following specifications:


Some users encounter problems exporting PDF files as a single file from a word processor like MS/Word. It may be easier to produce separate PDF's for each part or chapter, and concatenate them using the 'insert pages' option of Adobe Acrobat.

If a PDF file has been optimised for print you can use Adobe Acrobat to save as a Postscript (.PS) file and use the Acrobat Distiller to produce a PDF file optimised for screen.

If you are working with large files in Adobe Acrobat it is advisable to close all other applications If the file size of the electronic document is considered excessive the library will contact the author to see if there are ways to reduce the size, e.g. optimizing graphics or leaving out graphics that are not considered essential.

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I graduated years ago at Wageningen University. Will you still publish my thesis?

If you can deliver your dissertation in electronic format, we will be happy to include it in the Way Database. Please send your dissertation to the contact address below.

Where can I find my dissertation online?

The online version of your dissertation will be stored at the library and references to the PDF are distributed in a number databases:

If you want to use a persistent URL to your dissertation, please lookup the dissertation in one of the mentioned databases and copy the hyperlink provided in the title. These hyperlinks are formatted as:”number” (example:

Who to contact?

For more questions about delivering dissertations to WaY please contact:
T +31 317 483600 F 484761

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mail icon Wageningen Digital Library, 28 June, 2009