Access restrictions and moratoriums

Restricting access to your thesis

Once you've successfully submitted you thesis, we will add it to the Library’s collections.

Print theses are held in the Library and are available for consultation. Digital theses are made available to all online, under Open Access.

You may wish to restrict access to both the print and digital copies of your thesis, or just to the digital copy. You need to consider which format(s) the restriction should apply to.

In most cases, restrictions last for a limited period of time.

Restrictions and moratoriums

  • Registered staff, students and affiliates of the University of Strathclyde can view a thesis which has a digital restriction.
  • Nobody can view a thesis which is under moratorium.

Complete moratorium

You might want to request a complete moratorium for both print and digital copies of your thesis if, for example:

  • Your thesis has been commercially sponsored and an agreement signed which does not permit the thesis to be made publicly available.
  • Your thesis contains material that was obtained under a promise of confidentiality.
  • The release of your thesis might endanger the physical or mental health or the safety of an individual.

If this is the case, you should discuss with your supervisor how to place a moratorium on your thesis. If necessary you should fill in and submit a moratorium request form.

A formal moratorium at the University of Strathclyde can last for an initial period of two years. It may be extended to five years. A moratorium applies to both the print and digital versions of a thesis.


Digital restrictions

A thesis which is made available in print form only is not deemed to have been published.

A digital thesis which is made available on Open Access may be seen by a minority of publishers as having already been published. If, on discussion with your supervisor, it becomes apparent that publishing opportunities may be compromised by the making available of a thesis in digital form, then it is possible to restrict access to this digital version for the publishing potential of the thesis.

If this is the case, please inform us in writing of your need for a restriction on the digital availability and reproduction of your thesis. You can either include a letter with your thesis submission paperwork or email our cataloguing team on

Normally a one or two year restriction on access to the digital version of a thesis is sufficient after which the thesis will be placed on Open Access by the Library.


Freedom of Information Act

Because theses can be requested under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, grounds for placing a moratorium on a thesis can relate to one of the exemption provisions within the Act. A detailed list and guidance on the scope of exemptions is available from the Scottish Information Commissioner.

You should talk to your supervisor in order to establish whether there is a need to restrict access to your thesis for Freedom of Information (FOI) reasons. They will be able to advise if one of the exemptions permitted under the Act is applicable. If you need further help with this you should contact the University of Strathclyde FOI office.


Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations

Theses may also be requested under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs). If you think you may need to restrict access to your thesis in relation to environmental information you should again talk to your supervisor about an EIR exception, rather than an FoI exemption.

Information about EIR exemptions is available from Scottish Statutory Instrument 2004 No.520.