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ECU's Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Submission Service: Vireo: Agreements, Embargo, Copyright

East Carolina University Submission Guide for the Graduate School Theses and Dissertations.


Publishing Agreements, Embargoes, and Copyright for Theses and Dissertations

Prior to submitting a thesis or dissertation to Vireo, the student should discuss with their research advisor and decide on a publishing agreement as well as any embargo restrictions.  As part of the ETD submission, the student must complete the ECU Non-Exclusive Distribution License (NEDL, linked below).  This document, along with the information below, discusses the options for publishing a thesis/dissertation.

During submission of an ETD through Vireo, the student will need to agree to a non-exclusive license for ProQuest.  This agreement is between the author of the work and ProQuest through its UMI Dissertation Publishing Business (ProQuest/UMI).  More information on this can be found on the page Submission of Theses or Dissertations using Vireo

A Note for ProQuest

As of Spring 2016, all students submitting a Thesis or Dissertation must do so through the Vireo Submission Process. No paper copies of thesis or dissertations will be accepted. No electronic theses or dissertations (ETD) submitted through any other service, including ProQuest, will be accepted either. Prior to Spring 2016, ECU used ProQuest as the primary submission system. However, a transition has been made so that Vireo is the sole submission system used in accepting ETDs.

After successful submission of ETDs through the Vireo system, ECU will upload all theses and dissertations to The ScholarShip and to ProQuest’s PQDT directly. Any business that a student wishes to do with PQDT is independent of ECU and the Vireo submission process.

The ScholarShip is ECU’s Institutional Repository and is used under the conditions of enrollment which grants the University a limited ability to reproduce the works done by students. It is the student’s responsibility to request a change or extension for an embargo.

The ProQuest database (linked here) is used because it has a far-reaching audience. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global is the most comprehensive collection of dissertations and theses from around the world. Its coverage spans from the 18th century to the present day and includes full text for graduate works added since 1997, along with selected full text for works written prior to 1997. It contains a significant amount of new international dissertations and theses both in citations and in full text. Students agree to the PQDT license as part of their upload process in Vireo. ECU’s theses and dissertations are sent to ProQuest with the same embargo settings that the student chooses for ECU’s Institutional Repository. It is the student’s responsibility to contact PQDT if they want to change or extend a PQDT embargo (otherwise the thesis or dissertation is viewable by other database subscribers at the conclusion of any embargo). 

Internet Distribution

Upon submission, all theses and dissertations will be included in the ECU Institutional Repository (The ScholarShip) and, in addition, will be delivered to the PQDT database, subject to the publishing agreement and the embargo period selected by the student. Students will select among options offered to them during the submission process and will use the NEDL form, with the mutual agreement of the chair of the committee.

Metadata from the theses or dissertations, including the abstract and keywords, will be published in Masters Abstracts International or Dissertation Abstracts International. Additionally, abstracts and keywords will be immediately available in the PQDT database and in ECU’s Institutional Repository. Metadata will be freely available regardless of an embargo selection.

Selection of an embargo will be according to the selections made by the student on the NEDL form (linked above) and will be set for both the ECU Institutional Repository and PQDT database. The student is responsible for requesting any changes or extensions in embargoes. Such requests for the ECU Institutional Repository must be made to Joyner Library at Requests to change or extend an embargo for a work in the PQDT database must be made directly to PQDT: Author and School Relations Department at 800-521-0600 ext 77020 or email at 

As a condition of enrollment at ECU, each student grants the University a limited, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce the student’s thesis or dissertation, in whole or in part, in electronic form to be posted on the ECU Institutional Repository and made available according to the publishing option selected by the student and subject to the embargo period selected. In short, when filling out the NEDL form, students may select WHEN and HOW their work is published:

WHEN a thesis/dissertation is published: Embargo Selection

  • Immediate Access: Publish the entire work immediately according to the audience selection.
  • Delayed Access: Embargo the entire work for patent and/or proprietary purposes for a period of 6 months, 1 year, or 2 years with the work being published according to the audience selection at the end of the embargo period (unless an extension is requested).

HOW a thesis/dissertation is to be published: Audience Selection

  • Open Access: Release the entire work for free access worldwide on the internet. Availability of the full text is subject to the embargo selection.
  • Campus Access: Release of the entire work for access only by ECU faculty, students, and staff (access authenticated by valid PirateID). Availability of the full text is subject to the embargo selection. 


A copyright is an intangible right granted to the author or originator of certain literary or artistic productions, under which he or she is invested for a limited period with the sole, exclusive privilege of making copies and publishing and selling them. 

Copyright protection automatically exists from the time the work is created in fixed form. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work unless it is a work-for-hire or unless ownership has been assigned by written agreement. 

While registering your copyright is a legal formality, East Carolina University requires that you include a copyright notice following the title page. Typical copyright notices take this form: 

Copyright 2015, Jane E. Student 

- Or -

© 2015, Jane E. Student

Copyright registration establishes a public record of a thesis or dissertation and copyright. In the U.S., registration is required before one can file an infringement lawsuit. Registration also allows the registered to be awarded damages and attorney fees in an infringement action. Generally, one must have registered before the infringement occurs to have these benefits.

The student may file an application for copyright for $35 with the U.S. Copyright Office, 101 Independence Ave., S.E., Washington, DC 20559-6000. For more information, see the U.S. Copyright Office Website.

Copyright laws are vague, and can be confusing.  It is left up to the student to make sure they understand their rights pertaining to their work as well as the rights of those whose work that may be used in the student’s research.  Pay careful attention to these laws and their consequence on publishing.  ECU’s Copyright Officer is available to answer any questions about copyright or fair use.  The Copyright Officer can be reached at

For more information about copyright, please visit ECU’s copyright website 


Fair Use Exceptions to Copyright Law

Fair Use is an exception to the Copyright Law that allows the work to be used in educational activities such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, research, and scholarship. To determine if the use of previously published materials in a thesis or dissertation falls under fair use, please visit ECU’s copyright website *(linked at the bottom of this page). There is a number of resources as well as templates for requesting permission to use items within a work.

ECU’s Copyright Officer is available to answer any questions about copyright or fair use at

Publishing Considerations

When deciding on publishing options for a dissertation or thesis, it is recommended the student:

  • Seek the advice of their research advisor or committee chair to determine the appropriate publishing option for their paper
  • Check the access guidelines of the funding source (if any)
  • Consider patent pending or patentable rights in the work
  • Consider ethical need to prevent disclosure of sensitive or classified information

If the student plans to publish their dissertation or thesis in the future, it may be prudent to investigate various publishers’ policies. Look for “Instructions for Authors” or “Copyright Information” on a specific journal’s website. Questions regarding this matter can be directed to the Scholarly Communication Department at

Research Identifiers

A researcher or author identifier is a unique number that identifies a specific author. Because of the vast number of authors in the world, it is becoming increasingly important to ensure a work is uniquely and explicitly related to the author who published it. For the author, identifiers are useful to guarantee that their work is always ascribed to them regardless of name, institution, or affiliate changes. For the public, researcher identifiers are practical tools for delineating authors that are similar in name, subject of research, or otherwise. In addition, researcher identifiers are easy to use and free.

There are several types of author identifiers:

ORCID - One of the most versatile author identifiers available (Recommended)
Scopus Author Identifier - Attached to Scopus
ResearcherID - Attached to Thomson Reuters products like Web of Science
arXiv Author IDs - Used with arXiv, an open repository of e-prints in physics, mathematics, computer science, etc

To learn more about researcher identifiers check out the ORCID Libguide linked below. This guide walks through the process of setting up an ORCID and an ORCID profile, in addition to providing more information about all the above listed research identifiers and in general.

ORCID Libguide

Creative Commons Licenses

Some materials may have a creative commons license as indicated by the symbols "CC", "BY", "SA", "NC", or "ND", usually preceded by "CC" (for example: CC-BY-SA). In general, the license promotes reuse of original material which can be accomplished in many ways. Students who wish to use material under a creative license must review and adhere to the conditions dictated by the license type filed by the creator. The most important condition for using these materials is attribution; see below for links on how to appropriately attribute a material to the licensor/creator. Usually, when accessing and gaining the material, users will see the conditions stipulated by the creator. Below are many links to the creative commons licenses, attribution guidelines, and common questions. Students are encouraged to thoroughly read through the license agreement before using the protected material.


Best practices for attribution
An ideal attribution
Licensing types
Creative Commons FAQ page
The 4.0 license
The 3.0 license
The 2.0 license



Digital copies of theses and dissertations are archived by ECU Libraries and by ProQuest in the PQDT database.