Medieval Academy of America Statement on Online Dissertation Embargoes

The Medieval Academy of America strongly encourages graduate programs and university libraries to adopt policies that allow doctoral candidates the option of withholding their Ph.D. dissertations from university-mandated open-access digital publication for up to six years. The Academy also encourages the disclosure of options available to students so they can make an informed choice.

Many universities require doctoral candidates to submit their dissertations digitally. Instead of conveying hardcopies to the university library or archive, they must post the digital dissertations online where they are freely accessible. The decision as to whether to allow immediate, free, digital access to research or to withhold such access for a limited period, should remain with the doctoral candidate. This decision is best made in close consultation with the student’s dissertation advisor and other mentors who can provide field-specific advice regarding career and publishing paths.

William Chester Jordan, President
Barbara Newman, Vice-President
Carmela Vircillo Franklin, Second Vice-President
and the Council of the Medieval Academy

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