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eTD@BC: Frequently Asked Questions

electronic theses and dissertations

Embedding Fonts

How can I ensure that all of my fonts are preserved when I convert from Microsoft Word to PDF?
See our help document for embedding fonts in your PDF. ProQuest requires that you do so. And, doing so will ensure that your thesis or dissertation will look the same in the future as when you wrote it, despite any changes in font technology.

Converting from LaTeX to PDF

How can I convert from LaTeX to PDF without altering the layout of equations?
For Windows, the application MikTeX can be used to convert to PDF. For Mac, the application TeXShop can be used to convert to PDF.

Concerns about Open Access

Will Publishers Consider my Open Access Dissertation a Prior Publication? Might that affect its chances of becoming a publication?
Students who wish to publish their dissertation in book or article format sometimes ask whether publishers will consider dissertations that are available open access and full-text online to be prior publications. Though this is an important question, it's impossible to provide a single definitive answer with which all publishers would agree. Publication policies are quite diverse.

Most dissertations that are later turned into books or journal articles are heavily revised because of publishers' requirements; the subsequent book or article is really quite different from the original dissertation. In such cases, most publishers would not be worried that an open access ETD was a prior publication. If students plan to publish a dissertation, they should consult potential publishers in their discipline beforehand if they are concerned that making their dissertation open access will jeopardize its chances of being published. Students may also request an embargo period during which the full text of their dissertation will not be openly accessible. However, in some cases, the increased visibility due to Open Access without an embargo may increase the likelihood of your work becoming published.

To better understand the effects of the Open Access decision and the embargo decision, please see Open Access and Embargoes below.

Students with concerns about Open Access should refer to the following resources:

Frequently asked: eTDs and Prior Publication                                   

Open Access and Scholarly Publishing

It is important to remember that even if a student agrees to make the dissertation available Open Access in eScholarship@BC, the student retains copyright to the work.

Open Access and Embargoes

Are these two choices related in any way?
No, the decisions about Open Access and about an embargo are independent; any combination is possible - see table below.

Whatever decision you make about Open Access applies only to eScholarship@BC.

Whatever embargo you request will apply to both ProQuest AND to eScholarship.

The following table explains the consequences of these decisions:

Open Access accepted Open Access declined
NO EMBARGO (immediate availability of full text) At eScholarship: full text available within weeks; no cost to you or the person viewing your eTD. At eScholarship: full text not available.
At ProQuest: full text available in about 10 weeks. User or subscribing institution pays a fee.
EMBARGO (delayed availability of full text) At eScholarship: after the embargo expires, full text available at no cost. At eScholarship: full text not available.
At ProQuest: after the embargo expires, full text available. User or subscribing institution pays a fee.


Where can I get help with questions about copyright?
The Libraries have created a Copyright and Scholarship guide to answer basic copyright questions. If you need more help, please contact your subject librarian or the Scholarly Communication Librarian.

Discovery and Access

How will researchers or potential employers discover my dissertation?
Choosing your key words and phrases carefully will enable other scholars to find your work easily. What search terms would they need? Please provide at least one and up to six key words or phrases that describe the topic and content of your thesis. Separate key words and key phrases with semicolons.

NOTE: Subject specialists in the BC Libraries can help you to optimize your choices of key words and phrases. Here is a list of subject specialists and their contact information. Please avail yourself of their services; creating subject-specific metadata is one of their core competencies.

During the online submission to ProQuest you will be asked whether you want major search engines (e.g. Google, Yahoo) to discover your work in ProQuest’s Dissertations and Theses - Full Text database. We highly recommend agreeing to this.

NOTE: agreeing to this does not mean granting access to the full text of your dissertation.

If you have agreed to Open Access and your dissertation is not under an embargo (or the embargo has expired), scholars will also be able to locate your dissertation using BC’s Holmes One Search library catalog.

How will researchers or potential employers access my dissertation?

1) If you agree to Open Access, your dissertation will be accessible from BC's repository eScholarship@BC. Access will be free. You will retain your copyright. A permanent link will be created that you can put in your CV. If you have an embargo, access to the full text will be provided only after the embargo has expired.

2) Based on your publishing agreement with ProQuest, your dissertation will be found by anyone who searches ProQuest’s Dissertations and Theses --- Full Text database. ProQuest charges them (not you) a fee for access. Members of the BC community (faculty, staff, and students) have pre-paid access because BC already subscribes to this ProQuest database. If you have an embargo, access to the full text will be provided only after the embargo has expired.


How can I format characters (bold, italic, underline, etc.) in the abstract that is entered online into the ProQuest text box?
Authors can simply copy and paste their abstracts from the PDF into the ProQuest text box without formatting. ProQuest will then format the submitted abstract using the same formatting as that employed in the author's PDF.

Creative Commons Licenses

Why would I choose a Creative Commons license, and if I do, which one should I choose?

Choose a Creative Commons license if you wish to allow users of your work to make broader use of your work than they could if you reserve all rights under copyright law. There are six licenses to choose from allowing different levels of use.

The description of the Attribution license (considered the most liberal) states:

This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation.

The description of the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license states:

This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.

Much more information is included about each of the licenses on the Creative Commons site, and should be reviewed before making a choice of license. Questions about the Creative Commons license options can be addressed to the Scholarly Communication Librarian.

The descriptive record of your ETD in eScholarship@BC will include the information about the license you have chosen.