Dispensation from consultation offers you the means to a) extend the embargo applied to your work b) embargo specific content in your thesis from public release.
You should apply for dispensation from consultation for all or part(s) of your digital thesis (and possibly also the print version) if:
Dispensation from consultation can be applied for by completing form GSO.3C (http://www.ox.ac.uk/students/academic/guidance/graduate/progression). NOTE: ORA staff do not make the decisions with regards to the granting of dispensation, the decision is taken by the appropriate department and Graduate Studies Committee.
Dispensation will always be granted i) where confidentiality has been made a condition of access to material which is subsequently incorporated in a thesis, and also ii) as regards digital copies where copyright is held by a third party and permission to disseminate it via the internet has not been granted by the copyright holder.
What can the Dispensation apply to?
You can request dispensation for any amount of your thesis, from a single image or block of text, up to chapters or appendices, to the entire thesis file. If you have particular requirements, you may need to be specific in the dispensation request.
Dispensation typically does not apply to the Bodleian catalogue record or ORA record of your thesis, including the title, author details, and abstract of your thesis. These are available as a record of the degree undertaken and achieved at Oxford, and have always been made available, including prior to the existence of ORA.
If you believe that content available in the ORA record should be embargoed, such as the abstract, this will need to be applied for specifically with this request detailed in the dispensation request. Generally this information is only very rarely removed, such as in extreme circumstances where there is risk of personal harm to the author or their sources.
Different extents of dispensation from consultation
NOTE: Being granted dispensation from consultation does not remove the requirement to archive the full and final thesis in ORA, it simply provides authorisation to disseminate an alternative version (with certain content redacted) or extend the embargo.
ORA staff are notified of successful applications for dispensation from consultation in an email sent from the Research Degrees team to the ORA inbox.
Modifications for which applying for dispensation from consultation is not required
It is possible to indicate a period of restricted access for your thesis when depositing it in ORA. Embargoes of up to three years from LTS, or 12 months from LTS if you have received funding from a UKRI funder, do not require dispensation from consultation. This embargo can be applied to all or a part of the thesis. ORA staff will check any indication of embargo with central records.
In cases where a publisher-formatted article has been included in the thesis but we can't make this available online, it is acceptable for us/the student to replace this with the author-formatted version without requiring the student to apply for dispensation from consultation. N.B. switching the version should not alter the pagination of the rest of the thesis.
It is acceptable to redact short snippets of sensitive information from a thesis during the review process, e.g. phone numbers and email addresses, without requiring students to apply for dispensation from consultation.
It is acceptable to reword references where this is is required by copyright permissions, without requiring the student to apply for dispensation from consultation.
If you think your thesis should be subject to restricted access (i.e. dispensation from consultation), you should check with your supervisor and where necessary with Research Services. Approval for dispensation from consultation should be sought at the time of submission of your thesis for examination by completion of forms GSO3A and GSO3C which are available from the Graduate Office. When depositing your thesis in ORA, it is also necessary to indicate any such requirement to restrict access to your thesis on the 'files' page of the deposit form or the deposit note field.
ORA staff will check any indication of embargo with central records
If you need to appeal an outcome from application for dispensation, the usual route of appeals would be firstly via the Degree Graduate Supervisor.
When depositing items into ORA it is crucial to take steps to ensure that sensitive information not intended for public release is not inadvertently made freely available on the open Internet. Errors could result in serious consequences for the University or third parties which could be of a legal, personal or financial nature.
Further information is available here.