Frequently asked questions

How do I deposit my thesis?

After the examination is complete and any required minor revisions have been approved, you should make sure that the final copy of your thesis is submitted to Registry via Spiral (the College’s open access repository) as soon as possible. The College will not issue the result of the examination to successful candidates until it has received the final submission and the examiners have confirmed that any amendments to the thesis required by them have been made.

For further information on preparing your final thesis for submission to Spiral and creating your PDF file, please refer to these FAQs.

Your final thesis must be in PDF/A format and all fonts used must be embedded within the PDF file. Please do not include your signature in the thesis. Theses submitted in any other format will not be accepted and may result in the award of the degree being delayed.

Please note that your submission will be checked by Research Degrees before being released to the Spiral team in the library, and your thesis will only be made publicly available upon expiry of any agreed embargo. Bound copies of the final thesis, or electronic copies in any other format are no longer required. You do not need to submit any additional forms at this stage, providing you have already submitted your Thesis Declaration Form.

After the examination is complete and any required minor revisions have been approved, you should make sure that the final copy of your thesis is submitted to Registry via 

How do people find theses in Spiral?

You can search for Imperial theses via Library Search or browsing the PhD collections on Spiral, Imperial’s repository

Can I restrict access to my thesis?

Yes. Under certain circumstances you can request an embargo on your thesis.

How does the Freedom of Information Act affect access to my thesis?

Can I include articles, images, quotations, maps, etc.?

Can I include papers and figures I have already published?

Can I publish extracts from my thesis as a paper?

Does redrawing a figure mean I can ignore copyright and permission seeking?

You should not redraw a figure simply to side-step the need to acknowledge someone else’s work or to request permission to use it. When you change someone else’s figure to better suit your needs, you must decide if you are adapting the work or redrawing it as a new work.

An adaption starts with the original figure and then elements are added, subtracted or replaced to create an adapted version. When looking at the figure the similarity to the original figure is obvious and the changes could be described by someone looking at both figures.

When you redraw a figure, your aim is to create a new and original figure using some else’s figure as a guide and inspiration. You start with a blank piece of paper and create your own visual explanation of the concept or data.

The right to adapt a copyrighted work belongs to the rightsholder. You must therefore request permission to adapt another person’s figure and publish the adapted version online. Conversely, there is no need to request permission when you redraw a figure because you have created a new and original figure for which you are the copyright holder.

When writing the figure caption for an adapted work always acknowledge the adaption and the original figure. (e.g.  figure 1,  Risk perception and behavioral change during epidemics: Comparing models of individual and collective learning)

Advanced Science's Copyright permissions: tips for authors covers reproduction, adaption and redrawing of figures in more detail and explains how to obtain permission.

How do I get help?

For help with submission and regulations

For help with plagiarism, referencing and copyright ASK the Library

For help with intellectual property Research Office

What can someone else do with my thesis once it is on Spiral?

Your thesis is offered under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence.

What are these licences?
Know your Rights is a handy tool which outlines what each licence gives you as a creator and the end user.

Other people can copy, distribute and transmit your thesis, see the Spiral use licence

What format should my thesis be in?

Your thesis should be submitted in PDF format and all fonts used must be embedded within the PDF file.

See Creating your PDF/A for instructions for your operating system.

Can I change the licence I’ve assigned to my thesis?

You can change your mind about which Creative Commons licence you have assigned to your thesis if you have not yet uploaded it to Spiral. You must make sure the copyright statement at the front of your thesis matches the licence you choose.

Once you have uploaded the final version of your thesis to Spiral the licence cannot be changed.

Should I sign the statement of originality?

The College does not require you to sign the statement of originality and recommends that you do not include a signature in your thesis as it will publicly available on the internet and may be used fraudulently by others.