Thesis availability

Learn about the criteria for withholding access to your thesis.

An important component of the university tradition is that knowledge is openly available for examination and criticism by peers.

Victoria University of Wellington’s Human Ethics Committee Guidelines (Appendix 1 of the Human Ethics Policy) requires that research results be disseminated and not kept secret.

Public availability of theses

It is normally expected that the final version of your thesis, which must be submitted to the University Library in electronic form, will be freely available to the public.

Once in the Library, your thesis may be consulted, borrowed and copied in accordance with the regulations. The electronic version will be published through the University’s online research repository, ResearchArchive.

Implications for your research

You should bear in mind the expectation that your thesis will be publicly available when:

  • choosing topics for research
  • making requests for information
  • giving undertakings to the suppliers of information about confidentiality
  • writing up.

Very often you will be able to omit sensitive information from your thesis as you write.

Withholding access to your thesis

Only in exceptional circumstances will it be possible to withhold access to your thesis.

The main reason the University may agree to withhold access to your thesis is to protect intellectual property or material of a sensitive commercial nature.

Other reasons are outlined in sections 6, 7 and 9 of the Official Information Act 1982. All information held by the University is subject to this Act, which operates on “the principle that the information shall be available unless there is good reason for withholding it”.

The University can give no guarantee that information held by it will not have to be made available under the Official Information Act 1982.

Applying to withhold access

To have your thesis withheld from public scrutiny, you will need to apply to the Wellington Faculty of Graduate Research using the form below.

You must:

  • apply as soon as it becomes apparent that withholding access may be necessary
  • have very good reasons for seeking to withhold access
  • have the support of your supervisors and Head of School.

Note that:

  • permission will only be granted in exceptional circumstances
  • the maximum period that access may be withheld is two years.

Refer to the Withholding of Theses Procedures for further information.