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Reasons to redact material from your thesis

If you are depositing your thesis under controlled access it is unlikely you will need to redact any material from your thesis because your thesis will remain unpublished. However, if you plan to make your thesis available open access you may need to remove material from your thesis for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Your thesis contains confidential or sensitive information.
  • Your thesis contains third party copyright which cannot be cleared.
  • Your thesis contains photographs of people and you do not have their permission to publish their image online.

There may be other reasons why you should consider redacting material from your thesis, but you should not redact material unnecessarily. As a general rule your thesis should be as complete as possible, but suppressing contentious material could allow you to make a redacted version of your thesis open access, while the full version of your thesis remains unpublished.

How to redact material from your thesis

If you are aware from the outset of your research that the information you are dealing with could be sensitive, confidential or unclearable, you have the option of designing your thesis in a way which means the contentious material is easy to remove. For example, if you are planning to use a large number of photographs, you could layout your thesis with the photographs in an addendum. If you are unable to gain clearance for the photos, the addendum can easily be redacted and the redacted thesis can be made open access. If you find you need to redact information in your thesis after completing it, or that you need to remove images or small sections of text, you can find guidance on how to do this in the OSC guide to redacting.

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