Electronic Deposit FAQs

Will paper copies of dissertations be available through the Columbia University Libraries?
No. Dissertations will be made available online, through the university's research repository, Academic Commons, which will be considered the repository of record for Columbia University’s PhD, DMA, DES, and JSD dissertations. All deposited dissertations will have a catalog entry in CLIO (Columbia’s library database).

Is a digital copy safe? Can a technological problem cause the dissertations to disappear?
The University Libraries have created a secure replicated storage environment (multiple copies of the data, including offsite storage) for permanent archiving of university research. The libraries have made a commitment to maintaining the Academic Commons into the future, accounting for safe data storage and eventual changes to technology, ensuring that PDF documents will be accessible for the long term.

Will the dissertations continue to be made available through ProQuest/UMI’s database of dissertations and theses?
Yes. Your electronic deposit will go directly to ProQuest along with its appearing in Academic Commons.

What are the implications of the open-access nature of the Academic Commons?
Works appearing in Academic Commons are available to anyone with an internet connection. Making dissertations available openly will benefit you by broadening your audience, increasing citations, and allowing potential employers and publishers to more easily find your work. By making your work widely available online, you can better protect your intellectual property, by firmly and publicly establishing your ideas. All works deposited into Academic Commons have a persistent identifier that can be used to cite your dissertation in your CV or in bibliographies. Please refer to the Academic Commons FAQ for more information.

Will I still be able to request an embargo on my work?
Yes. You can elect to embargo your dissertation for a period of one, two, or five years from the date of your deposit. (Please see this page for instructions.) This means that the title and abstract are available publicly, with the text of the dissertation remaining unavailable until the end of the embargo. A small minority of dissertations are embargoed, usually in cases where a patent is pending, an experiment has not yet been fully completed, a manuscript has been submitted for publication in a scholarly journal, or an author has already begun negotiations with a publisher regarding a book. After the embargo expires, the dissertation will be made widely available. The embargo is offered as an option when you upload your dissertation for deposit.

Under compelling circumstances, GSAS will allow an embargo to be extended beyond the period originally requested. Alumni who wish to extend their embargo should send an email to gsas-dissertations [at] columbia.edu one month before the scheduled end of the embargo, briefly outlining the circumstances and explaining the reasons for the extension. The request will be reviewed in the Office of the Dean, and if approved, the embargo will be extended for either one, two, or five years from the date of your deposit.

What do I need to do in order to deposit my dissertation?
After passing the defense, you will access the Deposit Gateway on the GSAS web site. From there you will be able to complete the required Survey of Earned Doctorates, pay your deposit fee, and access the upload system for the dissertation itself.

We require an Approval Card for your file, signed by your sponsor and your department chair or program director, which lets us know that you have made all required revisions to your dissertation. As is already the case for students who have left New York, these cards can be sent to us directly by your department or program office.

Whom should I contact if the deposit fee has been charged to my credit card more than once?
If multiple charges have been posted to your account, please write to dissertations [at] columbia.edu. In the email, please provide your first and last name, the date and time you paid the deposit fee, and the last four digits of your credit card number.

Note: An authorization for a charge is different from a charge that has been posted to your account and settled. In order to verify that your credit card has in fact been charged more than once, please wait until the charge has been posted to your account and settled before contacting the Dissertation Office.

What should I do if I have technical difficulties when paying the deposit fee?
First check that you have correctly entered the following information on the payment page:

  • Billing address (discrepancies can cause a card to be declined)
  • Credit card number
  • Credit card expiration date
  • Credit card verification code

If the above items do not resolve the issue:

  • Try logging in to the application using a different browser.
  • Try using a different credit card.

How quickly will dissertations be made available after the deposit?
Dissertations are available online within four to six weeks of the dissertation's approval by GSAS.

Any other questions?
For additional questions, contact dissertations [at] columbia.edu.