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Thesis takedown policy and workflow

EThOS has a robust takedown policy that is managed within the wider British Library notice and takedown procedure(external link). If you are the author or a rights holder and you are concerned that you have found material available on EThOS for which you have not given permission, you have the right to request its removal from EThOS.

Before asking us to remove access to your thesis, please refer to the section on author information to consider whether there are benefits to having it accessible via the EThOS service.

Takedown Process

If you wish to request its removal, please contact us stating the following:
  1. Your contact details.
  2. The full bibliographic details of the material.
  3. The website address where you found the material.
  4. A statement that, under penalty of perjury, you are the rights owner or are authorised to act for the rights owner.
The 'Notice and Takedown' procedure is then invoked as follows:

1. The British Library will acknowledge receipt of your complaint by email or letter and will make an initial assessment of the validity and plausibility of the complaint.
2. The material will be temporarily removed from the British Library website pending an agreed solution
3. The British Library will contact the contributor who deposited the material. The contributor will be notified that the material is subject to a complaint, under what allegations, and will be encouraged to assuage the complaints concerned.
4. The complainant and the contributor will be encouraged to resolve the issue swiftly and amicably and to the satisfaction of both parties, with the following possible outcomes:
  • The material is replaced on the British Library website unchanged.
  • The material is replaced on the British Library website with changes.
  • The material is permanently removed from the website.
5. If the contributor and the complainant are unable to agree a solution, the material will remain unavailable through the British Library until a time when a resolution has been reached.

Workflows for the takedown of EThOS content

When we are asked to remove a thesis under the takedown process, or for any other reason, the EThOS policy is to remove the full-text thesis but to retain the metadata record wherever possible. The record is amended to indicate to other users that the thesis is not accessible via the EThOS service. Keeping the record visible to users:
  • Confirms the existence of the work for other users
  • Contributes to the comprehensive national record of UK doctoral theses
  • Avoids other users submitting speculative requests for a known title
  • Offers an opportunity to link to an institution-held record. Some institutions offer an “Ask the author” service: although the item is not openly accessible for all users, a researcher with a very strong need to view the thesis can send a request direct to the author, detailing the reasons for wishing to access it.
If there are very strong reasons for removing the metadata record as well as the full-text thesis, then EThOS will of course comply with the author’s request.

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