It is worth considering some formal aspects before you start to write your doctoral thesis.
The doctoral thesis title page (PDF, 10 KB) must comply with the requirements of Appendix 2 of the Rector’s Implementation Provisions for the Regulations for Doctoral Studies (RSETHZ 340.311).
The doctoral thesis must include an abstract in one official Swiss language and in English, plus a CV. For data security reasons, the CV may be omitted from the electronic version.
Make sure your quotes and references are correct when using paragraphs, images, charts, etc. from other works, whether word-for-word or giving the gist of them. See also “Citation etiquette” – the information sheet on plagiarism (PDF, 67 KB)
For copyright reasons, paragraphs, images, charts, etc. from other works may only be used if the quotation serves as an explanation, a reference or illustration, and the extent of the quotation is justified for that purpose (Art. 251 Copyright Law). In all other cases you must obtain authorisation from the owner of the right of reproduction.
The title and content of the doctoral thesis may not be altered once they have been approved by the Department Conference. (Rector’s Implementation Provisions, section 11).
The copyright to a doctoral thesis belongs solely to the author/doctoral student (Art. 34 Regulations for Doctoral Studies ETH Zurich).
Once the electronic version of the doctoral thesis has been delivered, ETH Zurich has the right to make it available to the public and process it for archiving purposes, except in the case of a written declaration by the candidate stating otherwise (a waiver) or conflicting rights of third parties (Art. 34 para. 5 Regulations for Doctoral Studies ETH Zurich).
The author/doctoral student may transfer the right of use to his/her work to third parties in full or in part (e.g. to a publisher).
We advise against transferring your rights of use entirely. Instead, you are recommended to retain some limited contractually recorded rights yourself (e.g. the right to make and distribute copies, distribute the work electronically, etc.).
Cumulative doctoral thesis
A cumulative doctoral thesis incorporates articles which have already been published or submitted for publication (see Section 10 lit. b of the Rector’s Implementation Provisions for the Regulations for Doctoral Studies).
Before the doctoral thesis is printed, the author/doctoral student must clarify with the relevant publisher the options for reuse that have been granted and the terms. These form part of the publication contract and may also be found in the so-called Sherpa-Romeo list.
You are also recommended to check in advance if there are any other rights or contractual agreements involved (e.g. with the SNSF or other funding organisations).
In most cases, the pre-print version (original manuscript prior to review) may be used without any problems.
Articles may only be added to the doctoral thesis in the post-print version (reviewed original manuscript) if the copyright allows it.
Most publishers will not allow further use of the final version or the published article unless you pay compensation for the rights in question, as in the case of a special edition.
The publisher may require certain declarations to be made.
In the case of more than one author, all the co-authors must also agree to the further distribution.
When it comes to archiving doctoral theses, making them available to lend, and reusing either the printed or the electronic version, the ETH-Bibliothek requires the above points to be considered and clarified in advance (Publishing in the Research Collection).
If a doctoral thesis does not meet these requirements, there may be consequences for the author.
If electronic publication is not possible for copyright reasons, then the electronic version must still be submitted with a waiver excluding it from publication in the Research Collection.
You must hand in your deposit copies no later than six months after the doctoral graduation date (doctoral graduation date + 6 months). At the earliest, you may hand them in upon receipt of your provisional confirmation. This is sent out the day after the doctoral graduation date. You can check the offial dates for doctoral graduations in the academic calendar.
However, before you hand in your deposit copies to the Doctoral Administration Office, it is compulsory to upload an electronic version of your thesis to the Research Collection. Unlike with the printed version, in the interest of data security you may omit your CV from the electronic version.
If your thesis cannot be published in the Research Collection for copyright reasons (e. g. publisher publications), because of patent registrations or ongoing applications at research funding institutions upon request the thesis will not be made accessible online. However for alimited period of time. The abstract will be published in any case.
A request for a time-limited publication embargo of the full text of a thesis can be filed directly within the publication process of the Research Collection. The possible embargo periods are 12, 24 or 36 months.
Please note: Even in this case you are still obliged to upload your thesis for archiving in the Research Collection! To the effect of ETH Zurich's Open-Access Policy after this retention period all dissertations will be published in the E-Colletion.