ETD is an acronym for Electronic Thesis and Dissertation.
All UC Berkeley graduate students submit their dissertation or thesis electronically. For complete filing instructions go to the Graduate Division website (Procedure for filing your dissertation).
As stated by the Grad Division:
"Filing your doctoral dissertation ... is one of the final steps leading to the award of your graduate degree. Your manuscript is a scholarly presentation of the results of the research you conducted. UC Berkeley upholds the tradition that you have an obligation to make your research available to other scholars."
Immediate Release: When you choose "immediate release," you select the open access (OA) option. Open access dissertations are free, online and available to anyone. As with any scholarly work, open access research must be properly acknowledged and cited. OA allows for greater dissemination of your work and has the advantage of allowing you to immediately establish yourself as a scholar in your discipline. This can protect against plagiarism by ensuring that others will discover your research prior to its publication as a book. Rosemary Joyce, Associate Dean of the Graduate Division, argues in the letter below that "Knowledge of the work of younger scholars may be increased by promoting discovery beyond limited professional networks. Citing the dissertation by others can be offered as evidence of research significance."
Embargo: In some cases an embargo during which others cannot access your dissertation may be appropriate. This option is for scholars seeking patents or who need to protect sensitive data or information. Please discuss with your dissertation chair before deciding whether or not to place an embargo period on your dissertation.
All embargoes have a limited time date (up to two years from the filing date) so if you embargoed your dissertation but discover that it is now openly available on the online catalog or eScholarship, your dissertation may have been released. If you have other questions about a dissertation embargo, contact the Graduate Division. Grad Division will notify the Library, if appropriate, about removing public access to embargoed dissertations.
Ultimately, the decision to embargo a dissertation is a personal one that scholars must make for themselves in consultation with their advisors.
A 2013 study on ETDs indicates that more than 90% of university presses will consider an open access ETD for publication. (Numbers vary significantly by discipline: dissertations in the fields of romance literature, psychology and mathematical methods in the social sciences, according to the survey, would not be considered for publication if they had been previously released as an openly available ETD.)
The American Historical Association (AHA), in a July 2013 statement on PhD dissertations, argues that "university presses are reluctant to offer a publishing contract to newly minted PhDs whose dissertations have been freely available via online sources."
The 2013 study on ETDs also explored the issue of whether openly accessible ETDs should be considered prior publication which would mean that journal editors and academic presses are less likely to consider it for publication. The consensus was that any dissertation is "unpublished" and that creating and posting a PDF of a dissertation does not change that status.
The 2013 study includes comments from University Press directors. Those from larger academic presses seem to be particularly open to considering ETDs for publication because, as stated in a Harvard Unviersity Press blog post,
"Generally speaking, when we at the HUP take on a young scholar's first book, whether in history or other disciplines, we expect that the final product will be so broadened, deepened, reconsidered, and restructured that the availability of the dissertation is irrelevant."
No, there is no fee to make your dissertation openly available through the Grad Division procedures. Offers to make your dissertation available for an extra fee can be declined unless you decide you want that service.
Please see our helpful guide on Copyright & Publishing Your Dissertation for clear and complete explanations of copyright issues surrounding your Dissertation.
In short, under US copyright law, copyright belongs to you, the author, without further registration.
Those who choose to formally register are eligible for statutory damages and attorney's fees in successful litigation (See US Copyright Office, Copyright in General). If you chose to register your work for copyright, you have two choices:
Complete instructions and information about the dissertation filing process are available on the Graduate Division website Dissertation Writing and Filing.
Please do consult our guide on Copyright and Publishing Your Dissertation, which also provides a lot more detail on these and related issues. If you are a UC Berkeley student or staff member, you can also contact our Scholarly Communication Officer, Rachael Samberg, with questions about copyright or publishing your dissertation at firstname.lastname@example.org.