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Honors Embargoes

Access to undergraduate honors theses by default are restricted to the W&M Community (William & Mary IP and W&M credentials) unless, after consultation with your advisor, you elect to make your work freely available online, as Open Access.  Open Access means the full text of your work will be findable by Google, Google Scholar, and other search engines through W&M’s Institutional Repository, ScholarWorks

When electing Open Access, there might be some instances where you should consider restricting access to the full text of your thesis for a period of time. Embargoes enable you to do this.  Embargoes are restrictions that allow only the title, abstract, and citation information about your thesis to be released to the public, while the full text of your work is kept hidden for a specified period of time. 
Common reasons for embargoes on a thesis include: 

  • There is content related to a research grant or project where the research has not reached the publication and dissemination stage.   
  • There is a patent pending on the work or there are related issues that might make disclosure detrimental to the rights of the author. 
  • There is an ethical need to prevent disclosure of sensitive or classified information about persons, institutions, and so forth. 
Choosing an Embargo Period

When you submit your thesis, you will be able to choose your embargo period.  

You may choose one of the following: 

  • Restricted to the William & Mary community (default) 
  • Open access, no restrictions 
  • 1-year embargo 
  • 2-year embargo 
  • Extended embargo term, 3+ years 
It is important to discuss these issues with your honors advisor and other members of your committee in order to have ample time to consider all implications and be prepared to make an embargo decision that is right for you when submitting your thesis.

Please note: Your Embargo form MUST MATCH the terms you specify in the institutional repository ScholarWorks (IR publishing options). 
How People Will Locate Your Work

Theses will be indexed by Google, Google Scholar, and other search engines through the Institutional Repository, ScholarWorks. If you have chosen to embargo your work, only the metadata (title, author, and abstract) can be accessed by search engines. 


Decisions about embargoing your thesis should be made by you in consultation with your advisor. You can also consult a W&M Research Librarian, with any questions or concerns.