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ETD Best Practices

  1. Review the University Formatting Guidelines, ETD style guides and your school’s specific guidelines to make sure the formatting of your manuscript is correct. 

    • Refer to the University Formatting Guidelines to format the front pages.
    • Double space the text in the body of your manuscript.
    • Font type and size: Times New Roman 12 pt.
    • Right and left margins: 1.25 inches; top and bottom margins: 1 inch. 
      • School of Law only -- left margin: 1.50 inches; right margin: 1 inch; top and bottom margins: 1 inch.
    • Remove all blank pages in your document.
    • Use tabs instead of the space bar to indent paragraphs or material in tables, in order to prevent errors in PDF creation.

  2. Format your Bibliography using the approved citation style for your discipline. The GW Libraries provide free access to RefWorks, a cloud-based tool for organizing your research and creating bibliographies.

  3. Get permission to use others’ works. If your dissertation includes extended quotations, published scales or tests, or other material owned by others, be sure to seek permission from the author(s) or publisher. You may adapt the text of the sample letter below. Find additional information about your rights and responsibilities in ProQuest’s copyright guide.

  4. Get permission to use your own previously published works. If you intend to use your own previous or future publications, including co-authored works), the publisher must grant you permission, and it may impact your ETD publishing options. Because obtaining copyright permissions takes time, start this process long before you are ready to submit your manuscript to the ProQuest ETD Administrator. For guidance on copyright, direct your questions to the Libraries’ Compliance Officer, Barrett Matthews.

  5. Write your thesis or dissertation in a word processing or typesetting software you are comfortable using.

  6. Check your PDF page by page to make sure the conversion worked correctly with no missing pages, etc. Refer to ProQuest's tips on preparing manuscripts, including how to embed fonts in your document.

  7. Recheck your manuscript! Review important pieces for completion and accuracy, including the title page and abstract, correct faculty name spellings and titles, and the information you entered on the ETD submission forms.
    • Once your manuscript has been sent to ProQuest, you will not be able to make changes.
    • To avoid confusion about which draft is your final one, please submit only your final, fully approved thesis or dissertation to the GW Proquest website! If you create a “practice” account, withdraw it from the ETD website prior to your final submission.

  8. Complete forms at the submission site. When filling out the “Contact Information” page at the GW ProQuest ETD website, complete the item “Permanent Mailing Address” or you will not be able to continue to the next form. Use your GW email address to ensure you receive information about the status of your submission. You may also provide a secondary email address that can handle large PDFs, if you wish.

  9. Include your ORCID Identifier on the "Contact Information" page. If you don’t remember your ORCID ID or do not have one, you can link out directly to the ORCID website from the page in the Proquest ETD Administrator and LOOK UP your ID number or CREATE an ID. For more information, go to Research Impact: ORCID Researcher ID.

  10. Write a short abstract. You’ll be asked to paste your abstract into a box. Although abstracts are not restricted in length, only the first 350 words will be used in the printed material ProQuest produces. 

  11. Submit the body of your thesis/dissertation as a single PDF. There are no specific file size limitations, but if you experience problems uploading your submission, contact the Libraries’ ETD Administrator for assistance. 

  12. Include any supplementary files. You may submit supplementary files along with your thesis or dissertation, such as data, photographs, animations, and so on.

  13. Open Access vs. Traditional Publishing: GW strongly recommends choosing Open Access publishing (ProQuest fee: $95; and you would not be eligible for future royalties on sales of your dissertation) over the free Traditional Publishing option.
    • Traditional publishing means interested parties must buy the dissertation through ProQuest, unless their institution buys free access for their community like GW does. 
    • Few ETDs sell well enough to earn royalties, and books based on them are usually far different from the submitted manuscripts. Choosing Open Access extends the reach of your work and involves you in a movement within the scholarly community to make research readily available to other scholars in the interest of advancing knowledge. 
    • Note: a GW dissertation or thesis would be published as Open Access in the GW ScholarSpace institutional repository after any embargo period (see #13 below). You may want to make certain that making the dissertation available free to anyone who wants it would not cause you issues in publishing the dissertation with a commercial publisher. Visit our Publisher Issues webpage for more information.

  14. Embargoing your thesis or dissertation. With both the Open Access and Traditional Publishing options, you will be asked if you want your manuscript embargoed, meaning held back and made unavailable, for various periods of time.
    • You should only embargo your ETD if you have a specific need to do so: 
      • To pursue a patent application, which requires not publicly revealing a discovery until the patent application is safely filed
      • To pursue a book contract when your publisher does not want the work released to the public as a thesis or dissertation.
    • In most cases, a planned book will be so different from the ETD that its distribution through ProQuest won’t be a problem with the publisher. Professional journals usually don’t care if parts of an article based on your dissertation/thesis were previously made available as a ProQuest ETD.

  15. Filing for copyright. The ProQuest website will ask if you want to pay them to file the copyright for your thesis/dissertation with the government. You may also choose to file for copyright directly with the U.S. Copyright Office.
    • Filing for copyright may be wise if you think your thesis/dissertation has commercial value and envision that you may be in the position to sue someone for violating your copyright by using your work without permission. 
    • You already hold copyright of your dissertation by virtue of being the author. If you don’t file upon submission and later discover that someone has infringed your copyright, you can belatedly file the copyright with the U.S. Government and position yourself to sue. Refer also to our Copyright Issues webpage.