Universiteit Leiden

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New license undergraduate and graduate theses

16 May 2023

More clarity and better protection of student rights

Since 2012, students from participating programs have been able to make their theses openly accessible through the Leiden thesis repository. To make that possible, it is necessary to sign a license that allows the university to distribute the file. The license must always be signed when uploading, but it takes effect only when a file (pdf) is actually downloadable with the thesis.

Because the UBL values the clearest possible rights for both student and user, it was decided to draft a new license that will apply to theses submitted as of May 1, 2023. Theses uploaded before May 1 will remain available under the old thesis license, as approved by the author at the time.


In terms of content and purpose, the license has remained largely the same. The main changes are:

  • A clarification that theses will in principle be made globally available upon publication in the repository;
  • A clearer wording that theses may in principle only be downloaded by users of the repository for personal use and study purposes. Any other use of the thesis - including the previously mentioned adaptation as translation - is only allowed with the written permission of the author of the thesis;
  • A clarification that sensitive information - such as personal information - may be removed by the university when there are legal and/or compelling reasons for doing so.

Removing sensitive information

The thesis itself is always the version on which the student has graduated, so substantive changes are not possible. What does happen frequently is that an author requests personal information, such as addresses, phone numbers, email, and student number to be removed. Since the program already indicates upon uploading that this information does not belong in the thesis, there is no problem removing this information. Therefore, one of the clauses that has been brought out more clearly is the university's right to remove personal information.

As an author, you can contact your program’s administration for adjustments to personal information or embargoes. If the program no longer exists or you cannot find where to go, please contact the UBL

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