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Licensing Your Thesis For Reuse: Licenses

Selecting a License During Deposit

What is a license?

A license is a statement or document that grants permission to do something. When the creator of a work assigns a license to that work, they are indicating what uses of the work they are allowing. These uses can include actions such as making copies of the work and distributing them or creating derivative works.

As the author of your thesis, you are the person who must decide what uses of your work you want to permit. (We do encourage you to consult your advisor on this important matter.) If you know all your options and their implications, you will feel the sense of security that comes with making an informed decision.

Licenses You Can Choose

When you submit your thesis to Scholar@UPRM, the system gives you the licensing options shown below. 

NOTE: We suggest not using the "Public Domain or "CC0" options for your thesis.

Public domain

When we talk about works that are in the public domain, we are referring to material over which no person has copyright. These works can be used by any person without restrictions.

If you want to learn more about the public domain and how the concept applies to creative works, click on the following link: Welcome to the Public Domain (Stanford University Libraries) 


If you wish to waive your copyright over your thesis, you can choose this option. You will be granting the public the right to copy, distribute, display, and perform your work, as well as create derivative works, with no restrictions (“No Rights Reserved”). When you choose this option, copyright over the work ceases to exist, and the work goes into the public domain. 

To learn more about CC0, you can visit the CC0 FAQ section of the Creative Commons Wiki.

Creative Commons

This option allows you to assign one of the six Creative Commons licenses to your thesis. To learn more about each one of the six licenses, go to the Creative Commons (CC) tab of this guide. It is important to highlight that all six licenses explicitly include attribution as a condition of use. Therefore, any person who uses your thesis for any purpose must recognize you as the author.

The specific license assigned to your thesis is selected based on your answers to the following two questions:

  • Allow commercial uses of your work?  

    • Yes - Choose this option if you want to allow others to use your thesis for commercial purposes. 

    • No - If you choose this option, people will have to contact you and obtain your permission if they wish to use your thesis for commercial purposes. Without your permission, they cannot proceed.

  • Allow modifications of your work?

    • Yes - If you choose this option, you allow people to create works which are based on or derived from your thesis. An example would be a translation of your thesis.

    • ShareAlike - This option is only applicable if you allow derivative works. If you choose the "ShareAlike" option, you are requiring that anyone who creates a derivative work must share it under the same terms that you are sharing your thesis. In other words, the derivative work must carry an identical license.

    • No - If you select this option, you are saying that you do not grant permission for the creation of derivative works.

Keep in mind that under all six Creative Commons licenses, people are allowed to make copies of your thesis and distribute them as long as they recognize your authorship and comply with all other conditions you have established. This would allow an instructor to, for example, print a chapter of your thesis and distribute it to their students as a reading assignment.

No Creative Commons

Choose this option if you wish to retain full copyright over your work (“All Rights Reserved”). This option places the most restrictions on use of your work by others, given that people would have to contact you and obtain your permission before doing so. Legal use of your work by others without obtaining permission would be limited to what is allowed under Fair Use.