Procedure for the authorization, defence and publication of doctoral theses affected by protection or knowledge and/or technology transfer processes

Once they have finished writing it, and prior to depositing it, a doctoral student may inform the University that their doctoral thesis includes work in which companies have participated, is subject to a confidentiality agreement or contains information that possible patents may cover. If they do so, and declare that they are the author of the thesis, which is entirely their own work, they may request that a special procedure be applied to ensure that certain parts of the thesis are kept confidential when it is assessed and added to a digital archive. The procedure to be followed in such cases is as described below.


1. Application

Prior to the deposit of the thesis, the student must apply to their doctoral programme's Academic Committee, via any of the UPF Registry's offices, for permission to submit their thesis with a protection process and/or confidentiality agreement associated to it. Their application must be accompanied by:

  • One full and one encrypted copy of the thesis (the latter being the version that will be published in the TDX repository). The encrypted copy, which should indicate where information has been removed or encoded, must make it possible to obtain a general idea of the research carried out. Encryption should therefore be limited to elements whose confidentiality is essential to ensure protection or the transfer of results. If the Academic Committee has not issued specific instructions regarding encryption, the student can obtain technical assistance therewith from "La Factoria" (UPF Library/CRAI).
  • All documents (originals or certified copies) that prove the thesis is affected by protection or knowledge and/or technology transfer processes.
  • A report endorsing the application from their thesis supervisor.


2. Authorization from the Academic Committee

The Academic Committee will consider the application and make a decision on it. The student will be notified of the decision reached within 10 working days. The application will only be accepted if confidentiality can be shown to be vital to the success of the protection or transfer process involved.

The Academic Committee may ask the student to modify the content or format of the encrypted version of their thesis. The Committee may also request any complementary documentation they deem necessary for the purpose of appraising the application.

In addition to the student, their thesis supervisor and their tutor (if they have one) will be informed of the decision reached.

Academic Committee members are duty-bound to keep the content of the thesis absolutely confidential and must sign a confidentiality agreement to that effect.


3. Authorization to deposit the thesis (entailing public availability in the library)

Once the possibility of depositing a thesis with protection processes and/or confidentiality agreements associated to it has been approved, the student must seek the Academic Committee's authorization to actually deposit it.

To obtain such authorization, the encrypted version of the thesis, as previously approved by the Academic Committee, must be resubmitted to the Committee. It is this version of the thesis that will actually be deposited.


4. Thesis defence

The members of the thesis assessment board must be provided with the full version of the thesis. They must be expressly informed that the thesis is affected by protection processes and that they are required to keep its content confidential. Each member of the board must sign a confidentiality agreement before the thesis is sent to them.


5. Publication in the TDX repository

Only the encrypted version of the thesis will be published in the TDX repository. If they wish, the doctor may replace it with the full version once the relevant protection or transfer process is complete.



Procedure approved by the Doctoral School's Directing Committee on 19 May 2014, in accordance with article 14.6 of Royal Decree 99/2011, of 28 January, which governs official doctoral programmes and empowers universities to establish the procedures necessary to ensure that certain parts of doctoral theses are kept confidential in exceptional circumstances that require such confidentiality.