Thesis publication and confidentiality
Faculty wide policy BMS
According to the BMS Teaching and Examination Regulations (TER) as of the academic year 2015-2016, all student theses (BSc and MSc) will be published in the University of Twente online repository. The general principle is that all student related researches, funded by the public, should be open to the public as well.
Things to take into consideration as a consequence of this policy
There are mainly two areas of concern, related to the current BMS faculty policy, which students and supervisors should take into consideration:
- Collaboration with organizations that ask for confidentiality
- Future publication in scientific journals
#1: Regarding organizations that demand confidentiality the general policy still applies that the student thesis will be published in the online repository. It is advised that confidentiality is then obtained by masking the company name by using pseudo names or referring to an organization in a certain industry instead of mentioning the company name. Also it is then advised to dismiss all or as much as possible contextual information about the organization involved. If, after applying the former mentioned suggestions, still a risk remains for the organization based on which confidentiality still is required, the BMS Examination board can be consulted to issue an exemption. If an exemption is granted the student still has to provide a management summary of the thesis (min. 3.000 words) to be published in the online repository.
#2: In general one could argued that the University of Twente (UT) online theses repository does not involve peer reviewed articles and that therefore publication in the UT repository should not interfere with (future) publication of a student thesis in a peer reviewed journal. It is however not impossible that this may lead to problematic situations in the future. To prevent this it may be useful to carefully think about the title of the master thesis in relation to a title regarding a possible future journal publication in order to not use identical titles. Ultimately it is also possible to file a request at the Examination board to ask for a delayed publication of the student thesis (i.e. for one year) in the UT online repository.
Exemptions to be issued by the BMS Examination board
As mentioned the general policy is that all BSc and MSc theses will be published in the UT repository. Any exemptions regarding the publication of student theses in the UT repository need to be issued by the BMS examination board. More information about the BMS Examination board and the confidentiality of student theses is available on:
!! – IMPORTANT - !! - Internship or graduation contracts
When you are collaborating with an external organization regarding your master thesis, then basically two contracts or agreements are important:
- The learning agreement between the student and the University of Twente / thesis supervisor(s). This basically is the master thesis research proposal, based on which you will be assigned to a supervisor in order to actually start the thesis project.
- The graduation / internship agreement between the student and the organization about aspect such as: the scope of work, possible fees, arrangements about working days, holidays, insurance policies etc.. This primarily concerns a contract or agreement between the organization and the student. Be conscious that articles in these contract / agreements may involve confidentiality issues as well. Be sure that they do not conflict with the BMS faculty policy regarding the publication of your thesis in the online repository.
University of Twente co-signing of internship / graduation contracts with organizations
Some organizations may require that an UT representative / supervisor also signs a contract or agreement regarding a student collaboration as a statement of mutual commitment. Please note that, according to the authorization regulations of the University of Twente, the Dean of the faculty is formally mandated to sign any contracts with external organizations on behalf of the BMS faculty.
Therefore be informed that when on organization demands that the University of Twente co-signs an internship contract or graduation agreement, this must be done by the faculty Dean. In such cases you can consult the master thesis coordinator (Mark Tempelman) or contact the dean’s office directly: firstname.lastname@example.org