About ROS

What is ROS

ROS (The Research Output Service) contains full-text copies of all Heriot-Watt University PhD theses awarded from 2009 onwards.

It is mandatory for any student who completes a doctoral thesis to submit a digital copy for inclusion in ROS. In addition, the metadata-only records of older theses (previously held in the University Library catalogue) are included in ROS, with full text digital copies being sought on a voluntary basis. If you have a digital copy of your thesis and you wish to store it in ROS, please contact us.


ROS contributors can rest assured that, although their work can be publicly accessed, it is protected by a strict Copyright licence which prevents its misuse. Copyright information is prominently displayed throughout ROS.

The Creative Commons licence used by ROS states that you (the visitor to ROS) "are free to to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work under the following conditions:

  • Attribution. You must give the original author credit.
  • Non-Commercial. You may not use this work for commercial purposes.
  • No Derivative Works. You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work.

In addition:

  • For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the licence terms of this work.
  • Any of these conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder.
  • Nothing in this license impairs or restricts the author's moral rights.

The full licence (i.e. the legal code) is available here.

Depositing your doctoral thesis

Where possible we have attempted to make use of pre-existing submissions processes. As previously, students will submit bound copies of their final thesis to Academic Registry, in addition to a CD ROM containing an electronic version of the final thesis in a PDF format. The digital version will be provided to the University Library for uploading into ROS. Where a student submits a request for limited access to their thesis, the full text of the eThesis will not be accessible, only the bibliographic record.

For further details, please refer to the 'Guidelines on the Submission and Format of Thesis' on the Academic Registry website.

How is ROS organised?

The Institutional Repository part of ROS is organised in a hierarchical framework where communities represent the top level of an archive collection. Communities correspond to Schools and Institutes, with an additional community for Research Pools and another for University Support Services. Research Pools is further divided into individual pools, and University Support Services into the different services. Under the communities are one or more collections - Doctoral Theses and Staff Publications - which contain the actual items.

ROS is highly flexible in the way that items and authors can be displayed. For example, a single piece of work and its authors can be listed under a research pool and also the schools/institutes to which the authors are affiliated.

Searching ROS

ROS provides flexible search capabilities. You can:

  • Browse (by title, author, or date).
  • Perform general keyword searches.
  • Perform more sophisticated searches on particular fields, using Boolean operators.

All of the above can be performed across the whole repository, within a particular community, or even within a specific collection (see 'How is ROS organised?').

Contact us

For more information on ROS: