Some scientific papers, and especially a thesis, require a so-called blocking note. The following article explains what you mean by this, what it is for and what you should be aware of when writing a notepad.
What exactly is a blocking note for the thesis?
The blocking note is part of a bachelor’s or master’s thesis if a student authorizes it as part of an internship with a company or otherwise gains access to their sensitive data. The note, also known as a confidentiality statement and a confidentiality obligation, ensures that these data are not accessible to the public.
Thus, the part of the scientific work is “beneficial” only to the company involved; the usability of the thesis, however, is severely limited. This is because the author undertakes not to publish the work for a certain period of time.
Note: A lockout helps a company protect its confidential information (e.g., patents, policies). Since the student is committed to secrecy, it should be carefully considered whether the topic for the thesis is eligible or not.
The blocking note in the profile
A blocking notice is legally binding and determines when a work may be published.
There are no formatting and wording rules, but the wording needs to clearly define what is to be kept confidential for how long.
The wording of the statement should be discussed with the company and the university.
The period during which publication is not possible is called the lock-up period.
The deadline is usually between two and five years. The company determines the exact period.
Since there is always the company with which there is cooperation, which has a need for a blocking note, only a few universities provide guidelines for the confidentiality declaration (for a template or a sample s.u.).
During the retention period, the work may only be made available to those persons to whom the company has expressly permitted access. The persons (usually supervisors or examiners, editorial staff, etc.) must sign a confidentiality statement.
Once the blocking period has expired, the information may be published.
Note: Every person who is to examine the scientific “housework” is obliged to comply with the blocking notice. This obligation must be confirmed in writing.
The special secrecy obligation at a glance
The blocking note …
prevents a thesis from being published for a certain period of time.
is required if internal data is used within the bachelor or master thesis.
serves to protect the intellectual property of a company.
Important: If the thesis is written in English, the confidentiality declaration must also be written in English.
How long does the protection of the data apply?
The duration of the blocking period, as already indicated, depends on the company or topic. It can be several years, but only a few months. At some universities, there is a minimum and maximum duration as regards the blocking notice. Similarly, there are universities (for example Technische Universität Berlin) where such a note is prohibited – at least in some degree programs. The reason for this, according to official statements, is that the disadvantages for the students are not to blame.
Note: Disadvantages for the author of the work are connected with the secrecy obligation. These are temporary. In other words, if a thesis is written “at a company”, it may well be that the company offers a job to the author after graduation.
Where does the explanation come from?
The confidentiality statement is, so to speak, the first part of the thesis, i. It follows immediately on the cover sheet and is thus still in front of the table of contents. The note receives – just like the acknowledgment and the like. – but by no means a page number! Also in the outline the explanation is not mentioned.
Furthermore, there is the possibility of placing the secrecy obligation directly on the cover sheet.
An example of how to formulate a blocking note itself
The present master thesis with the title contains confidential information of the company. Thus, it may only be viewed by the first appraiser. Third parties are prohibited from viewing during the blocking period or are only permitted with the express approval of the company and the author. A publication and a duplication of the master thesis are not legitimate within the lock-up period. And not in parts.
Place, date, signature
Once again as a reminder
Basically, it is advisable to clarify the individual situation of the final thesis, that is: the cooperation between student / student, university and company: Before inserting the blocking note into the work, one should consult with all participants to avoid nasty, momentous surprises.
The alternative to the “classic” blocking note
If you want to do your thesis within an internship or similar but do not give up publishing, you can compromise with the university and especially with the company involved. So you can censor the content of the master thesis by …
Statistics, numbers and other sensitive data are obscured by black bars.
changed the name of the company.
apply the inhibit note only to certain parts of the work (e.g., attachment).
Important: The details of the confidentiality statement should always be discussed in good time.
Protecting company data in the thesis – summary
This article provides a comprehensive overview of the subject of the final thesis. If you consider the information as a student, you can take advantage of the opportunities that arise when writing your thesis in cooperation with a company. It is not unusual for this form of cooperation to result in a job offer.