In 2007 IUPUI University Library partnered with the IUPUI Graduate Office to begin providing open access to students’ theses and dissertations. In our promotional activities we focused on the benefits to students. Their scholarship is:
- freely accessible and easily found by potential employers and other scholars.
- archived and maintained by professionals under current technological best practices.
- assigned a persistent URI, ensuring bibliographic entries referencing work will never contain a dead link to that work
- tracked for number of views and downloads, providing insight on the impact of your scholarship.
The majority of departments made the decision to move to the online submission of theses and dissertations with various iterations of this process. All departments were excited about streamlining the submission process through online submission. A few departments moved to digital only submission, meaning no print version was created. A few departments determined that digital submission and open access made sense but they also wanted print versions archived with 1 copy housed in the department and 1 copy in the library’s archives. Most departments struck a balance, wanting to move to digital submission and open access but not quite ready to do away with print all together. These departments housed 1 print copy in their department collection in additional uploading to the library run open archive. What we’ve discovered is that many individual faculty within the departments forget or never knew that the digital, openly accessible versions exist, referring only to the print collections in their own departments when needing to consult past theses.
We recently received the following email, “One of our bound copies of a dissertation seems to have sprouted legs and walked away. Another student was hoping to review it in preparation for writing her thesis, and I was wondering if by any chance the library might have access to such things? Thanks for any advice/info you can offer.”
I happily responded, “Absolutely! Since 2007 most of IUPUI’s dissertations have been archived and made freely available through https://scholarworks.iupui.edu. Your missing dissertation is there.”
This brief but important exchange highlighted two points for me:
1) We need to promote our electronic thesis and dissertation (ETD) collection better and
2) Sharing stories like this is important. It demonstrates a real benefit of archiving dissertations.
Take a look at IUPUI student scholarship at: https://scholarworks.iupui.edu/handle/1805/199/browse