Open Access Electronic Theses and Dissertations at IU

My name is Shayna Pekala and I am thrilled to have joined the Scholarly Communication Department this fall as the IUScholarWorks Assistant. I would like to use this post to highlight one of the IUScholarWorks services I have worked with extensively over the last month: open access publishing of electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs).

What is this service and why is it important?

The IUScholarWorks ETD service allows you to make the full text of your ETD available online for free. The main benefits of using this service can be summed up in two words: preservation and accessibility. If you publish your ETD with IUScholarWorks, we will preserve your work in perpetuity, even as technology changes. In addition, by making your ETD open access in our repository, your work will be exposed to major search engines, rendering it more discoverable. (Fun fact: there have been several studies conducted like this one that show open access articles are cited more frequently than non-open access articles.)

How does the service work?

All graduate students must submit their ETDs through ProQuest via the Graduate School website. These submissions are automatically ingested into a dark archive (one that can’t be accessed by any users) within the IUScholarWorks repository. IU requires that permission from the copyright holder be obtained before these ETDs can be made openly accessible. So, graduate students must give us permission to release their ETD by filling out this form. Once permission has been received, an IUScholarWorks staff member goes into the system, releases the ETD, and poof! the ETD becomes open access.

If I make my ETD open access, will I still be able to publish it later on as a monograph or in a journal?

There is a widely held assumption that the majority of publishers consider openly accessible ETDs to be prior publications, thus precluding them from future publication. However, a study published in July 2013, “Do Open Access Electronic Theses and Dissertations Diminish Publishing Opportunities in the Social Sciences and Humanities?”, found evidence to challenge this belief. The study reports that only 2.9% of journal publishers and 7.3% of university presses will not consider manuscripts derived from openly accessible ETDs under any circumstances. While the study concludes that submissions derived from ETDs are not considered prior publications by publishers, it is still advisable to check specific publisher policies if this is something you are considering.

What if I have more questions?

To learn more about open access publishing of ETDs at IU, check out our ETD webpage or email us at iuswetd@indiana.edu. You might also consult some of these resources: