Publishing Your Dissertation Open Access

IUScholarWorks is our repository, intended for anyone affiliated with IU to share their research openly so that it’s available for anyone in the world to read. It’s important to remember that this includes graduate students! Graduate students can share papers, data, posters, and even their dissertation in IUScholarWorks.

Sharing a dissertation in IUScholarWorks (sometimes called IUSW) has many benefits for authors, including:

  • increased discoverability of the dissertation, as it will become indexed in Google Scholar
  • long-term preservation, ensuring scholars can access it in several decades and beyond
  • the agency to decide how the dissertation should be licensed. Authors can choose one of several Creative Commons licenses based on how they would like others to use their work (this is optional)
  • the ability to embargo (or limit access) to the dissertation for up to five years
  • a free mechanism for sharing–there is never an additional cost for authors

Sharing Your Dissertation

When a dissertation or thesis has reached its final stage, all graduate students must submit an electronic version of their thesis or dissertation to ProQuest via the Graduate School Website instructions.

ProQuest provides multiple services and options for publishing a dissertation. Traditional publication with ProQuest means that the dissertation will be included in the ProQuest Dissertation and Theses database. This option is free for the author but in order to access the thesis or dissertation, readers will either need to be affiliated with a library or pay a fee. The 25 most-accessed ProQuest theses and dissertations for last month cost around $38 each to download for those not affiliated with a library or organization with access. However, this model does provide authors with other other add-on services, including the ability to print a physical copy and the option of copyright registration for a $55 fee. 

ProQuest offers an additional option: authors can publish their dissertation or thesis open access in their database PQDT Open for an additional fee, shifting the cost from the reader to the author. Making a dissertation open gives anyone, regardless of affiliation or socioeconomic status the ability to access it. There are a few important considerations for authors interested in this option.  ProQuest charges authors a $95 fee for this option, which might be a challenge for some authors. Additionally, while PQDT Open dissertations are free for all to read, it’s unclear if authors can select a Creative Commons License for their work, which enables authors to explicitly tell others how they can use the dissertation or thesis.

The University of Chicago has a useful summary of the difference between traditional ProQuest dissertation publication, PQDT Open publishing, and publishing in a repository (like IUScholarWorks).

Will making my work open access mean I can’t rework it into an article or book?

Some students worry that publishers will not publish a book or article that is based on a dissertation. First and foremost, you should consult with publishers (or published authors/ mentors) in your field if you have ideas about developing your work further and are concerned about this.

It’s important to remember that when a dissertation goes through the publication process, a lot of the information changes in some shape or form. In other words, it’s unlikely that a dissertation can be republished without major edits.  Dee Mortensen, Senior Sponsoring Editor at the IU Press, compares the relationship between a dissertation and a book to that of a chrysalis and a butterfly.

Because of the substantial alteration involved in the transformation of book to dissertation, it is often not an issue to make the original dissertation available. The study “Do Open Access Electronic Theses and Dissertations Diminish Publishing Opportunities in the Social Sciences and Humanities?” supports this claim, finding that most publishers (93% of university presses) do not consider a dissertation a prior publication that would disqualify the revised version from publication.

If you’re still concerned, remember that you can embargo your dissertation for up to five years in IUScholarWorks. An embargo would mean that readers can find information (sometimes called metadata) about your dissertation on the web but they would not be able to read the full-text of the work until a specified date.

IUSW staff are happy to discuss this option with you in more detail if you’re interested. Staff can also consult with authors about Creative Commons licensing and selecting the best license based on your goals for your work.

You can submit your thesis or dissertation  to IUSW here. A staff member will deposit it and respond to you with the link–it’s that simple!

You can also view all of this information in detail in a handy slide deck by our very own Sarah Hare (PDF link). If you are an advisor or faculty member and would like us to come to your class or event to talk to your students about dissertations, please e-mail us at iusw@indiana.edu. 

Two New Graduate Students Join the Scholarly Communication Department

The Scholarly Communication Department is happy to introduce our two newest team members, Daphne Scott and Margaret McLaughlin. Daphne and Margaret are both master’s students in the Information and Library Science (ILS) Program in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering.

Daphne Scott photo

Daphne Scott recently graduated from Ball State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, and is now pursuing a Masters in Library Science with a concentration in data science. As the current graduate assistant for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, she is working to create a digital archive dedicated to the history of the SoTL program at IUB.  Her current research interest focuses on the recreational reading habits of traditional undergraduate students.

MargaretMcLaughlin photo

Margaret received her Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Classics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2016. After two years in Northwestern University’s Art History PhD program, Margaret decided to instead pursue a Masters in Library Science in order to focus on her interests in digital humanities, information literacy, and open pedagogy. She has instruction experience at the Art Institute of Chicago, Northwestern University, and Indiana University Bloomington, where she is currently an Associate Instructor for the department of Comparative Literature. Margaret also works as a Research Assistant in the Learning Commons and is pursuing her dual masters in Comparative Literature.

We are excited to see Daphne and Margaret bring their unique perspectives and expertise to our department. Please join us in welcoming them to our team!