Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Ohio State University requires dissertations to be deposited in an open-access ETD archive. Quoting William Clark, associate dean of the grad school: "Our requirement is that a dissertation shall be a contribution to knowledge, so there is an implication that it shall be available to the community at large." However, grad students are resisting the requirement on the ground that book publishers are less willing to accept online dissertations. Both concerns are legitimate, even if not equal in weight. (Revenue from scholarly monographs is so rare that the larger audience and impact from open access outweigh it. The greater prestige of book publication must be traded off against higher access barriers. Many book publishers will accept online dissertations.) However, the waters are muddied by a bogus copyright issue (the university can require open access as a graduation requirement even without demanding the copyright) and plagiarism issue (a risk with any kind of publication, probably lower with open-access sources). For more details, see Scott Carlson's story in today's Chronicle of Higher Education, not accessible to non-subscribers.