helenlt on May 19th, 2011
You may be aware that you are required to deposit a digital copy of your thesis into the University digital repository. But what should you do once it deposited? You can choose to make the full text available on Open Access or you can just display the citation, abstract and metadata. Open Access means that anyone can view, download or print a copy of your thesis.
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
The simplest and easier option, especially if you are unsure, is to chose the citation, abstract and metadata. Details of your thesis will appear in the repository and in search results, for example on Google; but if someone wants to read your thesis, they will need to track a copy down, which may be difficult and time-consuming.
Open Access makes it easy to read your thesis with a single click, without the cost and difficulties involved in locating a print copy. As a result, your thesis is more likely to be cited in other people’s research. Citations play an important role in promoting your research to a wider audience. However if you do choose Open Access, there are some things you should consider first.
Third Party Copyright Material
If your thesis includes copyright material created by other people, you will need to get permission from the copyright owners if you make full text of your thesis available. See Requesting Permission for details. As alternative, you may be able to remove any third party copyright material. You will still need to submit a full copy of your thesis for archival purposes, but the Repositories Team can work with you to remove third party copyright material. We’ll be doing another post on seeking Permissions soon – so stay tuned!
You may wish to publish your thesis. Some publishers will not publish material that has been on open access, so it’s a good idea to consider whether or not you want to publish before you make your thesis available on Open Access. As part of our month on Copyright and Your Thesis, we will be blogging about the different publishing models available later.
Restrictions on Open Access
Your thesis may contain material that cannot or should not be made available on Open Access. This includes commercial in confidence material, material that is defamatory or violates privacy, confidential material, research where there is a patent pending. If this is the case, you should only make the citation, abstract and metadata available.
The Benefits of Open Access
There are lots of benefits to Open Access such as enabling your research to be widely disseminated to research colleagues, especially researchers for whom obtaining a print copy of your thesis would be extremely costly. Making your thesis freely and easily accessible also means that it can be cited more easily.
Detailed information about copyright and the mandatory submission process is available here. We’ll also be blogging about other topics related to copyright and your thesis for the whole of May.