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  • Open Access Dissertations in University Repositories:
    The Shift to NoQuest or Proquest-optional Policies among American Institutions

    Originally Posted on the (now-closed) blog Free US ETDs (FUSE) as "ETDs freed here"


    Introduction

    An increasing proportion of American universities now require submission of doctoral dissertations to open access repositories, eschewing outdated policies that required microfilming and resale by the third party, commercial distributor UMI/ProQuest (Clement 2013). This significant movement away from mandatory paywalls for American graduate scholarship highlights that the obsolete practice of dissertation microfilming and reselling -- established in the pre-digital era of the the early-mid 1900's -- is no longer the "best" technology for effectively copying, preserving, and widely disseminating academic manuscripts. Moreover, housing electronic theses and dissertations in scholarly repositories affords more flexible and responsive curation of multimedia, executable, and dynamic research outputs not optimally containerized in a PDF file with static supplements. Distribution via open access networks exposes the graduate students' works to broad audiences without the barriers of commercial paywalls, corporate copyright warnings, and outdated, one-size-fits-all file management and metadata options designed for bound paper volumes.

    The ubiquity of academic scholarship on the Internet and the ready availability of rich online digital media provide superior methods to broadly disseminate and responsibly preserve dissertations. Management and discovery of dissertations via Open Access repositories, combined with unfettered global distribution via scholarly sharing networks offer much greater exposure, access to, and the potential for reuse of electronic theses and dissertations. Institution decision makers interested in reviewing the many benefits of open ETDs in Open Access repositories may find the associated reading list of interest.

    Updated List of Institutions Promoting Open Access Dissertations

    The following American universities prefer ETD access from open access repositories. Note they are all heavy-hitters in terms of research output and impact, with institutional status noted in terms of Carnegie Classification; top ranking in graduate program size (according to NSF's Science and Engineering Doctorates Report 2014) and membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities.

    This list continues to grow — please feel free to add a comment to let us know of any schools we’ve missed!


    Boise State University

    • Carnegie Class: Doctoral Universities: Moderate Research Activity| Grad Program=Research Doctoral: STEM-dominant
    • Summary: "The Graduate College no longer sends copies of the dissertation to ProQuest. If you would like to submit your dissertation to ProQuest, contact ProQuest directly" (p. 19)

    Brown University

    • AAU member
    • Carnegie Class: Doctoral Universities: Highest Research Activity | Grad Program=Research Doctoral: Comprehensive programs, with medical/veterinary school
    • Summary: "Brown ETDs will be available in the Brown Digital Repository (BDR). A permanent URL will be available for use in your resume. Dissertations of candidates who elect to enter into an individual publication agreement with ProQuest will also be available in the commercial ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Full Text database."

    California Institute of Technology - Caltech

    • AAU member
    • Carnegie Class: Doctoral Universities: Highest Research Activity | Grad Program =** Research Doctoral**: STEM-dominant
    • Summary: "Proquest/UMI and CaltechTHESIS are completely unrelated databases....OPTIONAL: Fill out and submit the online ProQuest/UMI Dissertation Publishing Agreement form ("UMI form")."

    Florida International University

    • Carnegie Class: Doctoral Universities: Highest Research Activity | Grad Program = Research Doctoral: Comprehensive programs, with medical/veterinary school
    • Summary: "On the Final ETD Approval form, Doctoral students can opt to let UGS submit their dissertation to ProQuest."

    Georgia Institute of Technology

    • AAU member
    • Carnegie Class: Doctoral Universities: Highest Research Activity | Grad Program = Research Doctoral: Comprehensive programs, no medical/veterinary school
    • NSF Ranking #19
    • Summary: "Georgia Tech stopped requiring submission to ProQuest in 2012."

    Johns Hopkins

    • AAU Member
    • Carnegie Class: Doctoral Universities: Highest Research Activity | Grad program = Research Doctoral: Comprehensive programs, with medical/veterinary school
    • NSF Ranking #32
    • Summary: The Ph.D. Board policy document states that “ProQuest participation will be optional for JHU students. For some students, ProQuest adds value, so those students should be free to participate. But for other students, ProQuest represents an obstacle that should be removed.”

    Louisiana State University

    • Carnegie Class: Doctoral Universities: Highest Research Activity | Doctoral Program = Research Doctoral: Comprehensive programs, with medical/veterinary school
    • Summary:Submission through ETD-DB system. Silent on ProQuest/UMI submission

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology : Abstract only goes to PQ

    • AAU Member
    • Carnegie Class: Doctoral Universities: Highest Research Activity | Research Doctoral: Comprehensive programs, no medical/veterinary school
    • NSF Ranking #16
    • Summary: "Doctoral abstracts are submitted to UMI/ProQuest for inclusion in ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, an online database. Doctoral candidates should keep their abstracts under 350 words, as longer abstracts will be edited by UMI/ProQuest."

    Miami University

    • Carnegie Class: Doctoral Universities: Higher Research Activity | Graduate Program = Research Doctoral: Comprehensive programs, no medical/veterinary school
    • Summary: "The Graduate School at Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) does not require ProQuest. It is completely optional, and we have now moved to asking the students to get in touch with ProQuest themselves if they wish to be included in their database or use any of their services. Our students are required to upload their work to OhioLINK. — Thesis Director Lou Haines, Posting to FUSE blog, May 13, 2013

    Oregon State University

    • Carnegie Class: Doctoral Universities: Highest Research Activity | Grad Program = Research Doctoral: Comprehensive programs, with medical/veterinary school
    • Silent on ProQuest/UMI submission

    Stanford University

    • AAU Member
    • Carnegie Class: Doctoral Universities: Highest Research Activity | Grad Program = Research Doctoral: Comprehensive programs, with medical/veterinary school
    • NSF Ranking #10
    • Silent on ProQuest/UMI submission

    University of Central Florida

    • Carnegie Class: Doctoral Universities: Highest Research Activity | Grad Program = Research Doctoral: Comprehensive programs, with medical/veterinary school
    • Summary: "Are UCF students still allowed to submit to ProQuest?: Definitely. The University is simply dropping the mandatory requirement but in no way is hindering or prohibiting the students’ rights to have their works available in UMI/ProQuest or any other fee based or free service. The student holds the copyright to their work and can choose additional methods for publishing and archiving their thesis or dissertation at their own discretion and expense."

    University of Georgia

    • Carnegie Class: Doctoral Universities: Highest Research Activity | Grad Program = Research Doctoral: Comprehensive programs, with medical/veterinary school
    • NSF Ranking #38
    • Summary: Doctoral students may elect to submit the abstract of their dissertation or the entire dissertation to Dissertation Abstracts for processing and distribution. Students should discuss this option with their major professor prior to making a decision to utilize this service. Students choosing this option may access the Proquest (UMI) website for more information or to obtain the appropriate agreement form. The Graduate School is no longer involved in this process.

    University of Houston All schools with exception of Business and Liberal Arts & Sciences do not require PQ

    • Carnegie Class: Doctoral Universities: Highest Research Activity | Grad program = Research Doctoral: Comprehensive programs, no medical/veterinary school
    • Summary: "Do I have to submit my ETD to UMI/Proquest? Currently the C.T. Bauer College of Business and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences submit ETDs to Proquest."

    University of Illinois

    • AAU member
    • Carnegie Class: Doctoral Universities: Highest Research Activity | Grad Program = Research Doctoral: Comprehensive programs, with medical/veterinary school
    • NSF Ranking #8
    • Summary:"(OPTIONAL) ProQuest publishing agreement - Doctoral students only. In step 2 of the submission profile, doctoral students will be given the option to have the Graduate College send their dissertation to ProQuest for inclusion in the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global and Dissertation Abstracts International databases"

    University of Michigan

    • AAU member
    • Carnegie Class: Doctoral Universities: Highest Research Activity | Grad Program = Research Doctoral: Comprehensive programs, with medical/veterinary school
    • NSF Ranking #2
    • Summary: "As of August 1, 2012 Rackham Graduate School no longer requires doctoral students to submit their dissertations to UMI Dissertation Publishing (a division of ProQuest)."

    University of Nebraska - Omaha

    University of North Florida

    • Carnegie Class: Master's Colleges & Universities: Larger Programs | Grad Program = Research Doctoral: Single program-Education
    • Summary: …”We only require our graduate students to deposit their ETDs into the UNF institutional repository Digital Commons since 2012 and never required the use of Proquest for our ETDs. However, because the student holds the copyright to their work they can choose additional methods for publishing and archiving their thesis or dissertation at their own discretion and expense.”

    University of North Texas

    • Carnegie Class: Doctoral Universities: Highest Research Activity *| Grad Program = *Research Doctoral: Comprehensive programs, no medical/veterinary school
    • Summary: "ProQuest submission in Vireo is optional."

    University of Southern California

    • AAU Member
    • Carnegie Class: Doctoral Universities: Highest Research Activity; Research Doctoral: Comprehensive programs, with medical/veterinary school
    • NSF Ranking #34 Summary: Silent on submission to PQ

    University of Tennessee at Knoxville

    • Carnegie Class: Doctoral Universities: Highest Research Activity; Research Doctoral: Comprehensive programs, with medical/veterinary school
    • Summary: The Graduate School has dropped the requirement for dissertations to be submitted to Proquest for digital distribution since dissertations are available widely through the University of Tennessee Library and through the National Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations.

    University of Texas at Austin

    • AAU Member
    • Carnegie Class: Doctoral Universities: Highest Research Activity; Research Doctoral: Comprehensive programs, no medical/veterinary school
    • NSF Ranking #3
    • Summary: "The TDL provides doctoral students with an option to request the supplemental submission of their dissertation to UMI.

    University of Victoria

    • US rankings don't apply
    • Summary: "In April 2014, the contract between Library and Archives Canada and ProQuest (formerly University Microfilms International) came to an end. Up until this date, students were required to send their ETD to ProQuest for publication in the Dissertations and Theses (ProQuest) database. The Faculty of Graduate Studies decided to discontinue this requirement, which not only saved the students some cash, but was also considered unnecessary, since submission of ETDs to UVicSpace gives students exposure through Google, Google Scholar, WorldCat, and in addition, LAC harvests UVic's ETDs and makes them available via the Theses Canada portal."

    University of Virginia

    • AAU Member
    • Carnegie Class: Doctoral Universities: Highest Research Activity | Grad Program = Research Doctoral: Humanities/social sciences-dominant
    • NSF Ranking #43
    • Summary: "PhD candidates are no longer required to submit their dissertations to Proquest, although they may do so at their option.(School of Engineering and Applied Science)"

    Worcester Polytechnic Institute

    • Carnegie Class: Doctoral Universities: Higher Research Activity; Research Doctoral: STEM-dominant
    • Summary: "Dissertations be microfilmed by University Microfilms, Inc. (UMI).”