UW Libraries e-news
Jan. 2013 |  Return to issue home

Electronic submissions for theses and dissertations now standard

Tim Jewell, Libraries director of information resources and scholarly communication, “has been the leading light on campus for open access publications and authors' rights, working tirelessly to bring important issues before our university community.”  So reads the description of Jewell, recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Librarian Award.

So it’s no surprise that Jewell is part of a collaborative effort, along with Libraries colleagues Ann Lally, Thom Deardrorff, Julia Carlson, Nichole Fernkes and other UW Graduate School staff, to enable students to submit and publish their theses and dissertations electronically. 

A pilot Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (“ETD”) program launched at UW in Fall 2011, following an earlier UW Graduate and Professional Student Senate resolution, which encouraged the Graduate School to move in that direction, as many other universities had already done. The program started with a few University departments, and by winter 2012 electronic submission became an option chosen by many students.  In spring 2012, electronic submission became mandatory for all graduate students submitting theses or dissertations.

UW doctoral dissertations have been available electronically via ProQuest since the 1990s, when the company began scanning hard copies of dissertations. However, access was limited to subscribing libraries, and students were required to pay a submission fee and an additional charge if they wanted to make their work available on an “open access” basis, which provides for unrestricted online access while retaining copyright. Now those fees are a thing of the past, and in addition to ease of submission, students gain worldwide dissemination of their work, garnering them needed attention and helping to build their reputations for research and scholarship.

Each quarter, the Libraries and the Graduate School learn more from students about how the program is working for them, and together they work to refine and improve it. But ETDs have now become the standard for students publishing their thesis and dissertation research at the University of Washington.

(Photo by Mary Levin)

Jan. 2013 |  Return to issue home

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