Open Access Publishing of ETD’s: Requirements and Implications of complying with Budapest, Bethesda and Berlin
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[Introduction] Open access publishing appears to be an important value for the worldwide ETD community. The term ‘Open Access’ has been a prominent theme of most every international ETD conference since 2004, and appears in the titles of numerous presentations and papers shared at these conferences. The importance of open access ETD’s has been discussed in numerous threads on the international ETD-L list, and touted on the web pages of the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD). The opening lines of the NDLTD website (2012) state “We support electronic publishing and open access to scholarship in order to enhance the sharing of knowledge worldwide.” Moreover, the ETD Guide produced by NDLTD leaders states in its “Why ETD’s” section: “The main goals of the ETD initiative are “…for universities and graduate students to more effectively engage in open access electronic scholarly communications” (NDLTD, 2011). It remains to be seen, however, whether the widely-held community value for open access ETD’s has actually translated into practice. Has the period governed by the ETD movement (1998-current) seen an increasing trend toward OA-published ETD’s? Little research has yet been conducted to answer this question. To address that gap in knowledge, the author is assessing the state of open access publishing for ETD’s. The current paper reports on a preliminary study to measure the extent to which North American theses and dissertations are being published via open access as defined by the Budapest, Bethesda, and Berlin Open Access declarations (Suber, 2006a). The findings of this early, small-scale study begin to shed light on the larger question of Open Access ETD publishing, with clear data reflecting very low uptake of BBB-compliant OA publishing in North American ETD’s. The reasons for this trend, and some strategies for addressing it, are provided at the end of this paper.