October 10, 2011

Arguing for (almost) routine open access deposit for higher degree theses

Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil Godfrey @ 6:11 pm

Most Australian universities have embraced the practice of (almost) routinely making their higher degree or research theses open access through deposit in their institutional repositories. A CAIRSS (Caul Australian Institutional Repository Support Service) survey last year indicated nearly 80% of responding institutions have mandates or practices for making these theses open access digitally.

For what it’s worth here is an edited/greatly truncated version of a request I submitted to have an institution’s guidelines modified/clarified to less ambiguously allow for a more routine deposit of theses into an open access repository.

Suggest the following process:

  1. Ask authors of higher degree theses to sign for a statement that there are no 3rd party copyright, cultural etc (or other) reasons prohibiting publication of thesis in eSpace
  2. As these signed agreements are received the library publishes as appropriate the higher degree thesis in eSpace
  3. If reasonable efforts to locate an author fail, the library publishes the thesis “in good faith” – with such a disclaimer in/attached to the thesis itself – and an assurance it will be removed if reason is subsequently found to remove it from eSpace


Benefits from updating its open access guidelines when it comes to higher degree theses being made publicly available through its open access repository:

In accordance with a general Australian and global push for open access initiatives (; most university repositories (a complete list is found here: showcase their higher degree theses in open access repositories. This is in many cases simply an extension of the past Australian Digital Thesis Program that was superseded by CAUL ( by means of NLA’s TROVE.


A rough and ready look for who else among Australian universities appear to have their theses open access in repositories yielded the following results:

Australian Catholic University ACU Research Bank
Australian National University Demetirus
Bond University e-publications@bond 
Charles Sturt University CSU Research Output 
Curtin University of Technology espace@Curtin 
Deakin University Deakin Research Online
James Cook University ResearchOnline@JCU
LaTrobe University LaTrobe University Institutional Research Repository
Macquarie University Macquarie University ResearchOnline
Monash University ARROW Repository
Murdoch University Murdoch Research Repository
Queensland University of Technology QUT ePrints
RMIT University Research Repository 
Southern Cross University ePublications@SCU
Swinburne University of Technology Swinburne Research Bank
University of Adelaide Adelaide Research & Scholarship
University of Melbourne University of Melbourne ePrints Repository (UMER)
University of New England e-publications @ UNE
University of New South Wales UNSWorks
University of Queensland UQ eSpace
University of South Australia UniSA Research Archive
University of Southern Queensland University of Southern Queensland USQ ePrints
University of Sydney Sydney eScholarship Repository
University of Tasmania UTAS ePrints 
University of Technology Sydney UTSiResearch
University of Western Australia UWA Research Repository
University of Western Sydney UWS Research Repository
University of Wollongong Research Online 
Victoria University Victoria University Institutional Repository (VUIR)

I still don’t know the technicalities of copyright law on this one, however. “Everyone” is doing it and it’s a good thing, so . . . .

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