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In either case, you knew that you were not supposed to quote from the document or use its ideas without permission from the author.In the case of a hardbound copy, the libraries had records of the borrowers, so misappropriation could, in theory, be traced.Refusal to create that mechanism could destroy the careers of its humanities Ph Ds.
Your university may argue that a state institution receives public money, so part of its mission is to make its research available to that same public.
Fair enough, but you must still try to ensure that your university can and will remove a dissertation from open access if asked.
Without the quality control implied by refereeing, Pro Quest “publication” will not count for tenure.
Furthermore, its being there may interfere with your landing a revised version at a reputable press.
Book editors seem unanimous on that point for obvious reasons.
Many university libraries routinely add dissertations to their electronic holdings. If your thesis is already online, then have it taken down.
[July 2019 Update below by Jacqueline Barlow, Open Access Officer at The University of Winchester in Winchester, Hampshire, United Kingdom–please read] Today we are honored to have a guest post by Kathryn Hume, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of English at Penn State University and author of Surviving Your Academic Job Hunt: Advice for Humanities Ph Ds (revised edition, 2010).
I got in touch with Kathryn Hume initially to send her a fan email!
Thank you, Professor Hume, for sharing your insights.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Once upon a time, dissertations were “available” through UMI as microfilm or through Interlibrary Loan as bound copies.