Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is OpenThesis.org?
  2. What data does OpenThesis provide?
  3. What account features does OpenThesis provide?
  4. What are the advantages of OpenThesis having the full text of my document?
  5. I am an author and you don’t have my document, or don’t have its full text. Why not?
  6. I represent a school and see that you do not include our documents. Why not?
  7. I see an error in one of your documents. How can I report it?
  8. Does OpenThesis accept documents other than theses and dissertations?
  9. Can OpenThesis provide ISBN’s for documents?
  10. Can OpenThesis assist in printing and binding documents?
  11. How does OpenThesis address data preservation?
  1. What is OpenThesis.org?

  2. OpenThesis.org is a searchable thesis & dissertation database, which helps increase the availability and utility of these important documents.

    Historically, theses and dissertations have not been freely accessible through a powerful, centralized database. Rather, they have been available at individual College and University web sites (if at all), often via the respective school’s ETD (Electronic Thesis and Dissertation) program. While these ETD programs are very important (indeed, they provide the bulk of the data used to create OpenThesis.org), the lack of a free, centralized database means that a global search of theses and dissertations has often not been possible.

    OpenThesis addresses that issue, and by creating a centralized search, encourages the reading and use of these important documents. The benefits to the schools and authors are numerous, including greater recognition in the research community, collaboration and employment opportunities, and intellectual property licensing opportunities.

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  3. What data does OpenThesis provide?

  4. OpenThesis contains the bibliographical information, normally including author, school, title, abstract, date of publication, and more. Full text is generally not included unless OpenThesis has received permission from the school or author.

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  5. What account features does OpenThesis provide?

  6. When logged into an account (free), OpenThesis provides users with not only advanced search features, but also with the ability to store documents in portfolios, annotate the portfolios, store searches, set up alerts to notify you of new documents of interest, and upload/manage your own documents.

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  7. What are the advantages of OpenThesis having the full text of my document?

  8. Full-text documents receive more traffic, for multiple reasons, including the convenience of accessing the document on the site and the greater number of keywords in the full document.

    Full text documents on our site can also be easier for our users to read, as we convert all documents to a standard PDF format, whereas the original format could be a problem for users on various operating systems to open.

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  9. I am an author and you don’t have my document, or don’t have its full text. Why not?

  10. In the case of OpenThesis not having your document at all, your document may not be part of a collection that we have loaded. That may mean that your school does not have an OpenThesis account yet, or that your document was not in the data that was provided by your school.

    Where we have a document, but not its full text, we probably have not been given permission to display the full text of that document or collection.

    In either case, the simple way to rectify the issue is to create an account and upload your document!

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  11. I represent a school and see that you do not include our documents. Why not?

  12. You may not have, or we may be unaware of, an ETD data feed. We are happy to work with schools to make sure your documents are included. We will provide complete technical support to help convert your documents into a format compatible with the OpenThesis database. Please contact us!

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  13. I see an error in one of your documents. How can I report it?

  14. For individual documents, please contact us and describe the error. For systemic errors involving school collections, we may need to correct our parsing of your data feed. Please let us know and we will correct the errors as quickly as possible.

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  15. Does OpenThesis accept documents other than theses and dissertations?

  16. Yes! We are happy to include any type of research or academic documents. Just choose document type “other” when uploading.

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  17. Can OpenThesis provide ISBN’s for documents?

  18. Yes. We have established partnerships with other companies that enable us to provide a full spectrum of conventional and e-publishing services. Unlike our core web services, we cannot provide all of these services for free. However, we have negotiated preferred rates – probably much better than you would get through conventional sources.

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  19. Can OpenThesis assist in printing and binding documents?

  20. Yes. We have established partnerships with other companies that enable us to provide a full spectrum of conventional and e-publishing services. Unlike our core web services, we cannot provide all of these services for free. However, we have negotiated preferred rates – probably much better than you would get through conventional sources.

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  21. How does OpenThesis address data preservation?

  22. Given the scientific and academic importance of the documents in our collection, OpenThesis is very concerned with data preservation. Data preservation has two aspects: physical protection of the data, and ensuring that the data can be read in the future as new file formats inevitably become the norm.

    With respect to physical protection, our data is replicated multiple times, in both an online format (“hot”) and using offline storage at a separate site. Even if our entire data center was wiped out by a natural disaster, copies of the data would exist. And, as new physical formats of data storage become available we will migrate our data to those as appropriate.

    To ensure that our data can be read far into the future, we utilize standard formats such as PDF and XML. Should these standards eventually fall into disuse, transforming the data into the latest popular format is simple. Note that the British Library has settled upon the NLM DTD (a variety of XML) for their data preservation strategies. This fact gives us both confidence in our strategy and nearly ensures the readability of XML into the far future: No one is going to forget how to read the entire British Library!

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