Doctoral students spend years on their dissertations. Too bad the results of their hard work often end up in a cardboard box in a dark corner of a library.
Now Stanford University doctoral students will be able to store their dissertations in a digital repository instead of submitting several bound paper copies to the university, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The university has also reached an agreement with Google, which will serve as a third-party distributor, meaning users of the search tool will be able to find the dissertations. Administrators hope the move will save the university money and give students’ work a greater audience.
“We have way north of 35,000 bound dissertations on our shelves,” Stanford’s university librarian, Michael Keller, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Many of them just stay on the shelf, forgotten and invisible, or scholars have to pay enormous sums to come to Stanford to read them.”
Students used to get their dissertations printed and bound, and then delivered three or four copies to the registrar’s office. They can still do it that way if they prefer.
Mr. Keller told the San Francisco newspaper that he thought Stanford was the only institution encouraging electronic submissions of dissertations to this extent. In an e-mail message to The Chronicle of Higher Education, a Google spokeswoman said she didn’t know of similar programs at any other universities.