Friday, July 26, 2013

Controlling access to your dissertation

The American Historical Association recommends that historians completing doctoral dissertations should embargo online distribution of them for six years
Students who must post their dissertations online immediately after they receive their degree can find themselves at a serious disadvantage in their effort to get their first book published; it is not unusual for an early-career historian to spend five or six years revising a dissertation and preparing the manuscript for submission to a press for consideration. During that period, the scholar typically builds on the raw material presented in the dissertation, refines the argument, and improves the presentation itself. Thus, although there is so close a relationship between the dissertation and the book that presses often consider them competitors, the book is the measure of scholarly competence used by tenure committees
Update, August 2:  Historiann offers a thoughtful opposition to this policy, and curates some thoughtful discussion from her commenters.
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