ANU digital theses

The University maintains a collection of digital ANU theses in the University’s open access repository, Digital Collections. The University supports the wide dissemination of ANU research into the academic and wider community, and all theses deposited in Digital Collections appear in Trove and are discoverable by search engines such as Google.

Your thesis is a major research output, and there are many benefits to making your thesis available open access.

To support the University’s commitment to open access to research, the University requires a copy of all Higher Degree by Research student theses and all Undergraduate Honours theses receiving a mark of First Class, to be deposited in Digital Collections within one year of completion.

Restricting access to your thesis

If you have confidential interviews or information in your thesis you can apply to have access restricted to all or part of your thesis. Applications should be made to the Pro Vice Chancellor (Research and Research Training) and include the reasons for restriction and the time period that restriction is sought.

If approved the Library will restrict access to the digital version of your thesis in line with the Pro Vice Chancellor (Research and Research Training) decision.

See the guideline Research Theses Submission and Examination: Information for Higher Degree Research Students and Use of Confidential Information in Research Theses for more information.

Concerns over publication refusal and plagiarism

Previous studies have found that the majority of publishers would not refuse to publish a book based on a thesis that had been made available online (Ramirez et al, 2013, PDF, 479KB & McMillan et al 2011, PDF, 844KB).  Increasingly publishers across the range of disciplines are willing to accept submission for books or journal articles where the thesis is available via open access. Note that publishing your thesis open access will make it available to more potential publishers.

ANU graduate Barbara Dawson successfully published her book based on her PhD thesis – her thesis is available online, and her published book is available from the prestigious ANU Press.

Harvard University Press Assistant Editor Brian Distelberg has indicated that providing open access to your theses may actually lead to increased publication:

"I’m always looking out for exciting new scholarship that might make for a good book, whether in formally published journal articles and conference programs, or in the conversation on Twitter and in the history blogosphere, or in conversations with scholars I meet. And so, to whatever extent open access to a dissertation increases the odds of its ideas being read and discussed more widely, I tend to think it increases the odds of my hearing about them."

A survey of academic publishers in 2011 found that “manuscripts that are revisions of openly accessible electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) are always welcome for submission or considered on a case-by-case basis by 82.8 percent of journal editors and 53.7 percent of university press directors polled.”

Depositing your digital thesis in an open access repository such as Digital Collections establishes your identity as the author and makes it much more difficult for others to claim your work as their own. The Australian Open Access Support Group has more information about thesis publication on their website.

Useful articles

  • Harvard Professors Gary King and Stuart Shieber provide advice to graduate students on the benefits of open access, in particular for theses (dissertations).
  • Dr Danny Kingsley’s blog So you want people to read your thesis? provides useful information on the benefits of making theses available online via open access.
  • If you wish to publish a book from your thesis the blog post It’s a Dissertation not a Book by Leonard Cassuto provides advice on the rewriting process for books from theses.

Updated:  16 September 2015/ Responsible Officer:  University Librarian/ Page Contact:  Library Systems & Web Coordinator