EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO) and BiblioLabs have announced the launch of a collaborative open access initiative dedicated to advancing library and industry innovation related to electronic theses and dissertations (ETD). OpenDissertations.org, is committed to facilitating open and free access to ETD metadata and content. In addition to the fully open website, EBSCO will include EDT metadata in EBSCO Discovery Service™ to facilitate access and improve content discovery.
Project sponsors recognize that ETD authors are faced with an expanding world of discovery and hosting options for their work. EBSCO is committed to easing the path of discovery. By exposing metadata via the OpenDissertations.org website and EBSCO Discovery Service, the project seeks to increase the visibility of ETDs on the open web. Users will be able to link from individual records in the database to partnering host sites, including academic institutional repositories.
Universities have long provided theses and dissertations to companies that require libraries to subscribe to their products to gain the added value of aggregated access to this research output. With more and more universities now hosting and distributing their own ETDs on the open-web, EBSCO and BiblioLabs are seeking to add an enhanced service that freely aggregates and exposes this valuable content, extending access to any interested reader worldwide.
The project is open to libraries around the world and currently includes: the British Library’s EThOS Service, Cornell University, Florida State University, University of Florida, University of Michigan, Michigan State University and the University of Kentucky. The OpenDissertations.org program provides libraries with additional academic and open web discovery of ETD metadata. Students will also be able to access the full text of the ETD in their library’s own institutional repository.
More than 20 libraries are expected to be participating by the time OpenDissertations.org goes live in 2018. Libraries that currently contribute to existing for-fee dissertation products are in a perfect position to support the open dissertations project, with minimal work required. Over the course of 2018 the partners will also be announcing several innovations related to handling a growing world of multi-media ETD’s and handling the underlying research data sets students create in the process of their research.
EBSCO Information Services’ Senior Vice President of Business Development, Mark Herrick, says the FOLIO Project and OpenDissertations.org are natural extensions of EBSCO’s commitment to address critical parts of the academic ecosystem. “With our initial investment in FOLIO, we committed ourselves to supporting more open source software models in the library industry. With OpenDissertations.org we are helping institutions succeed at driving increased usage of their own open institutional research and increasing access to this valuable content. Open Access is creating new paradigms around which EBSCO and libraries can partner more closely and we are working with BiblioLabs to unlock that potential.”
BiblioLabs CEO Mitchell Davis says, “We are excited to be working with EBSCO to innovate around ETDs and look forward to finding many ways to drive more discovery and usage of these important materials. Beyond leveraging EBSCO’s massive institutional presence, this collaboration is centered on meeting a rising tide of institutional needs around ETDs and working to create sustainable access and business models around this stream of research.”
Opendissertations.org is the next step in an ongoing effort to open access to dissertations. In 2014, EBSCO and the H.W. Wilson Foundation created American Doctoral Dissertations which contained indexing from the H.W. Wilson print publication, Doctoral Dissertations Accepted by American Universities, 1933-1955. In 2015, the H.W. Wilson Foundation agreed to support the expansion of the scope of the American Doctoral Dissertations database to include records for dissertations and theses from 1955 to the present with the goal of creating a single portal for ETDs which could be added to university profiles and accessed online.
Libraries interested in participating can contact https://biblioboard.com/opendissertations/contact/ or visit OpenDissertations.org.