Dissertations in Dataspace policy temporarily changed

The Graduate School’s policy of having dissertations submitted into DataSpace, the University’s Open Access repository, has been changed temporarily, pending resolution of some outstanding questions. David Redman, Associate Dean of the Graduate School, sent the following message out late today. If you have any questions, please contact us:

Dear Directors of Graduate Studies,

As many of you know, the Graduate School, working with the University Archives, established last fall new procedures for the submission of Ph.D. dissertations to ProQuest. Two significant changes were: a) agreeing to use ProQuest’s Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD) submission portal, which greatly speeded the ability of students to submit their dissertations; and b) eliminating the necessity of a second hard-bound copy of the dissertation in favor of storing an electronic copy of the dissertation on Princeton’s DataSpace and making the electronic “second copy” accessible there. One consequence of the second change was that our students’ dissertations became almost instantly accessible to anyone with a good search engine. In short, Princeton dissertations were “out there” in the world faster than we had imagined. This has caused some anxiety and distress among many of our new Ph.D.’s, so much so that we are amending our procedures in the following way.

By the end of this month, we will restrict access to doctoral dissertations in DataSpace to those on the Princeton.edu domain, that is, to on-campus users.

This is an interim and (we hope) relatively short term address to a larger problem of easy and fast access to Ph.D. dissertations at a time when students, particularly those in the humanities and social sciences, are anxious about their opportunities to publish their work and advance in their careers. The Graduate School has already had preliminary discussion with some members of the Policy Subcommittee about this issue and wants to continue the discussion with them about refining our policies and procedures.

Thank you for your interest in and concern about this issue. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call (x8-3902) or write me (dnredman@princeton.edu).

–David Redman
Associate Dean

UPDATE: As of today, March 23, dissertations in DataSpace are now restricted to on-campus users only. However, please note that if Google has cached a PDF that it crawled previously, that PDF will remain in Google’s cache until Google expires it. That typically takes a couple of weeks, but that’s entirely up to Google.

UPDATE: As of November 5, all dissertations that have not been granted an embargo are available via Dataspace.