Many universities that have paper submissions of theses and dissertations collect funds for processing these works. Usually the funds are collected from students. In some cases they might be collected from grants, or from a sponsor (e.g., from the National Library, with regard to works in Canada).
These funds commonly are called "binding fees" or are given other names designating their use for processing. A typical fee might be $20 or $30 per work.
In the case of transition to ETDs at Virginia Tech, there were changes to these fees. First, in 1996, when submission of ETDs was encouraged but voluntary, the processing fee was waived for those students submitting an ETD instead of a paper document. This provided a monetary incentive to move toward ETDs.
However, in 1997, with a requirement in place, the processing fee was re-instituted. However, it was renamed "archiving fee". Thus, funds were collected from students:
- to help defray the costs of the ETD program;
- to provide a pool of funds to archive and preserve works throughout their lifetime, allowing for migration to new media types (e.g., automatic copying to newer types of storage media, such as from one online disk to a more modern disk), as well as conversion to new formats (e.g., moving from SGML to XML, or from one version of PDF to a newer version).
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