ETD Guide/Introduction/Enhancing access to university research

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Once ETDs are available, through diverse means, others may gain access. In particular, such access may be the only recourse open to those in developing countries who cannot afford to make purchases from Proquest, who cannot wait for expensive shipping of copies through interlibrary loan, who cannot attend the myriad conferences that demand the considerable expenses related to travel, or who cannot pay for expensive journals (that only may have short summaries of thesis or dissertation results).

Access may result from word of mouth, from search, from announcements, or by following links or citations. They may occur quickly after a work is made known to those whose works are referred to or to those who employ Selective Dissemination of Information services. They may occur intermediated by digital library systems or similar mechanisms. They may result when ETDs are referred to journal articles, conference papers, reports, course notes, and other forms.

Numerically, if theses and dissertations are all released as ETDs, the number of works per year may be around the number of journal articles published by university students. The number may be 20-50% of the number of journal articles prepared by the faculty. Regarding students, in most cases, an ETD will be the only publication of an author. If the number who read ETDs is 10 or 100 times the number who read a paper thesis, then it is clear that there will be a significant increase in access to university research as a result of an ETD program.

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