Master’s theses and open scholarship: a case study

Joachim Schopfel (University of Lille, Villeneuve d’Ascq Cedex, France)
Sylvain Vanacker (University of Lille, Villeneuve d’Ascq Cedex, France)
Eric Kergosien (University of Lille, Villeneuve d’Ascq Cedex, France)
Bernard Jacquemin (University of Lille, Villeneuve d’Ascq Cedex, France)

Digital Library Perspectives

ISSN: 2059-5816

Publication date: 12 November 2018



This paper aims to show how Master’s theses can contribute to open scholarship and give reasons why this should be done.


The paper provides an overview of published studies and, based on the experience at the University of Lille (France), describes some essential aspects for the processing and valorization of these documents in the academic cloud, as a contribution of open scholarship.


Because of their number and diversity, collections of Masters’ theses in open repositories could be an excellent showcase for the universities’ Master programs and research. They could also offer interesting and large samples for content analysis, citation analysis and text and data mining (TDM). However, some issues need attention, above all intellectual property, quality and preservation. Quality is crucial, and the paper describes how the Lille project proceeds to assure sufficient quality and right clearance, and why the project shifted from students’ self-archiving to a digital library collection in the academic cloud, run by faculty and information professionals. The paper presents also some usage statistics to illustrate the potential, global impact of such a collection.

Practical implications

The paper provides helpful and empirical evidence and insight for those who want to develop the dissemination of Master’s theses via open repositories.


In the context of open scholarship, only few studies deal with Master’s theses, and this paper is the only recent reference that brings together a review of other papers and a case study with empirical evidence.



Schopfel, J., Vanacker, S., Kergosien, E. and Jacquemin, B. (2018), "Master’s theses and open scholarship: a case study", Digital Library Perspectives, Vol. 34 No. 4, pp. 276-287.

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