Open access to research data in electronic theses and dissertations: an overview

Joachim Schopfel (GERiiCO, University of Lille 3, Villeneuve d’Ascq, France)
Stéphane Chaudiron (GERiiCO, University of Lille 3, Villeneuve d’Ascq, France)
Bernard Jacquemin (GERiiCO, University of Lille 3, Villeneuve d’Ascq, France)
Hélène Prost (GERiiCO, CNRS, Nancy, France)
Marta Severo (GERiiCO, University of Lille 3, Villeneuve d’Ascq, France)
Florence Thiault (GERiiCO, University of Lille 3, Villeneuve d’Ascq, France)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Publication date: 11 November 2014

Abstract

Purpose

Print theses and dissertations have regularly been submitted together with complementary material, such as maps, tables, speech samples, photos or videos, in various formats and on different supports. In the digital environment of open repositories and open data, these research results could become a rich source of research results and data sets, for reuse and other exploitation. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

After introducing electronic theses and dissertations (ETD) into the context of eScience, the paper investigates some aspects that impact the availability and openness of data sets and other supplemental files related to ETD (system architecture, metadata and data retrieval, legal aspects).

Findings

These items are part of the so-called “small data” of eScience, with a wide range of contents and formats. Their heterogeneity and their link to ETD need specific approaches to data curation and management, with specific metadata and identifiers and with specific services, workflows and systems. One size may not fit for all but it seems appropriate to separate text and data files. Regarding copyright and licensing, data sets must be evaluated carefully but should not be processed and disseminated under the same conditions as the related PhD theses. Some examples are presented.

Research limitations/implications

The paper concludes with recommendations for further investigation and development to foster open access to research results produced along with PhD theses.

Originality/value

ETDs are an important part of the content of open repositories. Yet, their potential as a gateway to underlying research results has not really been explored so far.

Keywords

Citation

Schopfel, J., Chaudiron, S., Jacquemin, B., Prost, H., Severo, M. and Thiault, F. (2014), "Open access to research data in electronic theses and dissertations: an overview", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 32 No. 4, pp. 612-627. https://doi.org/10.1108/LHT-06-2014-0058

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Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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