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Embargoing of Completed History PhD Dissertations

Fisher

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The American Historical Association recently called on universities to allow people who have successfully defended their dissertation to elect to embargo them from online digital publication for up to six years (AHA Statement on Policies Regarding the Embargoing of Completed History PhD Dissertations).

The dissertations would still be accessible for research through inter-library loans, but a student could opt out of online publication, presumably to allow them time to continue to revise and develop and publish their work as in their discretion i.e. try to make some coin before all their work is out there for free.

Just curious if anyone here has an opinion on this one way or the other, especially if they work in the academic world and have been through the dissertation ringer.
 

ZapFinch42

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As somebody who spent a lot of time in college working my butt off only to have my adviser take the lion's share of credit, I say hell yes. There is a lot of excellent work done in grad schools throughout the country and those kids deserve to reap the rewards of their work. The availability via ILL is the key though. That makes it a win for every one. What do you think?
 

Fisher

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I agree. I have never done a Phd dissertation, but as you indicated, those are massive undertakings. In a lot of disciplines, publishing will be the way you make your real money, so I have no problem with people asserting some degree of IP control over their work-product. I was almost lured in that direction by professors who really encouraged me to pursue it by helping me get some things published and creating career opportunities for me, but a career in academics just wasn't that big of an appeal to me.
 

Μολὼν λαβέ

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There's plenty of current research available on line. Some you have to purchase, especially if taking course work, whether it be undergraduate or graduate, some you don't. I say, paraphrasing Jesus, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's."

Anyone who completes that amount of work deserves compensation if people are willing to pay for it.
 

nota bene

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The American Historical Association recently called on universities to allow people who have successfully defended their dissertation to elect to embargo them from online digital publication for up to six years (AHA Statement on Policies Regarding the Embargoing of Completed History PhD Dissertations).

The dissertations would still be accessible for research through inter-library loans, but a student could opt out of online publication, presumably to allow them time to continue to revise and develop and publish their work as in their discretion i.e. try to make some coin before all their work is out there for free.

Just curious if anyone here has an opinion on this one way or the other, especially if they work in the academic world and have been through the dissertation ringer.
One practical argument is that the more others cite your work, the more your scholarly reputation is enhanced.
 

Fisher

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One practical argument is that the more others cite your work, the more your scholarly reputation is enhanced.
Researchers could still access it through ILL. I think in disciplines like history getting your work in book form is a bigger enhancement to your reputation as a scholar than just being cited, and then the use of your book as the source of citation would carry more weight and be more widely used than one's dissertation. The embargo would at least reduce the chance that someone else could poach your work and beat you to the punch on a book.
 

Fisher

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I think that it's nearly impossible these days to crib without being caught.

But remember this? Did Ambrose Write Wild Blue, Or Just Edit It? - Forbes
Well I agree about that. While I have never openly called them out on it, I have even found a poster here at DP who has cut and pasted arguments from sources without giving attribution, only adding in their own tie-in sentence. It was a post that was a lot more scholarly than their usual posts and the language was different so I ran it through a plagiarism checker. I will wait and see if this is a pattern of conduct or was just an innocent mistake before I call them on it openly.
 

nota bene

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Turnitin.com?

Cutting-and-pasting without attribution isn't an innocent mistake; it's theft. Your attitude is more than gracious; it's very generous.
 

Fisher

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Turnitin.com?

Cutting-and-pasting without attribution isn't an innocent mistake; it's theft. Your attitude is more than gracious; it's very generous.
No, there are some free ones online I use. If I suspect it, and the piece comes back clean on 1 I will usually run it through at least 3 or 4 different ones to be sure.

I did throw a corrective elbow by interjecting myself into the discussion on the other side from the poster at issue, providing the person with whom they were jousting the link to the sources from which the plagiarism occurred. I just didn't want to be too heavy-handed because it may have been an oversight in the heat of the moment, but I do keep an eye out for it from that poster now. If it happens again, I will call them on it openly.
 
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nota bene

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I didn't know there were free sites! The more databases through which to bust plagiarists, though, the better.
 
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