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CC Licensing Your Dissertations
PhD students slave for years on researching, writing, and drafting a final product, usually text, that marks the culmination of their candidacy for the highly esteemed doctoral degree. This product is then reviewed by a tenured member of the faculty in their domain of expertise, or a small committee of said members. Upon passing this review, the student is finally rewarded the title of “Doctor” along with its perceived reputation. The dissertation, unfortunately, usually falls to the wayside and is, for the most part, never read again.
Furthermore, because most dissertations are fully copyrighted, these significant pieces of work cannot be reproduced or redistributed for future students’ research. So why not do the obvious? Why not work with copyright law and publish your dissertation under an open license, thereby increasing its exposure to the world, academic or otherwise?
Two UC Berkeley graduates from theSchool of Informationhave gone ahead and taken a stab at doing this by CC licensing their dissertations. In the words ofThe Daily Californian, UC Berkeley’s independent, student-run newspaper:
“This license opens up many possibilities in the academic world such as free online course readers, zero cost educational multimedia, gratis online tutorials-even the price of paper textbooks could be drastically reduced. Perhaps more important than cost, however,by using Creative Commons you are essentially “paying it forward” by sharing your intellectual output with the academic community because future generations of scholars will have greater access to your work.