Journal format theses are becoming ever more popular, enabling the incorporation of work suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. This increase in popularity has led to concerns that some eTheses may not adhere to publisher self-archiving policies. This is particularly relevant for us as the University is committed to ensuring as wide an audience as possible can read and access research outputs and has an Open Access policy requiring all Postgraduate Research eTheses to made Open Access no longer than 12 months after submission.
We decided to investigate whether this concern was warranted and determine whether there was a need for our team to increase knowledge of self-archiving amongst our students. We found a total of 671 journal format theses had been submitted, with the majority of these (575) from students in the Faculty of Science and Engineering. Of these, a representative sample of 50 was taken for analysis and we looked at whether the correct version and embargo period had been used. The results show that 8% of students had included an incorrect version of the paper and 34% had applied the wrong embargo period.
Following these results we decided to provide additional guidance on our website to advise students how to make their work Open Access, while still meeting publisher requirements around self-archiving.
We added a new page explaining additional considerations for journal format theses and produced a detailed, downloadable guidance document. This document explains where to find information about the publisher’s self-archiving policy and how to apply this information. We also created a decision tree using Typeform which is a more interactive way to determine how to comply with the publisher policy and also acts a prompt to ensure students have obtained all the information they require.
We hope that this new guidance will assist those students submitting a journal format thesis and minimise the risk that students will include the wrong article version or apply an incorrect embargo. Of course, students can always contact us for further support.
Our journal format thesis guidance page can be found here: https://www.library.manchester.ac.uk/using-the-library/staff/research/etheses/pgr-students/journal-format-theses/
eThesis Support Service
Tel: +44 (0)161 275 8728 (internal: x58728)