EThOS Benefits

EThOS makes research material which was previously limited in its accessibility widely available and in doing so benefits the entire research community. Obtaining a copy of a thesis becomes a more streamlined and simplified process, while authors and institutions also benefit as there is huge potential to promote their research.

There are many additional benefits of the EThOS service, some of which are detailed below.

For researchers

The EThOS database is constantly growing. There are more than 120 participating institutions whose theses are available to users and over 70 institutional repositories are harvested on a monthly basis. In addition, it is not just research from the last few years that is available, but both ‘old’ and ‘new’ theses are brought together in one database. As of May 2013 the earliest thesis recorded in EThOS was awarded by the University of Edinburgh in 1812, while the earliest thesis downloaded from EThOS so far was awarded by Queen Mary’s, University of London in 1914.

Tens of thousands of records have a copy of the full text available for instant download. As of 2013 approximately 25% of records have a PDF file available for immediate download and more than 20% of records provide access to the full text via a link to the institutional repository.

Where the full text is not yet available, the service has an established relationship with participating institutions to digitise the majority of the remainder on demand, opening up a vast collection of research theses to new researchers everywhere.

The national aggregation of theses from all UK universities allows researchers to view the entire range of research activity undertaken by UK HE. Researchers are able to make comparisons and view the research being undertaken in specific institutions or academic departments. They can identify sources of research funding in their area of interest and make connections with other researchers in the field. EThOS provides access to a rich and vast body of often unique content.

For institutions

EThOS maximises the visibility of an institution’s doctoral theses and helps promote its research profile on a global platform and to a wide range of researchers. Users are not exclusively professional researchers or postgraduate students from the UK. EThOS has been accessed by users from over 100 countries, including British inventors, teachers in Tanzania, engineers from Bahrain, civil servants from Australia and translators and linguists from Malaysia and Germany.

The British Library will preserve all theses held in EThOS by uploading them to the Library’s digital store for long term preservation. This provides institutions with the opportunity to clear space in their libraries and the reassurance the theses will be preserved in perpetuity and a back-up copy always available.

EThOS supports the UK Government’s open access principle that publications resulting from publicly-funded research should be made freely available for all researchers, providing opportunities for further research. It demonstrates the quality of UK research, and helps attract students and research investment into UK Higher Education.

All institutions have at least some thesis records in EThOS. Participation is governed by a light-touch Memorandum of Understanding between the British Library and each institution, and institutions may opt in or out of the various parts of the EThOS Core Service. An EThOS Advisory Board ensures EThOS continues to support UK research and provides independent scrutiny of the service provided.

For authors

Authors are increasingly seeking to have their theses recorded and made accessible via EThOS. Open access platforms like EThOS make your research more visible, allow other researchers to make connections and build on your research. Such visibility can ultimately lead to further research opportunities or even new or renewed funding streams.

It is worth noting that researchers completing their PhD may also find that the university – and funder – requires the final thesis to be deposited in the institution’s open access repository. The Research Councils UK, representing many of the UK’s major funding bodies, has a stated expectation in this respect set out in their Grant Terms & Conditions(external link).

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