Project means greater exposure for grad student research

Rebecca MacPherson

Rebecca MacPherson brings a student voice to the E-Thesis Pilot Project.

An e-thesis pilot project under way at Brock will lead to greater exposure for graduate student research.

The Faculty of Graduate Studies, the James A. Gibson Library and the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, with support from Information Technology Services, are leading the initiative to develop a digital thesis submission system. The project was launched this week as part of Open Access Week (Oct. 18 to 24).

Rebecca MacPherson, a second-year PhD student in Applied Health Sciences, will bring a student voice to the development of procedures and policies for an e-thesis system. MacPherson is one of nine members of the project committee. Gail Pepper, director, Faculty of Graduate Studies, and Barbara McDonald, associate university librarian for Collections and Liaison, are co-managers of the project. Mike Plyley, Associate Dean, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, is the project sponsor.

“The committee recognized the importance of having a student perspective on the work and flow of submitting theses electronically,” MacPherson said. “A digital theses submission system will make a significant difference to the access that colleagues and collaborators from around the world will have to students’ theses.

“Students are already very comfortable using electronic communication, Once we establish policies and procedures that are practical and effective, publishing a thesis will likely be easier and more efficient for students.”

As part of the pilot project, graduate students in Applied Health Sciences will submit theses electronically to Brock’s institutional repository from now until next August.

“Our Faculty has MA, MSc, and PhD students, covering nine different fields of graduate research and on average has about 40 thesis defences per year,” Plyley said. “It makes us an ideal candidate to pilot the e-thesis development over the 2010-11 academic year.”

A digital thesis process will provide worldwide access to the research contributions of our graduate students, Pepper said.

“Our graduate students are doing wonderful things and we want to provide them with exposure on a global scale – that’s what this project will accomplish.”

McDonald also points to statistics from Library and Archives Canada that show a dramatic increase in citation impact that results from electronic publishing.

“Through this project we will ensure that our emerging scholars and scientists can function effectively in a digital research environment and significantly increase the impact of their research,” McDonald said.

The first electronic thesis program began at the University of Waterloo in 1999. By 2009, 16 Canadian universities had implemented a program. Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has been collecting theses since 1965 and electronic theses since 2003. As of January 2014, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) will no longer accept paper theses.

For more information, please visit the E-Thesis Pilot Project website.

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One comment on “Project means greater exposure for grad student research”

  1. Matt Clare says:

    What a great project. Congratulations to all. I’ve had meetings scheduled against both the of the Open Access Week sessions I wanted to attend at Brock 🙁