Open access theses in institutional repositories: an exploratory study of the perceptions of doctoral students
Introduction. We examine doctoral students’ awareness of and attitudes to open access forms of publication. Levels of awareness of open access and the concept of institutional repositories, publishing behaviour and perceptions of benefits and risks of open access publishing were explored. Method. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected through interviews with eight doctoral students enrolled in a range of disciplines in a New Zealand university and a self-completion Web survey of 251 students.
Analysis. Interview data were analysed thematically, then evaluated against a theoretical framework. The interview data were then used to inform the design of the survey tool. Survey responses were analysed as a single set, then by disciple using SurveyMonkey’s online toolkit and Excel.
Results. While awareness of open access and repository archiving is still low, the majority of interview and survey respondents were found to be supportive of the concept of open access. The perceived benefits of enhanced exposure and potential for sharing outweigh the perceived risks. The majority of respondents were supportive of an existing mandatory thesis submission policy.
Conclusions. Low levels of awareness of the university repository remains an issue, and could be addressed by further investigating the effectiveness of different communication channels for promotion.