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I have heard of two commercial-academic presses and one university press that insisted the dissertation be removed from Pro Quest before they would consider it.I have also learned of a major journal’s response to the issue.Your university may argue that a state institution receives public money, so part of its mission is to make its research available to that same public.
Not all fields, even within the humanities, operate on the same assumptions, and some people see dissertations cited as a way of boosting your visibility within your specialty.
Presses may eventually decide to ignore Pro Quest dissertations and rely on the degree to which you have revised your material.
Obviously, such changes would affect the significance of your dissertation’s being available online.
For the present, though, none of these outcomes is assured, and the more radical are not likely to happen soon, so protect yourselves!
Ideally, you revise your manuscript during the first two years of your tenure clock.
If you are lucky, you land your manuscript at a press within the next four years. Only then should you let your dissertation go on line. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ UPDATE by Jacqueline Barlow: While there is still some debate over the merits of publishing one’s dissertation or doctoral thesis online, the experiences of researchers and institutions in the years since Professor Hume’s post have provided a more nuanced view of the issue. But a look at the available data indicates that electronic dissertations and theses or ETDs constitute no real obstacle to publication.
A job hunter at my school took a chapter from his recently defended dissertation and turned it into an article.
He sent it off and the journal wrote back to ask whether this was from a chapter in a thesis on Pro Quest; if so, they would not look at it because they considered it already published.
Refusal to create that mechanism could destroy the careers of its humanities Ph Ds.
This may prove to be an issue that dies without much consequence.