Aim of the FUSE Blog | Free US ETDs (FUSE)
"Free US ETDs (FUSE) is a new scholarly communication blog dedicated to a singular cause: advancing free and open access (OA) to American graduate research. While other OA resources focus on promoting Open Access to the scholarly journal literature (even the graduate-student-focused Right to Research Coalition limits its campaigns to OA for faculty research), FUSE focuses on open access and publishing issues that specifically surround graduate research and other student works. Why is OA for graduate student research such an important cause at this time? The answer is complex but worth detailing. Unlike most other nations, American universities have historically depended on a commercial third party to disseminate graduate research (i. e., doctoral dissertations and, to a far lesser extent, masters’ theses). That circumstance may have made sense back in the mid-1950′s, when microfilm was the only cost-effective technology to duplicate and distribute lengthy academic volumes of narrow interest, but in the digital age that dependency no longer makes sense. Why should potential beneficiaries of graduate research have to look (and pay for) a substantial portion of American student works behind a commercial paywall? ... Graduate works were never intended to represent monetizable content around which a for-profit enterprise would stake its business model... By contrast, other countries outside the U.S. have devised systems for freely discovering, accessing and obtaining graduate works as part of their national information infrastructure. Examples include Theses Canada, the UK’s Electronic Theses Online Service, the DART Europe Theses Portal, the Trove service of the Australian National Library, and more. Moreover, many institutions and consortia around the globe contribute their metadata for theses and dissertations to the Union Catalog of the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations, a non-profit federated search system. The system is managed in collaboration with OCLC, VTLS, and Scirus – third-party information providers who donate their search platforms for the greater good of the OA cause. This not-for-profit collaborative demonstrates that Open Access to graduate works can be provided without a commercial middleman. But, because not all US institutions choose to contribute their dissertations and theses to the NDLTD catalog, American graduate research is underrepresented in the NDLTD system.
As a consequence, considerable portions of the American graduate research corpus remain locked up for pay-only access. This regrettable situation can be changed. .."