Free Culture and Open Theses

As you know I am looking for real Open Access theses (not fuzzy open). Where have I found the most so far? Not in any of the highly supported repositories but in Harvard College Thesis Repository part of Harvard College Free Culture – here’s their splash page…

Welcome to the Harvard College Thesis Repository

Welcome to the Harvard College Thesis Repository, a project of Harvard College Free Culture! Here Harvard students make their senior theses accessible to the world, for the advancement of scholarship and the widening of open access to academic research.
Too many academics still permit publishers to restrict access to their work, needlessly limiting—cutting in half, or worsereadership, research impact, and research productivity. For more background, check out our op-ed article in The Harvard Crimson.
If you’ve written a thesis in Harvard College, you’re invited to take a step toward open access right here, by uploading your thesis for the world to read. (If you’re heading for an academic career, this can even be a purely selfish move—a first taste of the greater readership and greater impact that comes with open access.)
If you’re interested in what the students at (ahem) the finest university in the world have to say at the culmination of their undergraduate careers, look around.

There are 28 theses here and – unlike the green fuzzy repositories – all have been deposited under CC-BY (i.e. completely compliant with BOAI). The web page didn’t make the license position clear but I got the following clarification today:

Yes–all users of

our repository agreed to a CC-by license when they uploaded their
theses.  As part of the submission process, all users agreed to the
following terms:
“I am submitting this thesis, my original work, under the terms of
the Creative Commons Attribution License, version 2.5: roughly, I
grant everyone the freedom to share and adapt this work, so long as
they credit me accurately. I have read and understood this license.”
We will work to make this more clear in the metadata for each thesis.

Well done Harvard College Free Culture – you have made an important step forward. Convince students in other institutions to follow your lead and the battle is won.
(Not surprisingly there are no chemistry theses but I am sure that can be fixed).

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