#okfn Proposal for Open Theses and workshop at EURODOC 2011

One of the several functions of the Open Knowledge Foundation (http://www.okfn.org) is to support bottom-up projects in making knowledge Open and usable. Recently we have proposed an OKF project in Open Theses and Daniel Mietchen, an OKF volunteer from Jena, DE has proposed an exciting, valuable, and  realistic activity. He’s suggested a workshop on Open Theses next April at the annual conference of EURODOC http://eurodoc.net/ , to take place in Vilnius from March 31 till April 4, 2011. [1]. Note that Daniel has considerable experience in this area having been involved in Euro projects and meetings about graduates.

Open Theses aims to create a bibliography of Theses across the world, based largely on the technology and practice developed in the #jiscopenbib project (see blog: http://openbiblio.net/). The project will address bibliographic metadata which includes :

  • author, title and other normal bibliographic material;
  • thesis-specific material (degree, institution, etc.);
  • Open-specific metadata (e.g. what rights does the thesis carry – explicitly or implicitly)
  • packaging/containment of supplementary material
  • format of components.

The major problem in doing this at present is that:

  • there are often no comprehensive national or international bibliographies of theses
  • where there are they are often commercial
  • even when they are not the rights are not specified.

Open Theses will address this by (a) engaging with national and institutional bodies  (b) crowdsourcing, probably through graduates/graduands. The value of the OKF is that it naturally crosses national boundaries.

Open Theses has two roles/motivation for the “Open” concept:

  1. can the metadata be made Open? Bibliographic metadata must be available for re-use, editing, republication, etc. without restriction.
  2. is the content Open? Most students and most institutions don’t label their theses explicitly so we expect relatively few cases initially. We hope that this will highlight the question and alert graduate offices and archivers to its importance.

For the proposed workshop we’d like to introduce elements of (a) making something happen and (b) fun. The theme, therefore is provisionally:

“which European country or institution has the highest proportion of Open Theses?”

This allows all countries to compete. At the end of the workshop we should have a collection of Open Theses (i.e. Open metadata, some of which points to Open content)

Please let us know if you like this idea, wish to participate, have (bibliographic) material to contribute, etc.


[1] The current drafts of the program and the first circular are at

Three parallel workshops are
foreseen so far: Integrity, Supervision and Gender.

[2] For a workshop on
Open Science that Daniel gave this year, see
http://eurodoc2010.doktorat.at/category/science-20/ .

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2 Responses to #okfn Proposal for Open Theses and workshop at EURODOC 2011

  1. Pingback: Twitter Trackbacks for Unilever Centre for Molecular Informatics, Cambridge - #okfn Proposal for Open Theses and workshop at EURODOC 2011 « petermr’s blog [cam.ac.uk] on Topsy.com

  2. The drafting of the proposal takes place at [http://openwetware.org/wiki/User:Daniel_Mietchen/Notebook/Open_Science/2010/09/16 OpenWetWare]. Perhaps the recording part of the workshop as well.

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