PhD Theses and Online Availability in India, Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt
PS. India of today has exceptions/unique characteristics even in academic scenario. The extracts below, very nicely pinpoint the crux of the problem as far as the 'e-access' to the same is concerned. In terms of marketing and outreach by personal efforts of the individuals, there are many Indian dissertations in the market (many customized to meet the market; and hence no exact statistics will be available to quantify), some of these go out to reach a wider audience, with a permission of the university authorities. More and more dissertations are appearing via scholarly open presses--beware of what the critics say about this open source market. Ask me more about this pattern/approach.
"Locking away awarded PhD theses instead of publishing them for public and academic knowledge only encourages mediocrity and enhances poor academic practices. It also propagates unhealthy hierarchy among universities and hinders the advancement of knowledge. ..."
"Most Indian librarians are reluctant to allow others to consult and borrow earlier PhD theses probably because of the belief that it will enhance the chances of academic dishonesty. Plagiarism is indeed an important issue, and it has been difficult to hinder it effectively in India where the use of detection softwares (such as Turnitin) is still rare, excepting in better-funded central universities like the JNU."
"I am fully aware of the inequities in the world of knowledge production, and the mutual exclusion of different actors in it who seem to converse within their respective silos of knowledge. An argument, often made by academics, based in the less developed world, is that the unfair use of their research (“we are treated as sources of data by them”, “they take our stuff to theorise”) by their academic counterparts located in more developed countries. Such grievances are often genuine; I remember when I taught in Burdwan University in West Bengal, my 1990 book In Search of a Homeland on McCluskiegunge, the homeland planned by the Anglo-Indians in early 1930s, was used by a renowned British-based film company to make a film on the same name. Someone from the company’s local office visited my home, took copies of all the old documents and maps, never to return them and never to even acknowledge that the film’s name was borrowed from that of my book..." [sections in this article include: Different Academic Cultures, “Confidentiality Culture”] Continue reading: PhD Theses and Online Availability in India @ Economic and Political Weekly
On the same shelf:
- What Ails Doctoral Research in Library and Information Science in India? by M.P. Satija, DESIDOC Journal of Library & Information Technology, Vol. 30, No. 5, September 2010, pp. 61-66 @ International and Comparative Librarianship Blog -- Abstract: The paper discusses research in library and information science in India. It delves into the history of library and information science research crediting the institutionalisation of research to Ranganathan. While presenting the growth of the research, the article discusses the factors responsible for poor standards. It also provides an international comparison by citing examples at places.
- The IFLA/FAIFE PhD Project, by Stuart Hamilton. Opening quote: "To what extent can libraries ensure free, equal and unhampered access to Internet-accessible information resources from a global perspective?"
- Do Open Access Electronic Theses and Dissertations Diminish Publishing Opportunities in the Social Sciences and Humanities? College and Research Libraries by ML Ramirez and others.