From the Chronicle of Higher Education, December 12 issue:
Are you a science graduate student worried that making your thesis or dissertation available online will hurt your chances of getting it published? Gail McMillan, director of the digital library and archives at Virginia Tech, has good news for you. In a recent survey of science-journal editors, 87 percent indicated they would consider articles drawn from openly accessible electronic theses and dissertations, or ETD's.
Ms. McMillan helped run the survey under the auspices of the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations, a group that promotes the use and preservation of ETD's. She presented the survey results here this week at the fall meeting of the Coalition for Networked Information.
The 2012 survey is a companion to one last year that polled journal editors in the social sciences, arts, and humanities. According to the 2011 results, more than 82 percent of the journal editors would consider manuscripts revised from openly accessible ETD's.
Many students and their faculty advisers, however, cling to the idea that publishers will balk at publishing work if it's already freely available online. Ms. McMillan has found that those fears cut across disciplinary lines. Decisions about whether to restrict access to electronic work tend to be driven by anecdote, she said, and faculty members tend to play it safe when dispensing career advice.
"I think faculty want to err on the side of caution," she said. "I wish they would look at the data."