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Music Dissertations, Theses, and Recording Projects: a guide: Open Access

Why is open access important for Hawkeyes to understand?

Iowa Dissertations and Theses are published as open access documents in the University's institutional repository, Iowa Research Online.

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What is Open Access?

Open access is when information is provided to the public for free and with no restrictions on use through online distribution. 

Here are two videos that explain open access and its role in the academy, in particular for scientists.


How were dissertations and theses distributed before the creation of Iowa Research Online?

Previously, a dissertation or thesis was bound and a single copy was placed in the Music Library, while another copy was sent to the national repository for theses, ProQuest, where they were microfilmed. If you wanted to obtain a copy of a dissertation or thesis, you could attempt to get the shelf copy from university where it was written, or from a university that had purchased a physical or microfilmed copy from ProQuest. They could also personally purchase a copy of the document from ProQuest.

How are dissertations and theses distributed today?

When it was possible for documents to be stored and shared online, ProQuest converted the microfilms into pdfs and created a database of theses and dissertations. The database requires a paid subscription to access. Universities no longer wished to collect a print copy of a student's dissertation or thesis, but instead an electronic copy. They also wanted to make that copy freely available online, and so platforms like Iowa Research Online were made to store university-produced research. 

Today, students submit their final deposit to the Graduate College using a ProQuest form. The University receives a copy which is posted in Iowa Research Online. To learn more about this process, visit the Graduate College website.