Open Access To Graduate Theses And Dissertations In Turkey
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Graduate theses and dissertations are one of the most important research outputs of universities. Yet, it is often difficult to find and provide access to them. Although it is now possible to get access to full-texts of theses and dissertations through the Internet, access problems still persist. In this paper, we investigate the issues of open access to graduate theses and dissertations in Turkey. We first reviewed the collection of the Higher Education Council Theses Center to find out what percentage of theses is accessible full-text. We then, through a questionnaire survey, collected the views of the authors of theses who opted to restrict access to their theses temporarily. Access to about one third of theses is restricted. As it was difficult to reach the authors of older theses and get their consent to make their theses available online, most of the restricted theses belong to pre-2006 period. An overwhelming majority (94%) of the authors restricted access to their theses because they wanted to publish papers based on their theses while two thirds (63%) did so because they feared of their theses being plagiarized. Yet, 81% of them said they support open access to theses and dissertations in general. Findings suggest that the issue of open access to theses needs to be dealt with from a broader perspective. We discuss the various access issues on the basis of our findings and offer some suggestions to solve them.