Over the summer there was a minor storm of statements, posts, and discussions concerning how and when Ph.D. dissertations are made public. For my thoughts on that previous string of conversations, see this previous post – “On Embargoing Dissertations.”
Somewhat late to the game, the Organization of American Historians has voiced support for the rights of recent Ph.D.s.
“The OAH Executive Board strongly supports the right of authors to make their own decisions about the manner in which their doctoral dissertations will be published and circulated. The board urges history departments and graduate school administrations to support that right without qualification, understanding that embargoed dissertations will be available for public consultation upon the expiration of the designated embargo period.”
My own decisions about making my work available online may run counter to decisions other have made, but I explained the peculiarities of my situation last summer. I again raise voice against any requirement that forces Ph.D.s to make their work immediately available online. I support the embargo and thank the OAH for putting their weight behind this position. Perhaps their 5 month delay was a good thing. Now we can all re-investigate, and talk about the issue again amongst ourselves and with University administrations.