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J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library


In this presentation, Debra Charlesworth, Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs and Annelise Doll, Scholarly Communications and Repositories Librarian, both of Michigan Technological University, discuss their investigation into Creative Commons licensing for the open-access master’s theses, master’s reports, and dissertations (ETDRs) hosted on Digital Commons @ Michigan Tech, the University's institutional repository. In the spring of 2021, a colleague approached Doll, repository administrator, curious about whether there had ever been a conversation regarding Creative Commons licensing for the ETDRs. This led to a larger conversation with Charlesworth, who has served as the lead administrator of the ETDR collection since the repository’s launch in 2014. Complicating any question of licensing is the fact that the entire collection isn’t available open access - some works are restricted to campus access only. This mixed-access approach is one that Digital Commons has accommodated well, though changes to metadata must be carefully considered. Thankfully, from a technical standpoint, the application of a Creative Commons license is possible using several approaches. The larger issue is that this would complicate the submission process for students and approval process for faculty. At this point in their academic career, a lesson on when, where, how, and why to apply a Creative Commons license may be viewed as an added stressor by students, rather than a benefit. Students already sign a non-exclusive licensing agreement to make eligible works available open-access on the repository. Does adding only one, or a limited number of Creative Commons licensing options in the name of simplifying the decision and administrative process have ethical implications? And how receptive will faculty be to this idea when issues of copyright, open access, and creative commons licensing may not be well understood? The Library and Graduate School will explore these questions over the coming months and share what’s discovered.

Publication Title

United States Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Association 2021 Conference



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