This morning the New York Times introduced to a wide audience the recent AHA statement recommending that PhD recipients be given more control over the digital dissemination of their dissertations. The article covers the controversy fairly and addresses the many misrepresentations that have been circulating about the statement. However, as seems to be so often the case, the Times headline isn’t quite accurate: the AHA neither seeks nor recommends a delay in posting dissertations; the Council’s statement merely recommends that students be given a choice.
The multiple voices in this article are a reminder that this conversation should continue. The reporter has paid careful attention to what the AHA statement actually says, and offers concrete examples of doctoral students who are likely to be affected by university policies on electronic publication. We hope readers will also spend some time with William Cronon’s blog post on AHA Today, which further contextualizes the issue and looks closely at some recently collected data that have been used by both supporters and critics. We also strongly recommend a thoughtful essay by Rick Anderson, interim dean of the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah.
We look forward to continued collegial discussion of this issue and all of the significant related issues this statement has raised.