Pro Quest stopped selling dissertations on Amazon in 2014 following a number of complaints.
People forget that it is a long-standing practice for hard copies of doctoral theses to be made available in libraries for anyone to read, Fister said by email.
“One would think that I was Oliver Twist asking for more porridge or I had said that I was writing my opus in crayon,” he wrote.
Requiring students to publish dissertations, particularly online, may put vulnerable students who have been victimized, threatened or stalked at risk, said Schlesinger.
Students should be made aware of the requirement to publish with Pro Quest at the beginning of their studies, said Schlesinger.
He also objected to the college encouraging students to have their work professionally edited to meet Pro Quest’s standards, which he considers an unfair and costly expense.Aside from privacy concerns, Schlesinger believes that as the author of his dissertation, he should have the right to decide how his work is published and distributed.He also questions whether it is defensible under contract law for colleges to make the publication of a dissertation a degree requirement. He said his experience at the college has been mostly positive, but it recently took an unexpected turn. He defended his dissertation proposal, “Ethics Education in the Undergraduate Curriculum: An Action Research Analysis,” earlier this year.“If the university insists on publication in exceptional circumstances where publication is objectively inappropriate, then I believe courts should deal with that situation under traditional contract doctrines,” he said.The requirement for students to upload their doctoral theses to Pro Quest is “bordering on universal” at U. institutions, said Rick Anderson, associate dean for collections and scholarly communications at the Marriott Library at the University of Utah.He believes it could also jeopardize the safety of people mentioned in the research, even if they are anonymized. “My legal -- and moral -- concerns about this practice stem from the issues it raises with privacy and intellectual property rights, as well as contract law,” he said.“It’s public proof of your attainment of knowledge and your membership in the discipline.It was never controversial so far as I know,” she said.