Pushing the Boundaries of Open Access
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The Open Access (OA) movement has become increasingly important in shaping the ways that academic libraries provide services to support the creation, organization, management and use of digital contents. The University of North Texas (UNT) has embraced the open access movement and seeks to bring scholarship to the widest possible audience. Our usage statistics show that users from more than 200 countries around the world visit the UNT Digital Libraries’ diverse collections. Theses and dissertations represent a wealth of scholarly and artistic content created by masters and doctoral students in the degree-seeking process. The University of North Texas (UNT) was one of the first three American universities to require electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) for graduation, and by 1999 all theses and dissertations submitted by students in pursuit of advanced degrees were digital. We are intensely proud of the work of our students. Currently, more than 90% of UNT’s ETDs are freely accessible to the public via the UNT Digital Library, while less than10% have been restricted by their authors for use by the UNT community only. In light of supporting academic institutions initiative to advance digital scholarship for worldwide research, we started a new project contacting UNT alumni who restricted their ETDs in perpetuity. We contacted about 700 ETD authors, asking their permission to remove the restrictions from their theses or dissertations and make them openly available in the UNT Digital Library. This poster provides a preliminary analysis of the UNT‘s efforts to make students’ work accessible to a wider global audience.