Cool toys pic of the day – Open Thesis

Open Thesis:
http://www.openthesis.org/

I know of several open thesis repositories, but I’m not sure if I’ve seen this one before, even though it is dated 2009.

It looks like they basically scrape several of the other OA thesis repositories, but incompletely. For example, for the University of Michigan they only have 8 theses while 12260 appear in Deep Blue (our institutional repository). For Louisiana State Uuniversity, Open Thesis has over 5000. It shows on the home page the newest additions, which are dated 2011.

I am so far unable to determine how the search results are organized. It isn’t alphabetical by author or title. It isn’t chronological. It isn’t by school name. There is no way to sort results by any of these categories. Testing the currency of the content, I tried searching nanotechnology, which is a popular topic. They have 2500+ results, but spot checks through the fifty some pages of results showed most of those between 2004 and 2008. I saw none after 2011. Frankly, I had better luck with a simple Google search.

Google Search: nanotechnology thesis filetype:pdf
http://is.gd/guKB4R

Full link:
https://www.google.com/#hl=en&tbo=d&sclient=psy-ab&q=nanotechnology+thesis+filetype:pdf&oq=nanotechnology+thesis+filetype:pdf&gs_l=hp.3…21303.23534.1.23958.15.14.0.0.0.7.195.1889.0j14.14.0.les%3Bepsugrpq2high..0.0…1.1.2.hp._XBfMJHsFYs&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.42080656,d.aWM&fp=109a055c9b2c7613&biw=1169&bih=860

The advanced search is useful, but not at all intuitive for the general public. It requires typing arcane codes into the search field followed by an old fashioned database search construction comprised of parens and quote marks. For example, and author search must be constructed like this: AU(“Beloney-Morrison”).

I checked for any information about who is behind it, and all such information is well hidden. They have a contact us page, but even for form submission has hidden where the info goes. Also, for a site that supposedly promotes open access to information, they have a full copyright statement, “all rights reserved”, which is inconsistent.

I did eventually find that the domain is registered to James Ryley, presumably the same James Ryley behind FreePatentsOnline.com and BioMedSearch.com and SumoBrain Solutions.

So, for what it’s worth, it’s there, but there is absolutely no transparency to the site, it is outdated, no support, no signs of trustworthiness, and you are almost certainly better off using your own school’s institutional repository. If your school does not have one, then do as so many other folk have done, and upload your these to Slideshare or Scribd, either one of which has more more power for making your work discoverable than does “Open Thesis.”

Here’s an example from Slideshare.

Kshivets O. Expert Systems for Diagnosis and Prognosis of Malignant
Neoplasms: http://www.slideshare.net/Kshivets/kshivets-o-expert-systems-of-diagnosis-and-prognosis-of-malignant-neoplasms

Here is an example from Scribd.

Rahiminejad S. Micromachined ridge gap waveguides for sub millimeter and millimeter wave applications.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/79088725/Thesis-Sofia-Rahiminejad-pp1-24

They sure look like theses to me.

Take home message? Open is as open does. If they say they are open, but their information and licenses don’t support that, don’t trust them.

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