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Open Access: You and OA

This LibGuide introduces the basics of Open Access (OA), the benefits of OA, OA at the Nazarbayev University, and what you can do to promote OA.

According to Open Access Policy of Nazarbayev University graduate students are required to deposit a copy of their thesis into NU Repository. Detailed information about the deposit process can be found on the NU LibGuide. Digital Center of NU also holds regular seminars covering the deposit process and choosing the most appreciated type of file access. 

OA Policy

But ... should I make my thesis Open Access?

Deciding whether to make your thesis Open Access can prove a challenging decision. Whilst there are many well-documented advantages, many students hold concerns particularly around the possibility of this jeopardizing future opportunity to publish from the thesis. The following paragraphs address some of these benefits and concerns.

What are the advantages of making my thesis Open Access?

Depositing your thesis OA to the NU Repository results in it being indexed in Google, Google Scholar and other discovery tools. This means that your thesis can be discovered and read easily by students, researchers, practitioners and other users all over the world.

In 2017, the release of Stephen Hawking's thesis, "Properties of expanding universes", in the University of Cambridge repository caused a global media sensation, crashing the university's website. Hawking's thesis has been downloaded close to one million times since its release. It also has an Altmetric score of 2145. Altmetrics measure the volume of online discussion surrounding research outputs, assessing the volume of tweets, Wikipedia cites, blogs and news outlets.

You don't, however, need to be a household name to have your work accessed and read by others. Currently the most popular item in the NU Repository is a thesis by a graduated student Nazarbayev University School of Engineering Department of Civil Engineering, Yerassyl Yertay, "Implementation methodologies of BIM in construction projects of Kazakhstan". The thesis has been downloaded more than 1,900 times by readers in countries including Canada, Germany, France, United States and Thailand. The availability of his thesis means his research has reached and influenced the thinking of many individual researchers and practitioners around the world.

When should I be concerned about making my thesis open?

Whilst concerns surrounding "prior publication" appear to be overstated, there are situations where you should consider embargoing and publishing your thesis in gated access, redacting content, or placing material unsuited to open access in a closed appendix. These scenarios typically involve politically sensitive material, material to be patented, or third party copyright material. To learn more about these options you can contact our team.

What can I do to promote Open Access?

Research resources cost a lot and add to the increasing costs of higher education. As an individual student or as part of a student organization, you can inform and encourage others to consider Open Access, Open Data, and Open Education options.

What can students do to support OA in their education and their future careers?

  • Advocate for the use of Open Textbooks and Open Educational Resources in your courses--ones you enroll in and ones you teach;
  • Deposit course papers, presentations, theses, dissertations, and other works you create to the NU Repository;
  • Apply Creative Commons licensing to your scholarship so that others can easily share and reuse your works (while still giving you credit and allowing you to retain ownership of your work);
  • Publish in an Open Access journal in your discipline;
  • Talk about Open Access with your fellow students, advisors, and professors and discuss how Open Access can impact your research and career;
  • Participate in Open Access Week events.
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