Book Chapter or Section
Most doctoral students are required to produce a dissertation that makes an original contribution to their field of study in order to fulfill their degree requirements. The scholarly nature of this requirement informs how students and faculty approach doctoral research, but universities often treat the dissertations themselves merely as student records, not scholarly contributions. Librarians, however, are uniquely situated to work with graduate students as emerging participants in the scholarly communication ecosystem and help them prepare their dissertations for an outside audience. Librarians have the expertise to advise students with questions regarding copyright, licensing, fair use, and authors’ rights, as well as the awareness to spot such issues even when students are not aware of them.
The importance of treating graduate students as scholarly contributors was made evident when our institution, the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, moved responsibility for dissertation deposit from an administrative role to a librarian position. In this chapter, we offer as a case study our experience transforming the deposit process into a scholarly communication consultation with a copyright-literate librarian. We also provide prompts for considering ways to insert librarian-led scholarly communication consultations into the graduation checklist, regardless of which office manages dissertation deposit.