UK: Loss of access to EThOS archive of 600,000 doctoral dissertations causes major disruption for PhD students

“PhD students have described “stumbling through” their research after losing access to the UK’s national database of doctoral theses, as disruption to the British Library’s digital archive following a devastating cyberattack enters its third month. […]

Concern among many researchers focuses on the loss of the EThOS archive of 600,000 doctoral dissertations. About half of this site’s users are postgraduates. […]

Academic librarians have also expressed hope that the service will be restored soon. With EThOS now regarded as one of the UK’s great open access resources, its loss would be “a harsh blow to research communities both in the UK and globally”, said Caroline Ball, academic librarian (business, law and social sciences) at the University of Derby.

“EThOS is the only free, open access, large-scale, aggregated source of UK dissertations available to researchers,” explained Ms Ball. “There are institutional repositories and subscription databases, but nothing else that does both for UK theses and researchers.”

EThOS is “also often the only place to find details of many pre-digital era, print-only theses – many of which are in fact digitised on behalf of universities by the British Library as a result of requests via EThOS,” added Ms Ball. “While much of the research itself is archived and duplicated elsewhere, there is no comparable source to bring together, promote and highlight open access to the crucial and innovative PhD research taking place within UK higher education institutions.””

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