Dr. Kim Foale

Researcher and developer. Thoughts on senses, data, access, and equality.

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June 12, 2014 · academic web

Publishing PhD theses

PhDs take years, are an "original contribution to knowledge", and are generally paid for by the taxpayer. They are then generally read by a handful of people -- generally a supervisor or two, and your examiners -- and then left to rot as a PDF on a university document repository of some kind.

I don't think this is good enough.

"Open Data" has increasingly come to mean large, public data sets accessible by APIs. I argue that in addition to this, we should be thinking about publishing our research in the most open and beautiful ways possible. Publishing as, for example, HTML5 in addition to PDF gives several benefits.

Therefore I will be attempting to convert my PhD thesis to HTML5 over the next few weeks, keeping these things in mind. The output from my current editor, LyX, is not nearly as clean as I would like, so this may take some time: hopefully with a vision of what a PhD can look like online though, I can create a positive blueprint for future tools.

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