Graduate students sometimes express consternation about whether the presence of their dissertation in an open access institutional repository (IR) will harm their chances of being able to publish the manuscript as a book. Several studies have addressed the question from different perspectives, but the avenue of examining what had actually been published had not been explored.
This study examines books published in 2014 and 2015 that were listed as dissertations in one large book vendor database. A list of books was downloaded and searched in both ProQuest’s Dissertations & Theses Global database and Google to identify a matching dissertation.
Only a small percentage of books published as dissertations were found in ProQuest and then subsequently in IRs. The number of libraries holding book titles with corresponding dissertations in IRs dropped between 2014 and 2015. The lists of publishers who published dissertations as books was very similar between 2014 and 2015 data and included large, commercial publishers.
Students should be aware that only a small percentage of the total number of dissertations produced in a year are subsequently published as books, that the time between dissertation and book publication is substantial, and that some subject areas are more likely to be published than others.
These findings provide nuance to the discussions of dissertations in open access repositories and a starting point to monitor trends in this area. They should also provide librarians who are providing supplementary guidance to graduate students with information about the publishing landscape.