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Open Access Week 2018

22 October 2018

Theses on ARRO

This year, for Open Access Week 2018, many scholarly communications practitioners are highlighting their open access doctoral theses in their repositories, and the positive impact these have had. This is in part inspired by last year’s big open access story: Professor Stephen Hawking’s PhD thesis was made publicly available on University of Cambridge’s repository, Apollo, and subsequently brought the repository to a crashing halt as everyone flooded in to read it!

Here at ARU, we obviously don’t have quite as exciting a story as that, but in fact some of the theses we’ve made available on ARRO are amongst the most downloaded items in the repository, and have been accessed by people far and wide across the world! With this in mind, we would like to give them a bit of a spotlight on this “Thesis Thursday”.


Keith Gale (2013) An evaluation of performance improvement within public sector construction framework agreements.

Dr Keith Gale is Chief Engineer at Hampshire County Council, and a Visiting Fellow at ARU. His thesis has been one of our most popular outputs on ARRO. He says:

One of the reasons why I undertook the Professional Doctorate was to share my experiences and knowledge gained through professional practice combined with academic rigour and study. My industry background (construction) and profession (surveying) is one where research and results are limited and I wanted to use my thesis to explore emerging topics. Upon completion of my thesis my intention was always to make the conclusions and results available for others - so that they could enquire further. Since publication of my work I have used the recommendations in my professional practice by incorporating the economic theories into multi-million pound construction contracts. I have also used examples from my thesis for presentations to graduate and post-graduate students at a number of Universities in the South of England. The Open Access approach encourages critical thinking by allowing others to question aspects of research and build upon published studies. I have used this myself with publication of my own successive papers.”

Read it here:


Amelia Oldfield (2003) Music therapy with children on the autistic spectrum approaches derived from clinical practice and research.

Prof Amelia Oldfield’s thesis is a good example of an older work being given a new, wider audience after being made OA. Prof Oldfield is Professor of Music Therapy at ARU, and commented the following:

Although I completed my PhD research on music therapy with children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) in 2004, I have recently revisited my results in 2017 when I set up a follow up-project to interview ten families who had received treatment from me as part of my earlier doctoral research. A documentary film incorporating video clips from both the early music therapy sessions and the interviews 16 years later has been made, and should be available to the general public in 2019. It has been a fascinating process looking both back and forward in this way, and has made me reflect on ways of improving my current clinical music therapy practice.”

Read it here:


Paulette A. Luff (2010) Ways of seeing and knowing children: a case study of early years practitioners' understandings and uses of child observation during their first year of employment.

Dr Paulette Luff’s thesis is one of our older deposits, but has received constant usage which shows the continued relevance of the content to students, researchers and practitioners who work with young children in this country. Dr Luff is the Course Leader for the MA in Early Childhood Education at ARU, and had this to say:

When you are making decisions about writing your EdD, PrD or PhD, and developing your thesis, it can be really useful to look at examples and see how other people have approached the task. When I was undertaking my own doctoral study, a case study of newly qualified early years practioners’ understandings and uses of child observation, I found it very valuable to be able to read other people’s work - especially looking at their approaches to reporting qualitative data analysis. I am a strong supporter of open access to research and so I am really pleased to find out that people are downloading and using my PhD thesis - and I hope that they find it helpful!

Read it here:


Michael Waugh (2015) ‘Music that actually matters’? Post-internet musicians, retromania and authenticity in online popular musical milieux.

Dr Michael’s Waugh thesis has reached a very wide audience – being downloaded by people in the United States, the UK, Australia, Germany, Canada, Russia, S. Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Brazil, and Singapore amongst others!

From LinkedIn: “My thesis draws on the notion of the Post-Internet as a framework for analysing identity and music online, studying the impact of today’s omnipresent digital devices on society, culture and the self. The Post-Internet refers to the symbiotic relationship that people have with technological devices, illuminating collapsing boundaries between digitality and physicality. My thesis analyses media practitioners and musicians whose output embraces the Post-Internet and the potential for social media as a platform for exploring contemporary identity, and incorporates interviews with fifteen key artists.

Read it here:


As we can see, impact and reach of PhD theses once they’ve been made open access can be consistent and far-reaching. We are pleased that people around the world find value in the work produced by our institution’s bright minds – and that we’ve opened up what may not have been accessible to them otherwise! 

If you’re curious about what other institutions have been doing with their open access theses, check out #ThesisThursday on Twitter! For more general Open Access Week 2018 topics and events, you can also follow #OAWeek18.

Topics: ARRO