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The American Historical Association Says: We Need to Keep People from Reading History Dissertations!

AHA Statement on Policies Regarding the Embargoing of Completed History PhD Dissertations:

The American Historical Association strongly encourages graduate programs and university libraries to… embargo… completed history PhD dissertations in digital form for… six years…. University presses are reluctant to offer a publishing contract to newly minted PhDs whose dissertations… [are] available… online sources…. Students who must post their dissertations online immediately after they receive their degree can find themselves at a serious disadvantage in their effort to get their first book published….

In the past… dissertations were circulated through inter-library loan in the form of a hard copy… gaining access… took time and special effort or… money. Now, more and more university libraries are archiving dissertations in digital form… making the digital one accessible….

History has been and remains a book-based discipline, and the requirement that dissertations be published online poses a tangible threat to the interests and careers of junior scholars in particular…. With the online publication of dissertations, historians will find it increasingly difficult to persuade publishers to make the considerable capital investments necessary to the production of scholarly monographs.