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The PhD thesis as a virtual guest house.

Macduff, Colin


Colin Macduff


PhD theses. Who reads them? Within UK nursing the answer is: hardly anybody, save a few PhD supervisors, students and enamoured academics. Since the millennium, the Royal College of Nursing’s Steinberg Collection of over 1000 hard bound theses has seen around 250-300 episodes of access each year. This low level of thesis usage is also characteristic of university libraries in the UK (Copeland and Penman 2004), where processes for accessing these tombstone-like tomes are often tortuous. However, libraries throughout the world are increasingly making electronically formatted theses (e‐theses) freely accessible on‐line via web‐based Institutional Repositories (Copeland et al. 2005). This offers an opportunity to transform PhD access and use. North America, Australia, Sweden, Germany and the UK have been in the vanguard of development. Following a slow start, UK nursing is gradually waking up to this opportunity. At the time of writing, within Scotland, there are five nursing PhD theses available electronically. This article draws on recent experience of actively disseminating a new nursing PhD electronically (Macduff 2007), and on many nights spent in guest houses during academic research work.


MACDUFF, C. 2008. The PhD thesis as a virtual guest house. Journal of clinical nursing [online], 17(18), pages 2381-2383. Available from:

Journal Article Type Editorial
Acceptance Date Aug 13, 2008
Online Publication Date Aug 13, 2008
Publication Date Sep 30, 2008
Deposit Date May 22, 2015
Publicly Available Date May 22, 2015
Journal Journal of clinical nursing
Print ISSN 0962-1067
Electronic ISSN 1365-2702
Publisher Wiley Open Access
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 17
Issue 18
Pages 2381-2383
Public URL


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