The Internet can be a powerful tool for finding new scientific articles, theses and dissertations. Google Scholar, Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses are only some of the many web-tools that help researchers, scholars and students to gain access to scientific papers. However, most of the available solutions are in some way limited, or mix open access papers with “closed” ones. Happily, a new tool has been recently developed that can be very useful for people looking uniquely for open access resources.
Open Access Theses and Dissertations (OATD) is a web-tool that helps (no surprises here) to locate open access theses and dissertations. OATD works by harvesting metadata records using the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH), a protocol incorporated into the most commonly adopted institutional repository platforms including ePrints, DSpace and Digital Commons. Metadata in OATD comes from over 800 colleges, universities, and research institutions; the tool currently indexes over 1.8 million theses and dissertations. All of them are Open Access and freely accessible, as well as OATD itself which can be used for free.
Open Access Theses and Dissertations looks like a simple search engine with additional filters, such as “filed”, “language”, “country” and “date”. After typing a keyword, the site shows the results and additional options – record details, share button and similar records. Besides that, OATD categorizes results by the place of origin, date of publishing, field, degree and language.
OATD is a very interesting and useful tool for all researchers, scholars and students who are looking for Open Access resources. It is simple to use and quite powerful. Of course, it is always worth double-checking the results with other tools, however OATD can be quite handy; without a doubt it is worth a try.