stats on the first anniversary of the electronic publication of my PhD thesis

It’s the first anniversary of the electronic publication of my PhD thesis!

I explained the value of online access in a post four months after my thesis went online. I just thought I would give an update on the numbers of readers and styles of reading (and the inability to identify trends in the subjects of reading).

Numbers of readers and styles of reading

There have been more than 345 downloads and more than 3,250 online uses:

  • more than 50 downloads of the official and print versions from Conflict Antiquities;
  • more than 270 downloads of the official copy from Sussex Research Online (SRO), which was offline for about two months (7-14 of the downloads via Conflict Antiquities);
  • I don’t know how many downloads there have been, if any, from the British Library’s online archive;
  • more than 25 downloads of the official and print versions from Scribd (0-5 of them via Conflict Antiquities); and
  • more than 3,250 online uses of the documents on Scribd.

(I’ve also e-mailed it to some people, and I know a pre-examination paper copy was passed on at the Institute of Archaeology (IoA) in London, then deposited at the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute (CAARI) in Nicosia; but obviously I don’t know how many people have received it via e-mail, or browsed it in the library.)

One study suggested that print theses and dissertations (PTDs) were looked at about once in four years, while electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) were downloaded around 450 times in one year. So, in terms of downloads, my thesis is on the side of the bell curve that’s passed over in awkward silence.

Still, those numbers were from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Over the past year, my thesis has been the second-most downloaded doctoral thesis, and seventh-most downloaded e-print, from the University of Sussex. It is the all-time most downloaded e-print from Sussex Law School; and the all-time fourth-most downloaded doctoral thesis, and twelfth-most downloaded e-print, across Sussex Research Online.

Also, my thesis has been used online, more than nine times as often as it has been downloaded. So, I have embedded a PDF of Cultural Heritage Work in Cyprus on Conflict Antiquities.

Notably, the online repository of the University of Sussex was the main source by far. Presumably, that is because searchers know that Sussex Research Online is a reliable source of scholarly research; but they assume that my blog is an opinion page (rather than an outlet for academic/professional work).

[I should add, it also means that the authors don’t need to do much, or indeed anything: it’s possible that the links from here to the SRO file marginally improved its visibility; but the university hosting must be the primary cause. Happily, readers, seek and ye shall find.]

It’s reassuring to see that the thesis has an independent life, sustained by public interest in the issue, rather than by active publicisation by the author. And, unless every single cultural heritage professional even peripherally or temporarily involved in Cypriot archaeology has a copy, then it really is public, community interest.

Subjects of reading

It’s actually difficult/impossible to comment on the subjects of reading, because there’s no significant cluster of search terms for either downloaders from Sussex Research Online or readers on Scribd; even the Scribd reading “heatmap” shows a very even distribution of attention (all the way down to the bibliography).

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