Assigning DOIs to theses: London School of Economics

Clare Mulhall (Digital Library Assistant), Neil Stewart (Digital Library Manager), Laurence Horton (Data Librarian), and Nancy Graham (Research Support Manager)
LSE Library use DataCite to assign DOIs to research objects, including all doctoral theses. Thesis submission is now fully electronic, saving storage space and creating benefits for researchers and the wider academic community.
Published date:

“Objects with DOIs are discoverable, citable and offer long-term reassurance that this will remain the case.”

LSE has two digital repositories – LSE Research Online and LSE Theses Online. Research outputs, including all doctoral theses, are assigned DOIs and housed on the appropriate repository.

All LSE doctoral students work with data, and they have come to expect that their research outputs will be available online – it’s a natural way of working for them. The Library’s service is set up to meet that expectation. Students have the opportunity to set up an ORCID profile, and the Library links their thesis to their profile as well as linking to their supervisor, helping to build up online networks of research.

In developing this service, LSE Library defined clear criteria for assigning a DOI – for example, the digital object must be stable, and have a strong association with the School.

“It's not about the technology, it's about the policies and procedures. What should you do it for? Who should you do it for?”

LSE found DataCite and the British Library easy to work with – in particular, using a DataCite test account was a good way of developing their approach. They also made use of helpful documentation from DataCite and guidance from the UK Data Archive.

LSE have been assigning DOIs to theses since September 2016, with a total of 233 at the end of May 2018. The time taken for the Library to process a thesis varies according to the complexity of the object – the more metadata associated with it, the longer it takes. In future, the LSE Library team are looking to develop automation of the service, and retrospectively assign DOIs to more of LSE’s rich back catalogue of some 3,600 theses.

The e-repositories provided by the Library are valued by students and researchers, and help build the Library’s reputation:

“Because of the infrastructure underpinning DOIs - the technology, financial commitment and institutional backing behind the system - objects with DOIs are discoverable, citable and offer long-term reassurance that will remain the case; this in turn provides us with trust, persistence and authority, and enhances the Library’s role as the organisation that confers those benefits.”

Key points

  • Since 2011/12, all LSE doctoral theses are placed on the repository LSE Theses Online
  • Theses are open access by default, helping to meet funder requirements and support open access
  • LSE’s investment in set-up has paid off in a trusted and reliable service which meets the needs of students and researchers.