ProQuest is making it easier for students to contribute their work to the world’s most widely consulted source of graduate research. The company is eliminating fees for basic submission to ProQuest Dissertation &Theses Database through its ProQuest / UMI ETD Administrator. Use of the ETD Administrator — with its simple, paper-free, online process – has grown significantly and now accounts for 60% of submissions. An assessment of ProQuest’s cost structure revealed workflow efficiencies as use has increased and the resulting cost savings are being passed along to users.

“ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Database is the premier source for graduate research and serious scholars consider it an essential venue for discovery of their work. Because of this database’s importance, we’re consistently looking for ways to innovate and align the service with the needs of the scholarly community,” said Austin McLean, ProQuest’s Director of Dissertations Publishing. “Moving to a paper-free submission process was an obvious step and once we saw how well it was working, it prompted us to commission an exhaustive analysis of how this has impacted our internal workflow. The good news is that we’re experiencing cost savings significant enough to eliminate the basic fee, while still maintaining the same high quality editorial services.”

Approximately 99% of North American graduate degree-granting institutions contribute their graduate students’ works to the ProQuest Dissertation &Theses Database, enabling them to be easily discovered and accessed. Submission through the ETD Administrator has revolutionized the process, making it twice as fast and providing a significantly easier experience by eliminating the need to box and ship paper copies of each dissertation or thesis.

ProQuest / UMI ETD Administrator is designed to support the needs of universities as well as students. Participating institutions have their own customized Administrator that guides students through the process of uploading their graduate works and providing all relevant information. An alert is sent to the school’s designated contact when each student submission is complete, providing an opportunity to review the submission before it ultimately goes to ProQuest. The ETD Administrator contains the ability for a university to create customized checklists and tags, among other functionality, that tracks electronically what previously had to be done by hand. Authors at the University of California-Berkeley, which electronically submits approximately 825 dissertations annually, will save as a group more than $50,000 through the elimination of the fee.

“We have been using the ProQuest UMI ETD tool for one year,” said Jeret Lamont, University of California – Berkeley’s Assistant Director, Graduate Division, Degrees. “It has been very, very helpful—crucial to our decision to go to electronic submission.”

ProQuest’s UMI has served as the steward of significant collections, including graduate works, since 1938. During that time, thanks to successful publishing partnerships with 700 universities, UMI Dissertation Publishing has shepherded more than 2.4 million graduate works into the scholarly record for the advancement of research. In 2009, there was record usage of the ProQuest Dissertation &Theses Database, with researchers from more than 3,000 universities, governmental bodies and corporations worldwide accessing the database over 200 million times.