Doctoral Dissertations Going All Electronic, Expanding Reach of Columbia Research
NEW YORK, February 23, 2011 –

Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) is joining the trend among universities to electronically submit doctoral dissertations to ProQuest and to provide copies free of charge in the university’s institutional repository. Beginning in February, the new submission process replaces an antiquated, ecologically unsustainable, and expensive system that required submission of multiple paper copies of each dissertation. All dissertations written as part of doctoral degrees conferred by GSAS will be deposited into Columbia’s online repository, Academic Commons.

Prior to this new service, digital copies of Columbia doctoral dissertations were solely available through ProQuest, a subscription service. In contrast, Academic Commons’ content may be viewed by anyone in the world with an Internet connection, thus ensuring the ongoing reach of Columbia research. Through its Center for Digital Research and Scholarship, the Columbia Libraries has committed to maintaining Academic Commons for the future, guaranteeing safe data storage and eventual changes to technology.

In addition, the new system positively affects students. The dissertation submission fee has been reduced from what was once upward of $265 to $85. Because the dissertation is electronically submitted, students will not be required to print two hard copies of the dissertation, another cost-saving benefit.

"We are thrilled to provide a more streamlined and convenient service to our students," said Salvo Candela, Academic Affairs Officer at GSAS. "We are also pleased that our alumni will benefit from the public availability of their ideas, as well as the increased availability of their work to researchers, potential employers and publishers."

"The electronic submission of dissertations by Columbia Ph.D. students and their access and archiving through the Libraries’ Academic Commons will bring Columbia research to a global audience and encourage doctoral students to consider the power  of digital multimedia and web access to their work," said James G. Neal, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian.

For more information about Academic Commons, go to

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) at Columbia University is one of the country's oldest and most distinguished graduate schools. The GSAS seeks excellence in the training of graduate students for careers in and outside academia. It promotes the integration of graduate students into the research and educational enterprises of Columbia, oversees the quality of graduate education in the Arts and Sciences, and nurtures the diversity and intellectual collegiality of its programs.

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 10 million volumes, over 100,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 22 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 550 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: