The national ETD infrastructure has been created ten years ago and is fully operational but not obligatory for all institutions. In 2015, most universities have a mandatory ETD policy while other universities continue to accept print dissertations that are processed via the former centralized print and microform workflow, with the ANRT Lille as operating agent.
The Ministry of Higher Education and Research prepares a new decree on the doctorate degree for 2015 or 2016. This decree will contain a section on the dissemination and preservation of doctoral dissertations, based on the actual ETD infrastructure with the two main public institutions ABES (network coordination, global system management, academic union catalogue SUDOC, portal Theses.fr) and CINES (long term preservation of ETDs). It will also terminate the deposit of print copies after a final transitional period of two more years. This means that probably from 2018 on French universities will no longer accept print dissertations.
397,039 records in SUDOC – Le catalogue du Système Universitaire de Documentation – academic union catalogue (May 2015);
367,853 records in Theses.fr portal (June 2015), among them there are 297,941 completed dissertations (from 1982 on) and 68,114 dissertations in preparation; 41,061 completed dissertations are online (fulltext).
49,028 dissertations in HAL national open repository (June 2015) (4.9% of all documents in HAL); 47,693 dissertations are online (fulltext) and 1,335 metadata only.
The following figure presents the evolution of completed ETDs in Theses.fr, based on the year of the viva.
For comparison: in 2014, ANRT Lille still received in print format 1,803 dissertations in social sciences and humanities and 1,660 dissertations in sciences, for dissemination on microforms but these figures are decreasing.
The national ETD workflow has been described by Giloux and Mauger-Perez at ETD 2008 and is still the same. Significant changes are on two levels:
In partnership with the University Humboldt of Berlin (P. Schirmbacher), the University of Lille 3 started in 2014 a scientific project on research data and dissertations. The project is conducted by the LIS laboratory GERiiCO, the academic library, the graduate school and ANRT Lille and includes conferences, empirical studies and publications. The main goal is to provide advice and assistance, education and infrastructure especially for PhD students and postdocs in need for research data management, preservation and dissemination.
Degrees of secrecy in an open environment. The case of electronic theses and dissertationsJoachim SCHÖPFEL, Hélène PROSTESSACHESS - Journal for Communication Studies
Country Report submitted by: Joachim Schöpfel, Director, The National Centre for the Reproduction of PhD Theses (France)