The university theses repository is not indexed in the main scientific literature search engines. This issue makes finding a thesis difficult, and it's a problem especially because after PhD many are looking for a postdoc position.

Is it a good idea to upload a biology related PhD thesis on Biorxiv.org?

Does Biorxiv.org allow it? Is is legal on the copyright side? Are there any drawbacks?

  • Same as for ArXiv I guess. Does she intend to publish (parts of) the thesis? If so, would placing it on Biorxiv be considered "prior publication", thus causing it to be rejected by publishers?
    – GEdgar
    Oct 1 '16 at 19:55
  • 3
    How will this help in looking for a Postdoc position? Put a link to the university repository in the CV.
    – Karl
    Oct 1 '16 at 21:26

This is not allowed on bioArxiv, consider using Arxiv instead:


bioRxiv does not permit the posting of news, product advertisements, teaching materials, policy statements, theses, dissertations, student projects, recipes and simple protocols.

  • 1
    This is quintessential information indeed! I didn't know.
    – Scientist
    Jul 10 '19 at 11:45

If there are no legal restrictions imposed on it by the university, it does seem to be a good alternative for waiting for possible years to get research published. Nature (http://www.nature.com/news/biologists-urged-to-hug-a-preprint-1.19384) seems to validate it by suggesting that biology is lagging behind other sciences, and is likely to catch up.

To address the other point: "The issue of whether a preprint could jeopardize the chances of a manuscript subsequently appearing in a peer-reviewed journal is also being resolved, says Inglis. Since bioRxiv launched, several journal publishers have changed their policies to expressly allow the publication of research previously posted to preprint servers."


My advice would be to submit it to Proquest (associated with University of Michigan). This is the norm in the US. They maintain a repository of most US theses on microfiche and electronically. There is a nominal charge for independent researchers to get copies of your thesis (you will get very small royalties over time). This database is well abstracted by Google Scholar, Science Citation Index, Chem Abstracts, etc. Can't recall, but there may be a small charge to submit the dissertation and/or a copyright form to fill out.

It is the norm for chapters in theses to be modified slightly and converted into regular journal articles. The Proquest thesis is not considered prior publication by any of the journals/societies I have worked with (Nature, Science, ACS, APS, IEEE, etc.) Just cite the dissertation. (Has tangential benefit of some self-citation...woot!) In fact, I encourage you to convert as much of the thesis into "real articles" because (even though the thesis shows up in Google Scholar) doctoral theses tend to be much less cited/read than "real articles in real journals".

I'm not sure about book publication (many humanities theses are turned into real books by trade presses). So just check on that if you want it before going with the Proquest microfiche. If you just plan to get your own custom-bound volumes, for self/university library, etc., that should be fine...nobody will blink.

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