How far did they travel? Post-graduate research theses, 2020.

Happy New Year from LLC Research Services!

Those of you with an eye on Twitter will have noticed that at the end of 2020 @UoDOpenResearch put out a series of tweets highlighting our most downloaded theses. The information was taken from IRUS, a service which allows us to track downloads from the Discovery Research Portal


Theses Title Number of downloads
A Mongrel Tradition: Contemporary Scottish Crime Fiction and its Transatlantic Contexts 4114
Scotland’s Castles: rescued, rebuilt and reoccupied, 1945-2010 3157
Positron Annihilation Lifetime Spectroscopy Methodology and Application to Perovskite Oxide Materials 2559
Does Virtual Haptic Dissection Improve Student Learning? A Multi-Year Comparative Study 2424
Second-Wave Feminist Approaches to Sexuality in Britain and France, c.1970-c.1983 2349


Geographical Reach.

Being able to access information about downloads is great, but it’s even better when that information is accompanied by evidence of geographical reach. To do this we use data from the British Library’s EThOS Service.

Having our metadata and open access theses harvested by EThOS ensures increased visibility of our research postgraduate community and the incredible research they undertake. This is only made possible by the consistent approach adopted to recording theses using Pure, the software which underpins the Discovery Research Portal.  It’s a really good example of data collection and open research practices being used to showcase our successes. Using the EThOS data we can see that University of Dundee theses were downloaded from the British Library website 1273 times in 2020 from 64 different countries.

64 countries highlighted on a map of the world illustrating how theses downloads took place in North America, West Europe, North Africa, South Asia, and Australia

Next Steps.

There is more that we could be doing to promote the work  of our research postgraduate community. We would encourage you, if you are a post-graduate research student (or indeed a supervisor!), to use Discovery from the beginning of your studies to create personalised research profiles and to record your research activities throughout the duration of your studies, not just as part of a requirement to record your final thesis.

Looking forward, we’re investigating the application of DOIs to University of Dundee theses to enable promotion through social media, aid discoverability, and increase tracking through Altmetrics.

For more information and advice please contact us:




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