“The process of completing a dissertation is stressful—deadlines are scary, editing is hard, formatting is tricky, and defending is terrifying. (And, of course, postgraduate employment is often uncertain.) Now that dissertations are deposited and distributed electronically, students must perform yet another anxiety-inducing task: deciding whether they want to make their dissertations immediately open access (OA) or, at universities that require OA, coming to terms with openness. For some students, mostly in the humanities and some of the social sciences, who hope to transform their dissertations into books, OA has become a bogeyman, a supposed saboteur of book contracts and destroyer of careers.
This chapter examines the various access-related anxieties that plague graduate students. It is a kind of diagnostic and statistical manual of dissertation anxieties—a ‘Dissertation Anxiety Manual,’ if you will—describing anxieties surrounding book contracts, book sales, plagiarism, juvenilia, the ambiguity of the term online, and changes in scholarly research and production.”