I chose to publish and distribute my thesis online, but rules and regulations also dictate that you have printed copies. I used the EBM to save time, money, bookshelf space and the environment, so getting the hardcopy wasn’t that difficult.
But when printed there is not much you can do about any errors. And as any doctor would tell you…. all thesis have errors in them. Some major, most minor, but still an error is an error. Using a website can help to correct minor errors after publishing. Although you have to worry whether your version is still the most up-to-date, only the use of a hard-copy variant doesn’t even give you the opportunity to decide whether you want to make a new version, and therefore having an electronic way of publishing something is desirable
So why do I tell you this all? A co-author on one of the chapters in my thesis (BML from the UK) noticed an error; I mixed up the cover pages of chapter 10 and 11. Luckily, the scientific content and the textual integrity of the thesis is not affected by this mistake. So, I just could leave the error be, but I decided to correct the error and place a new electronic version on the download page.
A PhD defense in the Netherlands is a highly protocolised ceremony (plechtigheid). No clapping, only pictures at some moments, scripted words, weirds dresses, unwritten do’s and dont’s… it can be quite confusing. Want to know more?Have a look at the webpage of the universty of Leiden.
I decided to go the all the way: I published my thesis. So not only did I write my thesis, I also published a book. My publisher -pfoe thats sounds posh- is the The American Book Center – AnyBook Press and the ISBN is 978-94-91030-39-0.
Instead of the standard 300 copies of thesis that are sent to other scientist, I decided that I wanted to do things a little different: other scientist can look up the original publications, and friends and family only read the Dutch summary and the acknowledgements. Therefore, I am not printing 300 copies, but only a fraction of that number; the obligatory copies for the dean, university, committee and library (i.e. 30 copies or so).
Everybody else can either download the full version or the Dutch Summary in a couple of days time. Not only do a lot of people prefer pfds anyway, it saves time, money and trees. If you really want to have a physical book, you can order a copy with me. Click here for more information.
This is all possible because I am not publishing this book the old fashion way, But I am using the printing-on-demand espresso book machine, or EBM. This machine is a great invention: just bring two pdfs – the cover and the text- and 8 minutes later, PRESTO! your book. Take a look at the video below.
A great benefit is that it is also possible to print just 1 book check for errors, adapt your text and lay out, and only then order the rest of the books needed. I love the EBM. The machine can be found all around the US, and only in two places in Europe. Luckily for me, both are in the Netherlands; they are located in the American Book Center stores of which one is located in The Hague -only 143 meters away from my home-. So, last week I printed my first test copy, with some great help by EBM operator Joe. Yippie!