The digitalization of the Greek National Archive of PhD Theses, through the electronic submission of theses

EKT has redesigned the infrastructure according to the digital transformation of public sector’s processes and services.

National Archive of PηD Theses (NAPhD) redesigned with both structural and technological updates undertaken by National Documentation Centre (EKT). NAPhD’s operational environment was redesigned, technically upgraded and semantically enriched, and most importantly, the process of a PhD Thesis’ submission was simplified according to the digital transformation of public sector’s processes and services. At the same time, users have the ability to surf in a more friendly and easy-to-use environment for reading and searching.

NAPhD’s composition, with the submission and distribution of doctoral dissertations in a fully digital manner, is in line with international good practices and the trend of scientific infrastructure’s digitalization. From now on, doctoral dissertations’ submission will be done completely digitally. Secretariats of the Schools/ Departments of Greek academic institutions (hereinafter Secretariats) and Hellenic NARIC (National Academic Recognition Information Centre) will use the fully digitalized PhD Management System, and doctorates will no longer need to send their dissertation in printed form to EKT. These upgrades lead to the reduction of bureaucracy and management burden, saving time since all actions are now done electronically. Moreover, the process of dissertations’ submitting is simplified and accelerated. At the same time, National Archive of PhD Theses’ quality and completeness are improved.

National Documentation Centre (EKT), who is supervised by Ministry of Digital Governance is, by law (1566/1985), the competent authority for the development and maintenance of the National Archive of PhD Theses, instituted in 1985 and operated by EKT since then. NAPhD collects, in digital form, doctoral dissertations awarded by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Greece as well as PhD Theses awarded to Greek scholars by foreign HEIs and certified by the Hellenic NARIC Classification based on the scientific fields of NAPhD is a criterion for certain procedures of the Hellenic Supreme Council for Civil Personnel Selection (ASEP).

Today, more than 45,000 doctoral theses are available in the Digital Repository, a unique stock of Greek scientific production and knowledge with cutting-edge research activity. In 2019 and 2020, 2,869 new doctoral theses were submitted. More than 2,700,000 online visits were made during the same period.

Digital Repository provides both to the guest and the registered users a number of services: a) simple and advanced search of a PhD thesis thought the fields of bibliographic records, b) navigation based on defined fields of bibliographic records (scientific field, educational institution, year of award, author, country, language), c) view a digital file of a PhD Thesis only for reading. Registered users can download a digital file of a PhD Thesis.

As far as the Digital Repository’s benefits are concerned, these are prominent because PhD Theses’ disposal is harmonized with the digitalization of science and the adoption of open access in publications and research results. PhD Theses’ disposal contributes to the digital transformation of some key processes of the public sector. The use of this infrastructure brings a number of practical benefits: a) All doctoral dissertations are available centrally, validly, reliably and digitally for PhD candidates, doctorate holders, both the research and the scientific community and everyone else. b) The results of the original high – level research are more accessible. c) Both the visibility and the dissemination of research activity are achieved. d) Each registered dissertation acquires a permanent URL, regardless of the software system and/or the repository. e) Scientific research’s transparency is maximised. f) Plagiarism and replication are prevented.

New functionalities for more efficient search and navigation of 45,000 dissertations

NAPhD consists of three distinct information systems, which are developed and operated by EKT: a) Digital Repository, b) PhD Management System and c) Helpdesk.

Digitalisation is the use of data and digital technologies as well as interconnection that results in new, or changes to existing, activities, is at the core of the technological upgrades of all systems. Their visual redesign makes navigation easier and friendlier in the context of responsive design depending on the device (computers, tablets, mobiles).

User-centric, functionalities have been added, which improve interactivity and contribute to more efficient content search and navigation. On the Digital Repository’s home page (www.didaktorika.gr), statistics are displayed regarding the infrastructure’s use (PhD theses, registered users, views, online reading, downloads). Statistics are also available for each Ph.D. thesis separately in its metadata tab. Thus, each doctorate can, now, obtain information about the timeless view and the scientific impact of his research work.

At the same time, by referring to the metadata tab of each dissertation, users can locate titles of relevant dissertations (based on user visits). At the level of semantic enrichments, the format of PhD theses’ metadata was upgraded and now, it is based on the international bibliographic standards, while the level of scientific field’s documentation was specialized with the introduction of a third level thematic categorization.

The classification of scientific fields applied in NAPhD is a bilingual, hierarchical vocabulary and consists of three levels: a) main scientific field (1st level), b) specific scientific field (2nd level) and c) specialisation of scientific field (3rd level). Classification based on the scientific fields of NA.PhD is a criterion for certain procedures of the Hellenic Supreme Council for Civil Personnel Selection (ASEP), according to the provisions of Law 4765 GG A' 6/15.1.2021.

PhD Management System is used exclusively by the Secretariats of the Schools/ Departments of Greek academic institutions (hereinafter Secretariats) and Hellenic NARIC. This system exclusively allows the authorised staff of both the Secretariats and the Hellenic NARIC, as well as doctorate holders, to complete the submission process easily and directly, guiding them by successive steps. Helpdesk is mainly intended for PhD Management System’ users. Through the Helpdesk users - guest and registered - can refer to «FAQs» and «PhD Management System: User Guide».

EKT, as the National Authority of the Hellenic Statistical System, utilizes NA.PhD’s data for the annual basis of the national statistics for the holders of doctoral degree of the Greek universities.

ΝΑPhD’s part of the technological upgrade is implemented within the framework of the operation 'National Research Information and Technology System: Digital Content Aggregation, Documentation and Dissemination Infrastructure ensuring interoperability, long-term preservation and open access' implemented by EKT under the Operational Programme 'Public Sector Reform' (NSRF 2014-2020) and is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and national resources.

National Documentation Centre (EKT) (www.ekt.gr) is a public organisation supervised by the Ministry of Digital Governance. EKT, has as an intuitional mission, among others, the accumulation, documentation, preservation and dissemination of scientific content and culture. With open access to single content search and digital services available to the scientific and research community, EKT promotes the digital transformation of new knowledge. In collaboration with reputable bodies, EKT highlights, enriches, connects and offers to society scientific and cultural material and data, for creative reuse and new use. Developing technological infrastructure, software and services, EKT supports digitalization of research and knowledge bodies, libraries, archives, museums. By establishing good practices, uniform documentation and interoperability standards, compatible with international standards, maximizes the visibility and ensures the quality and long-term availability of digital content.