Publication date

Frederick J. Peabody fpeabody at SUNFLOWR.USD.EDU
Wed Nov 22 11:28:29 CST 1995

On Wed, 22 Nov 1995, Frederick J. Peabody wrote:

> On Wed, 22 Nov 1995, Richard Jensen wrote:
> > Does anyone know how the publication date for a dissertation is
> > determined?  The case in question involves a dissertation approved in
> > 1989, but bearing on the cover 1990, the year the degree was awarded.  I
> > have encountered both dates in the literature and wonder if there is a
> > "rule" covering this.  I assumed that the date it was approved (i.e.,
> > accepted by the graduate committee) was the date of publication.
> >
> > Richard J. Jensen      |   E-MAIL: rjensen at
> > Dept. of Biology       |   TELEPHONE: 219-284-4674
> > Saint Mary's College   |   FAX: 219-284-4716
> > Notre Dame, IN  46556  |
> >
> From a reading of the ICBN I would infer that the "publication" date is
> the date that the information was made available to the general
> scientific community.  Sometimes this is the same date that appears on
> the publication itself, but this is not always the case.  We have only to
> look at some of the older multi-volume works to see an example of this.
> The dates printed on the volumes may not be the precise time that they
> were made available.  Sometimes they were published earlier in parts and
> later assembled as a whole volume.  Our botanical reference to unravel
> this mystery is "Taxonomic Literature, ed. 2" by Frans Stafleu in which
> detailed information (i.e. month, day, and year) about publication dates
> are presented for many of the important systematic works.
My careful reading of your inquiry after I had hit the "send" key
revealed that I had not fully responded to your specific case, i.e. the
dissertation publication date.  At best, one would have to determine when
this document would have become available to the general scientific
community.  IMHO this might be resolved by using the date that it was
included in "Dissertation Abstracts" and, therefore, became known to other
researchers and available for their examination.  Understandably, this
would be at some later date than the "committee" signed the document, and
would be at some later date than the document was processed by the
degree-granting institution.  If the process is very slow (or
non-existent) at some institutions, the appropriate publication date
might be months or years (or never).  This underscores the importance of
publishing thesis and dissertation results in professional journals.
Sitting unknown on the shelf they may never become known.

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