Through his involvement with the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD) since 1996 as well as with the United States Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Association (USETDA) since 2009, John H. Hagen, has made considerable contributions over the years to West Virginia University’s prominence in the global ETD and open access movement in scholarly communications. WVU became the 2nd institution in the world to have required ETD submission in 1998. As a early adaptor of this cutting edge technology, Hagen assisted in efforts to successfully implement a sustainable model to provide online access to WVU’s latest research as well as facilitate the exchange of knowledge between scholars everywhere. Hagen has impacted the development of multimedia innovations in ETDs through his leadership in the NDLTD ETD Awards program with over 20 winners declared since 2004, with various programs co-sponsored by the NDLTD, Adobe and Elsevier/Scirus. The WVU ETD program, the ETD Task Force, policies, procedures, institutional repository systems and Web page documentation are known around the world as a model for best practices including many NDLTD member universities, notably, University of Texas at Austin, University of Pittsburgh, University, Kansas State University and Yale University as well as Robert Gordon University (Scotland), Cranfield University (UK), Humboldt University (Germany) and University of New South Wales (Australia) .
Hagen has delivered papers, presentations and keynote speeches at the international NDLTD ETD Symposia, USETDA and other library and information technology conferences (1998 - present). Each year Hagen has also organized the “ETDs for Rookies” pre-conference session for the international NDLTD ETD Symposia (2004 - present). The all-day workshop includes a variety of panelists speaking on pertinent topics related to successful ETD/IR program implementation practices. Attendees have praised Hagen’s efforts in putting together the Rookies program. One person visiting from South Africa at the ETD 2004 Symposium commented,
“The Rookies session was outstanding! I learned so many things in one day and I was able to better engage in the conference discussions and take back to my institution a toolkit for ETD implementation. Mr. Hagen made it all seem so easy, even though there was so much material to present. I am thinking of going to the U.S. because of his invitation to visit the University of West Virginia to learn about their ETD and repository program”.
Hagen has extensively published papers and presentations on ETDs, open access and related intellectual property and scholarly communications issues. Hagen’s work has been cited numerous times by scholars in a variety disciplines. His eagerness to share best practices he has helped to develop and the opportunities provided by the WVU Libraries have enabled Hagen to spread the ETD and open access scholarly communications message across the globe and become a leader in the field. Hagen’s practical advice and commentaries have been published in newspapers such as the New York Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education, journals such as Information World Review, D-Lib Magazine and Library Hi Tech News. Hagen spurred discussions on open access regarding ETDs in the arts and humanities at thousands of college and university campuses around the world through the presentation of his case studies in graduate student programs and success stories.
Hagen shared studies of student successes in his conference presentations in the areas of Creative Writing and History. Hagen led case study on WVU History dissertations and Open Access. This study revealed an incredible and path-breaking student success story. Shirley Stewart Burns’ ETD, Bringing Down the Mountains: The Impact of Mountaintop Removal on Southern West Virginia Communities, has allowed her to accomplish her goal of raising the public consciousness and discourse about mountain top removal. She was able to reach a world-wide audience almost instantaneously, resulting in publication of a book that is now in use in the K-12 and higher education curriculum, and ultimately impacted national and state public policy.
Hagen led another case study on WVU Creative Writers and Open Access. This study examined multiple cohorts of creative writers, their selection of ETD Web distribution and their subsequent performance in the field. Hagen noted that some compromise may be possible regarding access versus publication interests. The study revealed that students who had granted open access to their ETDs in the early years had more evidence of a publication record than those who had restricted access. The study further revealed that Sara Pritchard, MFA, Fiction Writer/Editor, Adjunct Faculty, from West Virginia University Department of English was able to initially restrict access to her creative writing thesis, subsequently won the Houghton Mifflin Publishing Contest and granted open access to her thesis after the book was published.