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Durham University asks Amazon to take down PhD theses


Researchers say their work has been put up for sale without their permission

Durham University has told Amazon to take down doctoral theses that were put up for sale on the online retail giant’s website, after researchers complained their work was being sold without permission.

Scores of PhD theses from Durham University have been listed on Amazon’s website, either for free as an online-only version or for a small sum.

Several academics who had authored doctoral theses while at Durham expressed surprise over the last couple of days that their work was up for sale by a third party without their knowledge.

Alice Cree, currently a researcher at Newcastle University, wrote on Twitter that her thesis was being sold “without my permission, along with a lot of others”, while Sarah Hughes, now a research fellow at Northumbria University, wrote that her PhD thesis was for sale on Amazon and asked Durham whether there was “a way for you to remove this”.

It is unclear how the work came to be listed on Amazon.

A spokesperson for Durham University said: “Durham University is aware of this issue. Where appropriate we have been filing take down notices to Amazon to have them removed from the website. We will continue to do so.”

An Amazon spokesperson said: “Our store maintains content guidelines for books, which address content that is illegal or infringing. We remove products that do not adhere to our guidelines and when a concern is raised we promptly investigate it”

UPDATED 12/01 – Added a comment from Amazon.