Why make a PhD thesis website?


Amsterdam, October 28, 2017

Thank you for taking the time to visit my PhD thesis website. Since most PhD candidates decide to collect their work in a paper book, I should probably explain why I did not choose to present my thesis to you this way.

Most importantly, I feel a website makes a more interactive, easily shared document for others. It is possible to add links to interesting websites, links to your articles in PubMed, add as many pictures as you need to clarify your data (without having to worry about the printing costs) or even add movies or presentations. My own experience with paper PhD theses is that I never use them to read the publications of the author. Instead I use PubMed to find their articles, because I either want to save the pdf file to my literature collection, or because I want to be able to click on links to interesting references; and it seems I am not the only one that feels this way, since the requests to borrow a thesis at our institute’s library are currently less than 10 a year.

Secondly, it feels like a waste of time, money and paper to invest in multiple paper versions of a thesis that most people will not read thoroughly. If all 4,967 PhD  students who write a thesis every year would decide not to print an estimated 400 copies, that would save almost 2,000,000 books a year. With printing costs of €2,000,- to 3,500,- per person, this would save €10,000,000,- to €17,000,000,- per year, that could be used to finance (a lot of!) new research projects.