If you are almost finished with your dissertation, or advise graduate students, you know that every thesis and dissertation should be submitted to a company called ProQuest. They create the Digital Dissertations database. They also sell dissertations and theses. Starting this fall they are offering students several publishing options. One new option is to publish using the Open Access model, meaning that anyone can read the entire electronic version and download it for free.
There are many things to consider when making this decision and ProQuest describes them completely in their guide which is linked to from the libraries’ Dissertations and Master’s Theses page. Academic librarians are familiar with Open Access issues; your departmental librarian would be happy to discuss this topic with you.