Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest post from Rob Schlesinger, a doctoral student at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY.  Rob received a BA from Harvard College and a JD from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.  Rob has worked in higher education administration in both the US and abroad for over 25 years, and is licensed to practice law in New York and California.

As a doctoral student who practiced law before returning to graduate school to pursue an Ed.D., I will admit that I have a different perspective than most of my peers on legal issues. So imagine my surprise when I was told that I was required to enter into a contract with a third party business, ProQuest, and submit my dissertation for publication on their website as a requirement of obtaining my degree.

This was nothing compared to the surprise that I experienced when others – faculty, administrators and other graduate students – heard that I was objecting to this requirement. One would think that I was Oliver Twist asking for more porridge or I had said that I was writing my opus in crayon.

dissertation

Academe is conditioned to public dissemination of doctoral dissertations, and this justification from the website of the University of Michigan’s Rackham Graduate School is typical:

From the inception of the modern doctorate in the early 19th century, a central purpose of doctoral education has been to prepare students to make significant scholarly contributions to knowledge. The dissertation is submitted as public evidence of your scholarly accomplishment meriting the conferral of the doctoral degree. In keeping with this long-standing tradition, which is consistent with the University’s public mission, it has always been the University’s expectation that every doctoral dissertation and abstract will be released upon conferral of the degree. Only in specific circumstances may release of a dissertation be deferred, and then only for a limited period of time.

My legal – and moral – concerns about this practice stem from the issues it raises with privacy and intellectual property rights, as well as contract law.

Privacy Rights: Requiring a student to publish a dissertation is problematic for individuals who have concerns about their privacy. The publication of a dissertation, especially online, is particularly alarming for people who have been victimized, threatened or stalked, but anyone’s privacy concerns should be respected. Allowing a pseudonym (or anonymity) could help mitigate this problem.

Intellectual Property Rights: It is fairly settled law that the intellectual property created by the dissertation is owned by the author. However, may the institution exert control over its distribution? Like most good lawyers, I would maintain that, “It depends.”

Contract Law: Institutions have been making publication – initially through bound library copy (and interlibrary loan), then microfilm/microfiche, and now website – a degree requirement. Is this defensible from a contract perspective? Let’s look at the applicable standards:

Conscionability

The first standard that applies is conscionability:  Is the requirement that students publish their dissertations conscionable? There are two components to conscionability: substantive and procedural.

  1. Substantive — If the institution required its doctoral students to be individually profiled in its advertising, would that be considered legitimate? Would it be conscionable? If we examine one of the grounds offered for publication of dissertations — the marketing of an institution’s graduate programs — the requirement may be viewed in a different light. Of course, this is not the only rationale being advanced. Institutions point out the promotion of scholarship in general, and publication is endorsed as an unqualified good. But this argument may prove too much. It is not, for instance, being applied to faculty or administrators.
  2. Procedural — Graduate students and institutions occupy very different positions in the proverbial food chain, and the disparity in bargaining positions is stark. To complicate matters, the publication requirement is often not made clear to the doctoral student until after graduate coursework is complete and dissertation research has begun. Every school has their own policies, and whether actual or constructive notice has been provided is a case-by-case determination.

The considerable difference in bargaining power means that a contract of adhesion may result, with terms that are “take it or leave it.” So whether this requirement is reasonable becomes an important determination, as an adhesion contract with unreasonable terms is not enforceable. Since this practice is prevalent among the vast majority of doctorate-granting institutions, students are essentially being left with no viable educational alternatives.

Agreed Upon Bargain

The other applicable legal analysis is whether publication is part of the agreed upon exchange between the doctoral student and the institution. I am not trying to be facetious when I opine that the agreed upon exchange in higher education is essentially payment for degree.

How can one test this assertion? If a court were to decide that published dissertations had at least some value to institutions, and graduate tuitions should be reduced accordingly, what value would institutions be willing to assign in order to be able to require publication? My guess would be close to $0. Based upon my experience in higher education administration, I would argue that institutions would not be willing to forego any revenue in this case, even if a court decided that there had to be some value assigned.

In legal terms, the publication requirement may fail for lack of consideration, or be voidable for unilateral mistake. Translated into plain English, this mean that students are not being compensated for something of value, or a contract provision is not enforceable because one of the parties is unclear about its implications. Surely, there are other, corollary responsibilities in the higher education exchange as, for instance, the student must complete coursework and research, and the institution must provide teaching and advisement. However, the publication requirement is at best tangential to the essential bargain.

Other Considerations

Now that we have dealt with the legal stuff, let’s look at the moral (the right thing to do) and public policy considerations (the principles upon which our laws are based), which I believe are just as important. Is the requirement that graduate students publish their dissertations a defensible position from an individual rights perspective? Is it justifiable to ask a student to subordinate privacy and property rights because of academic interests, most notably “tradition”?

Some may argue that the doctoral candidate is benefiting in this process via the “pedagogy” inherent in the publication process. Hence, said student is more ready and able to enter the world of academic publishing. I do not believe that this rationale is more than a pretense. Consider institutions that require their doctoral students to have dissertations reviewed by professional editors – selected by the institutions, but paid for by the students – before mandatory submission to ProQuest. The latent rationale is to ensure that the institutions are being well represented online. This is clearly done for the benefit of the institutions’ reputations, and not the students’ edification.

Please note that my argument here is not against publishing dissertations online; rather, it is for giving dissertation authors – the doctoral students themselves – a say in the disposition of their work.  As long as the author is given the choice of whether or not to submit for publication, the practice may be a legitimate path for open access scholarship.

I suspect that most doctoral students will continue to publish. But sometimes it takes a “gradual student” (thank you, John Irving) with a different perspective to challenge the assumptions behind an antiquated and one-sided practice. Let’s hope that this is the case here.

(N.B. — The information contained herein is general in nature and not intended as legal advice.)

Discussion

36 Thoughts on "Guest Post — The Dissertation Publication Requirement: It’s Time for Reexamination"

I’d like to add some other reasons that this policy is unfair. Most generally, it makes it far more difficult for students to get their dissertations published as books. Librarians don’t want to pay for content they already own, and publishers don’t want to publish books that librarians won’t buy. It’s true that most dissertations require revision before they are publishable, but that doesn’t always change publishers’ minds. This problem could be solved by allowing a five-year delay before the dissertation is put on line, giving the student time to revise and publish. Second, and more rarely, students’ lives can be endangered by making their dissertations available digitally. Students from other countries may come to the United States to study and write freely about politics, history, and other contentious issues in their home countries. The views expressed in their dissertations may subject them or their families to harassment or worse at home.

Hi, Beth — Do you have a source for this statement, “Librarians don’t want to pay for content they already own, and publishers don’t want to publish books that librarians won’t buy.” I have worked as a librarian in academic libraries for 10 years, and not once have I heard a colleague say that they aren’t buying a given book because it’s based on a publicly-available dissertation.

I don’t have a source. It’s something I’ve heard time and time again from book publishers. Perhaps an excuse for not publishing dissertations?

Hi, Beth,

While there are some publishers who refuse to publish books based on open access dissertations, the non-anecdotal evidence suggests that this practices is not widespread. See: “Open Access and the Graduate Author: A Dissertation Anxiety Manual.”

https://academicworks.cuny.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1308&context=gc_pubs

As an academic librarian, I can’t imagine that our profession has the time to check whether or not a published book is based on an OA dissertation. The fact is that academic libraries are simply not buying books like they used to because of a number of factors, most notably costs.

Perhaps academic librarians do not have time to check to see if a book was previously published as an OA dissertation, but your book wholesaler does. Yankee Book Peddler has admitted that one of the criteria used in their approval program is checking to see if the book their profiling is a revision of a dissertation that is already available. They don’t do this because they’re curious. They do this because some of the libraries they serve have asked them to filter those books out.

I echo Jody’s comment above, and add my anecdotal experience as an academic librarian and selector: I never use the “Revised Dissertation” filter in GOBI to exclude books based on dissertations from my result set. I want to see all relevant titles, regardless of whether they were based on a dissertation. Obviously, not all dissertations are OA so there’s no equivalence between the two. Nor have I ever chosen not to add a book to the library collection based solely on the fact that the dissertation on which it is based is freely available on the web. Librarians understand that the book is often very different from the dissertation both in terms of content and editorial quality. We also understand that deliberately adding a published scholarly monograph to the collection is not equivalent to harvesting the metadata of a dissertation record for discovery by search in the catalog or ProQuest. I make book selection decisions based on whether the book is likely to be a valuable addition to the library collection for our students and faculty–in the present and in the long term. In other words, most librarians still understand the value of providing access to books.

What that filter does help with is to potentially understand more about the structure and content of the book (e.g. books based on dissertations tend to be more narrowly focused than other monographs). Also, if I am on the fence about whether or not to buy the book, I may look up the dissertation to learn more about the content if I don’t find much on the publisher page or reviews. In those instances, the dissertation being OA may sway my decision in favor of purchasing the book. If it sways it in the other direction, and I choose not to purchase it, it’s not because it’s OA, it’s because I’ve decided it doesn’t fit my selection criteria. Again, this is not the same as the full-text of the book being OA, because the book and the dissertation on which it’s based are not equivalent.

Interesting. Proquest sells the dissertation within its database but only pays a royalty on individual copies sold. So universities are making it mandatory for the authors to be content providers for a business that sells their content but for which they receive no pay. It seems to me that this is kind of like the credit reporting agencies. Great model for these businesses but not for the providers of their content.

Agreed. We haven’t even gotten to the part about dissertation content making its way from ProQuest to Turnitin and iThenticate. It happens by virtue of the relationship between ProQuest and iParadigms.

A broader question: What value does a dissertation have when it is not made publicly available? Is there any point in requiring one if it is not made available?

Regarding ProQuest, this is a separate issue from the dissertations themselves. Universities seemed to have jumped on the bandwagon of going through PQ through general laziness. There is no actual need for ProQuest to be used.

I believe that there is an inherent educational value in researching and writing a dissertation, whether or not it ever makes it to publication. The same is true, to a lesser degree, of senior or master’s theses. Ideally, dissertation research is intense, the project aspect takes planning and teamwork with the committee, defenses require communication skills, and the process ideally produces an expert in her given field. The variation in types of dissertations (traditional 5 chapter, 3 article, practice, etc.) makes generalization of the values conferred difficult.

Mine is a dissertation in practice analyzing ethics education in the undergraduate curriculum. This required extensive research in the areas of ethics/morals, pedagogy (such as “Ethics across the curriculum”), and student moral development. It is a mixed methods study (sequential explanatory model), so both quantitative (survey) and qualitative (interviews) will be involved. I am also doing site visits to colleges with ethics centers/programs for comparison purposes, and to make the final report more robust.

I consider this project the most important part of my doctoral experience, but I have no interest in publishing the dissertation itself. I may wish to write an article and submit it to a journal to present findings in a more succinct and useful manner. I hope that this fully addresses your question, but if not, please let me know what other values of dissertation publication I may have overlooked.

From your reply, it seems that the only value of an unpublished dissertation is to the author itself and that society does not benefit (other than through the training it provides the researcher who may contribute in the future). If that is the case, I can’t see why the government should be involved in funding such endeavors. I can’t recall seeing any dissertations in engineering that were not funded through state and/or federal funds.

My university required me to post my PhD thesis in my institutional repository. My PhD scholarship was paid for by the federal government, I conducted research in a lab that was funded by the federal government, at a university that was funded by a mix of government funding, student fees and philanthropy. My institutional repository operated by my university library makes my thesis available to the public at no charge. I was aware of this requirement before beginning my PhD and had previously accessed other people’s theses as a student, so I struggle to sympathise with most of the author’s objections – except for the one about commercial providers. I just can’t imagine having a privacy interest in my publicly funded professional work where half the job is telling other people what I have discovered! And as an added benefit, my thesis has been downloaded dozens of times, which is dozens of times more than I ever expected.

I believe that your situation made the required publication of the dissertation reasonable. Your education was funded by the federal government. Your research, and the lab that sponsored it, was funded in large part by federal grants and the institution that mandated the publication. You were fully aware of all of these facts and conditions before you began the dissertation process.

This scenario is distinguishable from the student who pays for their degree with their own funds (or loans, to be more precise) and performs research using their own resources. In this case, the transaction should not have the strings attached that yours did. If, for instance, a university or foundation were to offer to pay for my doctorate or a part of my research if I agreed to publish my dissertation, I would certainly consider the opportunity.

However, this analysis does not all boil down to payment. I would freely publish a journal article summarizing the findings of my dissertation if the study turns out to be successful. However, as the researcher and the person sponsoring the research, I reserve the right to make this choice.

I’m not convinced paying your university means that you have (or should have) the right to determine your degree requirements. Universities reasonably determine that students must submit work for examination and can impose other requirements for awarding degrees. Even for academic staff they are able to impose policies on open access when the researcher has sourced all of the funding for their salary and research expenses externally.

Your university may have done a poor job disclosing their requirements up front but I am not convinced that means dissertation deposit requirements should not or cannot be mandatory. I think that so long as the dissertation is deposited with an institutional repository (rather than compelling the use of a commercial provider) and there are reasonable embargo periods available for patent or publication concerns (the example given in the article of UMich allows 2-5 years), then it is not a problem.

Thanks for your follow-up comment. Do you think that the university has any moral responsibilities vis-à-vis their degree requirements? I used the example of requiring students to be individually profiled in marketing campaigns. Would that acceptable, or does it violate a sense that the requirements have to be reasonably related to the degree and its pedagogy? The dissertation publication requirement is based firmly in academic “tradition” and, in this digital age, promotion of a school’s graduate programs.

The requirement must also be weighed against potential issues faced by doctoral students for whom publication poses threats to their safety, livelihood and/or privacy. Beth Huey’s poignant example of the international student who takes political or social positions that run counter to their home country’s stances is all too common. The result will be less, not more, academic freedom when voices like these are silenced. Another case in point would be the doctoral student who, in describing themselves in a qualitative research context discloses personal information that has traditionally been used to marginalize or discriminate, such as membership in the LGBTQ community. This information may be essential in describing the study and how the researcher interacts with their participants and interprets study data. It may not, however, be an appropriate forum or time to disclose private information and thereby compromise the researcher’s personal autonomy. Advising this student to select another dissertation subject area, perhaps one in which they are not as personally invested, simply discourages great research.

> The requirement must also be weighed against potential issues faced by doctoral students for whom publication poses threats to their safety, livelihood and/or privacy. Beth Luey’s poignant example of the international student who takes political or social positions that run counter to their home country’s stances is all too common. The result will be less, not more, academic freedom when voices like these are silenced.

Graduate students are generally aware of the publication requirements and may choose to change their topic based on this. Any danger they are placed in by the publication is of their own choosing. If the dissertation is not published, that too silences those voices.

Of course I think universities have moral obligations in their requirements – a requirement to be used as market research fodder would not be ethical except maybe for marketing students (in fact, psychology students are routinely required to participate in psychology experiments). But a dissertation deposit requirement does not break this rule. On the contrary, I believe many institutions would argue that these requirements fulfill their moral obligations to communicate their scholarship in an open and transparent manner and to instill these values of scholarship and openness in their doctoral students. I have seen PhD theses from 20 years ago cited in papers because findings were contained in the thesis but never made it to a formal journal paper, so to me the deposit of theses has clear scholarly value.

I do not believe fears for safety and privacy are legitimate arguments against a deposit requirement (as David has also argued). If publishing the thesis would threaten a student’s safety, then the student is also unable to publish journal articles, books or present at conferences. In fact, these activities pose greater risk because there is more traffic to journals, books and conferences than there is for a thesis. That would leave you an academic with no publication record and potentially good research that no one knows exists. An international academic or student who fears persecution for what they are saying should be granted asylum, rather than being allowed to do research that they will never publish or present in any form out of fear. And I have yet to meet an LGBTQ scholar who is anything other than outspoken.

Disseration deposit is a reasonable degree requirement for graduate students. Provided there are reasonable embargo options and, whereever possible a non-profit or institutional repository is used, I do not see anything immoral about it.

A dissertation is an academic exercise designed to have the writer demonstrate the ability to identify a research topic, master the literature, do original research, and write up findings coherently. Some dissertations are useful to a broader audience than the author’s committee, but often the new information can be conveyed in one or two journal articles. Only a small percentage, almost always in the humanities and social sciences, command enough interest to warrant book publication. It would make a lot more sense to have a unified database of dissertation abstracts, with access to full text through the degree-granting institution at the author’s discretion.

> … but often the new information can be conveyed in one or two journal articles
I would disagree. Some of the information could be conveyed in one or two journal articles, but many dissertations in STEM need the additional length to convey all the information. Those interested in applying the techniques used in a dissertation are thankful for the additional detail.

> It would make a lot more sense to have a unified database of dissertation abstracts, with access to full text through the degree-granting institution at the author’s discretion.
How would this work in the long term? I have seen dissertations > 100 years old extensively used by researchers. Each author would need to provide information on what their wishes are, requiring the university to interpret these on a regular basis at a high cost.

Congratulations on doing work that is widely useful! That’s exactly how it should work.

Thank you! I view my doctoral research as a springboard to future endeavors in that area, whether through employment, pro bono/volunteer work or independent project.

The university in Germany where I did my PhD not only requires publication of the dissertation, but the student is not legally allowed to use their title “Dr.” until it is officially published. Needless to say, that usually takes some time. The student graduates but is not allowed to use Dr. on a CV, resume, or any other official document.

If the research is funded by commercial organization and the scholar is guided by a university professor ,who should have the rights to publish the paper or not?If published who should get the returns ?Can there be sharing?

I believe that would depend (us lawyers!) on the circumstances. There are many different ways that commercial entities interact with universities, and if the doctoral student is an agent or employee of the commercial organization (sounds like that in your example), it would be best for everything to be worked out in advance contractually before both the research and the publication take place. There may be opportunities for collaboration that will benefit everyone involved, but again, it would depend on the type of entities we’re talking about and even the type of research.
Feel free to send me an email if you would like to give me more specific information.

Modesty has previously prevented me from posting this, but here goes. I’m the editor of a book called “Revising Your Dissertation: Advice from Leading Editors” (University of California Press), in which editors in various disciplines explain the difference between a book and a dissertation. The expectations for publication vary widely from field to field, as do editors’ expectations of how scholars should communicate with their readers.

In my country, a requirement to be awarded a doctoral degree is to publish three or least have three publishable manuscripts in a peer-reviewed journal. After the award the thesis itself must be deposited in the university library in both hard bound and PDF formats. This solves most of the problems above. Intellectual property clauses exist and the smart supervisor knows when an output is patentable, etc. Quite frankly, I do not really understand the point of the article since many of the “points” raised can be rebutted immediately. Perhaps it’s just another exercise in academic writing? If so, it should be stated as such because it is grossly misleading.

I acknowledge your comments about the awarding of a doctoral degree based on publications in peer-reviewed journals. Dissertations at U.S. institutions are reviewed by a doctoral committee, and likely do not go through the rigorous assessment that manuscripts do in your country via this process. Hence, U.S. dissertations do not contribute to academic discourse the way a peer-reviewed journal article does. For many in academe who recently realized that their old dissertations were now posted on ProQuest – often without the author’s explicit permission – the sentiments were not positive.

If you believe that anything I have stated in the article is misleading, or would like to rebut any of the points I made, I am willing to respond. The piece is not a writing exercise. Once the facts of a particular case make this requirement ripe for legal challenge, it will eventually be litigated.

The commenting system here appears not to be working correctly since no “Reply to Comment” option is currently available to me under Anon PhD’s comment from today (April 11, 2019) at 11:43 a.m., which is mainly what I’m responding to. Thank you, Anon PhD, since what you have said has finally helped me to focus on what has bothered me about this article since I first read it a few days ago.

The point of all scholarly inquiry, no matter the discipline, is to allow scholars to enter the scholarly conversation that has been ongoing long before they were born and will continue long after they are no longer alive. PhD students are expected to do serious research that makes a significant, original, and unique contribution to their field. Publishing the results of that research (i.e., the dissertation) is the natural outcome of the research process and allows newly minted PhDs to contribute to the scholarly conversation. How can disciplinary knowledge and, more broadly, society progress if this significant scholarship is not published? More to the point, what use is a dissertation that no one except the author and her/his committee members sees? Is it really even a dissertation and should the doctorate actually be conferred since the doctoral candidate has not, in fact, made a significant, original, and unique contribution that everyone in the field can examine and respond to?

A brief aside: Requiring doctoral students to publish their dissertations is not new; before the digital era, libraries bound and published printed copies of dissertations by making them available to the public in their stacks and including metadata about them in their card catalogs. Other services also began indexing that metadata so that individuals from one part of the world could learn about dissertations published in a different part of the world. Online publishing in the digital era has allowed doctoral dissertations to be more widely and readily available than their print-only counterparts were, but the modern practice is not terribly different than the print-era practice.

I agree with others who have said that reasonable embargo periods should be allowed, and no commercial entity should be profiting from dissertations without also compensating authors. At my institution, the author agreement students sign upon submission of their dissertation informs them that “ProQuest has also agreed to pay royalties to dissertation authors for participation in ProQuest’s distribution program if you provide and maintain your current address and tax information necessary for the payment of the royalties pursuant to ProQuest’s applicable publishing program.” Students can also arrange for their dissertation to be embargoed by ProQuest or withdraw their dissertation from ProQuest entirely.

This is also a reply to ANON PHD’s comment on 4/11 at 11:43 AM:

How exactly does a university’s requiring publication of dissertations “fulfill their moral obligations to communicate their scholarship in an open and transparent manner and to instill these values of scholarship and openness in their doctoral students”? The university is selectively deciding which forms of scholarship it wants communicated in an open and transparent manner. Otherwise, all of the research a university performs and the scholarly product of its faculty (as well as staff and administrators) would be posted on this “repository.” Why only dissertations?

Regarding the issue of individual privacy rights, there is a difference between dissertation publication and publishing books and articles. To my knowledge, colleges and universities do not permit the use of pen names or anonymity in publishing dissertations. And your asylum solution to the international academic’s problem ignores friends or family members who may be in their home country. Your stereotype of the “outspoken” LGBTQ scholar is inaccurate and offensive. I find it rather ironic that you are posting as ANON PHD and arguing for disclosure.

Your university may be different but I understand most institutional repositories take journal articles and non traditional research outputs too. About 20-25% of journal articles are self archived in this way. Green open access policies typically require self archiving in institutional repositories. They are really not so unusual as to require quotation marks – there are literally hundreds of them (maybe thousands). You might feel like your thesis is being singled out but it’s only because it’s easier to enforce once per graduate student than it is to enforce 2-5 times a year per active researcher.

If you believe pseudonyms are the solution to safety and privacy concerns in journal and book publishing then that is the solution to thesis deposits too. In which case it’s not the deposit that is problematic but the prohibition of pseudonyms.

You make some rather conclusive statements about the “point of all scholarly inquiry,” how society progresses, and the use of a dissertation. These are all based on traditional assumptions that are being challenged in academe today. I would argue that there is no single “point of all scholarly inquiry,” and any attempt to funnel all research into a traditional academic journal path is naive and provincial. Doctoral students seek their degrees for myriad reasons that will benefit society in countless ways. Performing research that does not travel the time-honored academic path may provide more societal benefit than research that does. It is not for institutions to decide that this research is not worthy because it is not seen by others in the academe. This is especially true when the database(s) on which it is being published is not accessible by the vast majority of the population.

I suggest that those of you who think about this issue only in terms of embargoes, compensation and credit for tenure track positions broaden your perspectives a bit. There is a real world out there that can benefit from some of the people receiving doctorates as well as the research that they are doing, and it doesn’t take a published dissertation to legitimize their credentials or their contributions.

I’m very interested in the phrase ‘publication’ referring to Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs). The Committee on Publication Ethics, has a guideline that ETDs should not be considered prior publication with reference to publication in journals or monographs. On occasion I have had to remind editors of their obligations, especially when enthusiastic editorial assistants have rejected articles based on similarity to the author’s thesis in iThenticate!

I think one of the issues here is the US’s practice for selling their student’s work to a commercial company for archiving. Running a local repository, with a limited non exclusive licence to hold an ETD and the rights staying with the author seems preferable. Major academic search engines understand repositories well, and aggregation sites like OATD are useful.

There are always exceptions to making ETDs available – 3rd party IP, secondary use in a military setting, appropriate access to indigenous knowledge for example. This can be dealt with by having a dark archive at an institution. Libraries are about appropriate access, and have always had ‘restricted’ materials.

ETDs are becoming an important part of long-term scholarly communication. A brief informal search for my institution’s theses in Scopus, using our handle prefix in reference citations, shows a booming increase in the number of our ETDs being cited since our institutional repository went live over 10 years ago. To deny our alumni that recognition of their work by encouraging them.to hide it would be wrong.

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