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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Amazon removes Durham University students' theses being sold online

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Durham University's Students' Union

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Amazon has removed hundreds of Durham University students’ theses after they were listed for sale without the authors’ knowledge.

A third party seller put them on the platform’s website to download as e-books despite being free to access.

Former geography student Sarah Hughes said she only discovered through social media that her PhD thesis had been offered for sale for about £7.

The university said it had told Amazon which said it “promptly” investigated.

One of the thesis online

Dr Hughes, who completed her doctorate in 2018, said she was “shocked” at the “scale of the issue”.

“The author on Amazon was down as Durham Philosophy, which implies a form of connection with the university. I don’t know who thought it would be a good idea to sell PhD theses but it’s concerning,” she said.

Amazon said the titles were published by a third party in violation of its guidelines and the content has been removed.

“My main concern is that this is Amazon selling work that is already available, as it should be,” Dr Hughes added.

Durham University said higher degree theses are free to read online and has encouraged staff and students to get in contact with any further cases.

“We have been filing Take Down Notices to Amazon to have them removed from the website and are pleased that this has followed,” a spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for Amazon 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.”

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