Date of Award

Fall 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education


Department of Education

Primary Advisor

Dr. Grace Veach

Second Advisor

Dr. Thomas Gollery

Third Advisor

Dr. Laura-Edythe Coleman


Research sits at the core of scholarship. The integrity of that research allows fields of study to grow and build upon one another to form the foundation for and extension of human knowledge. In the last 10 years, a new phenomenon has occurred as digital scholarship has become more prolific. This phenomenon is called link rot. Link rot occurs when over time, digital resources become inaccessible because their originally cited location has been relocated or become permanently unavailable. This study examined the extent to which link rot has affected scholarly research and how it might affect the future of digital scholarship. Historical archived data were compiled and analyzed using a self-created tool to evaluate the extent to which a publication has been affected by the phenomenon of link rot. Study data were accessed through content analysis of 2,500 published, peer-reviewed scholarly articles, representing a span of 10 years (2013– 2022) of data collection. Five specific academic domains in the scholarly literature were identified for study purposes: (a) arts and humanities; (b) business; (c) health and medicine; (d) science, math, and technologies; and (e) social sciences. The study showed that 36% of all links were broken, and 37% of digital object identifiers were broken. The study also showed a significant difference in the percentage of broken links between academic disciplines, as well as the percentage of broken digital object identifier links.