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PhD thesis

Being more open about PhD papers

Submitting a PhD thesis as a compilation of research papers can help scientists' early careers (see Nature 535, 26–28; 2016), but acknowledgements and declarations should not be overlooked along the way.

In the Netherlands, a PhD student's research articles — often co-authored by the supervisor — are sandwiched between introductory and concluding chapters. The thesis is published before the viva voce exam with an ISBN identifier and is later posted online. Advantages over the traditional monograph thesis include: it is quick and easy to write; feedback from the papers' reviewers can be instructive; and students attain a presence in the international science community before graduation.

I suggest that, out of courtesy, people involved in the publishing process should be informed that the papers will be assessed as part of a higher degree. They include journal reviewers and editors, as well as language professionals like me who are asked to correct the English of the manuscripts. The thesis itself could also contain a prominent statement of all assistance received, along with a declaration of the candidate's input (see B. Gustavii How to Prepare a Scientific Doctoral Dissertation Based on Research Articles; Cambridge Univ. Press, 2012).

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Correspondence to Joy Burrough-Boenisch.

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Burrough-Boenisch, J. Being more open about PhD papers. Nature 536, 274 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/536274b

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