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Guidelines for article-based theses

Guidelines concerning PhD degrees consisting of compilations of several smaller papers were determined in session by the PhD programme board at the Faculty September 21, 2006. These guidelines were revised by the programme board September 20, 2012. The guidelines also include provisions on the introductory section for these compilations, as well as on co-authorship.

1. General requirements for PhD theses consisting of several smaller works

ยง 10.1 in the Regulations for the degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at the University of Oslo states:

"The thesis shall be an independent, scientific work that fulfils international standards with regard to ethical requirements, academic standards and methodology.
The thesis shall contribute to the development of new scientific knowledge and must be of sufficiently high quality to merit publication as part of the scientific literature in the field. A compilation of several shorter papers may be approved as a thesis provided that the papers are related and the relationship between them is clearly explained."

The academic quality of the thesis is the same whether it is a monograph or a compilation of several smaller papers (hereafter called articles). The articles should display a academic level sufficient for publishing in recognized peer-review academic journals.

Requirements and guidelines for the introductory section (the account of the unifying elements of the thesis articles) are specified below.

2. Scope of the articles

The thesis, excluding the introductory section, should typically be equivalent of three journal articles of normal length, with the candidate as sole author. If there are co-authors for one or more articles, the candidate should consider an increase in the number of articles so that the independent contribution and comprehensive effort of the PhD candidate is evident. To be considered for evaluation, it is assumed that the PhD candidate is the main author of the articles, with a comprehensive academic responsibility for the majority of articles included in the thesis.

3. The introductory section

The introductory section of the thesis shall not only summarize but also compare the research questions and conclusions that are presented in the articles in a holistic perspective, and through this demonstrate the coherence of the thesis. This also includes a summary of the thesis' contribution to the research field.

If the thesis includes previously published articles, the introductory section should also include eventual new information so that the thesis as a whole is academically up to date. If not previously published, these updates are made to each article.

The introductory section should be written in English if all the articles are written in English, and can be written in Norwegian if one or more articles are written and published in Norwegian.

The PhD candidate must be the sole author of the introductory part.

4. Guidelines for the declaration of co-authorship

Declarations on co-authorship are intended to help identify and evaluate the PhD candidate's academic effort compared to the requirements of a PhD degree.

All publications included in a doctoral thesis should comply to conventional ethical standards and guidelines concerning quality assurance of research. This requirement applies to all contributors to a thesis. In the case of co-authorship the Vancouver Protocol is used as a basis, with some minor changes. The short version in English:

Authorship should entirely be based upon:

a) Substantial contributions to the conception and design, or development and analysis of the theoretical model, or data collection, or analysis and interpretation of data
b) Drafting of the manuscript itself or critical revision of the intellectual content of the article
c) Approval of the article version to be published

All of the criteria's above (a, b and c) must be fulfilled to justify co-authorship.

If co-authorship with the supervisor is considered, this should be clarified as early as possible with the PhD candidate, and for each article separately.

Upon completion of each article the PhD candidate must electronically distribute the form on co-authorship to all co-authors. These forms must also be filled out by the PhD candidate. The candidate is him/herself responsible for obtaining all necessary signatures. The completed forms with confirmations and signatures is submitted, along with the thesis and the application for its evaluation, to the relevant unit/department. The forms then follows the administrative procedure, and is sent to the evaluation committee along with the thesis itself. The form can be downloaded here

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Published June 11, 2015 2:41 PM - Last modified Jan. 6, 2016 3:43 PM