thesis publications

Sven O Kullander ve-sven at NRM.SE
Fri Mar 7 08:10:19 CST 1997

For the Zoological part of the discussion:

The ICZN 3rd edition Article 9, 'What does not constitute publiction', item
(11) makes unavailable

'deposit of a document (e.g., a thesis) in a collection of documents, a
library, or other archive'.

Thus, the thesis (or dissertation) as such is not at all excluded from
consideration as an available publication, only the method of distribution
(deposition of a document).

In Sweden, doctoral dissertations are usually printed and bound, have ISBN
numbers, and are freely distributed in several hundred copies, within a
serial or independently. They are certainly published in every sense of the
Code, unless they contain a disclaimer. The same applies to other countries.

I think the current discussion might benefit from narrowing down to the act
of 'deposition of a document'. There is already quite some confusion amongst
zoologists as to the status of dissertations. Whereas American and British
students apparently submit just one or a few copies for the use of the
Committee, other countries have other customs, and it is not correct to make
generalizations based on the US or UK conditions.

In Sweden, a dissertation is published either as an original monograph or as
a collection of reprints or submitted manuscripts, with a long summary. In
the latter case, the summary and any included manuscripts rate as originally
published in that dissertation. It is apparently generally recommended to
publish papers intended for inclusion in the dissertation in peer-reviewed
international journals.

The procedure at the Department of Zoology of the Stockholm University is to
present to the thesis for internal review 4-5 months ahead of the planned
public presentation. Financial support is provided for the printing of 350
copies, but only 210 are required by law or otherwise estimated as required.
150 copies of these ca 210 are destined for library exchange and are
distributed both nationally and internationally. Dissertations are normally
written in English. The printed dissertation must be available at least 21
days before of the public defense. Other institutions may vary slightly in
one or another regard.

It would certainly be helpful to many to have a record of which countries
share requirements for publication of dissertations; I have seen Swiss and
Dutch dissertations printed, but I am not sure whether they are required to
be published.

In light of the amount of work and funding that goes into producing doctoral
dissertations, it certainly seems natural that the student's work, accepted
by the scientific reviewers (opponent, committee, public), also must be made
available to the scientific community at the same time.

Sven O Kullander
Swedish Museum of Natural History

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