A Current View of the Thesis by Publication in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Shannon Mason, Margaret K Merga
International Journal of Doctoral Studies  •  Volume 13  •  2018  •  pp. 139-154

The aim of this study is to further our collective understanding of the practicalities and possibilities of the Thesis by Publication (TBP) in the disciplinary context of the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) in Australia.

Recent times have seen an increasing pressure for publication during candidature in Australian universities for a range of strategic goals that are responsive to the current academic environment. Completing a thesis by publication (TBP) can further these goals, and, while this approach is no longer new, relatively little is known about its application in the context of the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS).

We performed an analysis of recently conferred TBPs to gain insights into the prevalence of the model in HSS, and to identify the number and nature of publications typically included in this context.

Our findings can further our collective understanding of the practicalities and possibilities of the thesis by publication in this disciplinary context, providing valuable insights for current and prospective research candidates in this area.

An average of 4.5 papers are included in TBPs, although there is wide range in the number and nature of papers. Of interest is the inclusion of scholarly works that are unpublished, or where the candidate is not the first author. There appears to be a heavy reliance on traditional types of scholarly publications, namely journal articles and conference proceedings.

Among the recommendations made, we argue for increased visibility of the TBP model by institutions to provide structural insights to candidates to assist them in the development of their thesis.

Researchers are encouraged to further contribute to the debates that arise from this paper, to help in the development of guidelines regarding what is appropriate for inclusion in the TBP, and how to best facilitate the development of research students.

This paper illustrates the current status of the relatively new TBP in the HSS context and makes a contribution to a range of pertinent contemporary academic debates such as authorship during candidature.

This paper presents a range of opportunities for further research, including investigating the characteristics of universities that effectively foster the inclusion of publications in the HSS doctoral thesis.

thesis by publication, publication during candidature, thesis structure, hu-manities, social sciences
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