Article-based dissertations at the Faculty of Arts

Doctoral dissertations at the Faculty of Arts have traditionally been monographs, but they may also be compilations of several separate scholarly articles focusing on the same topic and including a summarising report. Article-based dissertations are comparable to monographs in terms of scope and scholarly standard. The doctoral student and his or her supervisor(s) are advised to decide on the form and publication plan of the article-based dissertation at the beginning of doctoral studies. The decision to choose the article-based form for the dissertation should be made as early as possible so that the preparation of the publications can be taken into account when planning and scheduling the different stages of the research.

At the Faculty of Arts, article-based dissertations consist of 3–5 articles and a summarising report. Each article should present new results. Articles must be either published or approved for publication before submitting the doctoral manuscript for preliminary examination. Additionally, one article that has not yet been accepted for publication can be included. Published articles cannot be edited or revised before submitting the dissertation for preliminary examination or after it has been examined, so minor overlaps and repetition can be allowed.

The summarising report is the core of an article-based dissertation: it serves as an analytical introduction to the work and plays a crucial role in its assessment. Hence it is more than an extended summary of the articles. The recommended length of the summarising report is 30–60 pages.

The report should outline the overall objectives of the compilation, present the theoretical framework and methods, summarise the results and evaluate their significance at the time of publication. The summarising report should not introduce new research or material. The writer should aim for a comprehensive and critical examination and assessment of the research presented in the articles.

It is recommended that the majority of articles are published in peer-reviewed publications, primarily in Finnish and international scholarly journals and edited volumes. Article-based dissertations may include articles written in different languages. When selecting the publication language, however, it should be noted that a wide variety of languages may complicate the selection of examiners.

Most of the articles must be either publishedor accepted for publication before the dissertation manuscript is submitted for preliminary examination. Therefore, when planning the publishing venues, it is important to consider the varying processing schedules of different journals and series. Supervisors play a central role in charting possible publishing venues.

There are no limitations regarding the time of publication; in other words, published articles do not date. If the doctoral student and the supervisor are concerned that the results of an article may be outdated, it is recommended that the issue is addressed in the summarising report in connection with the assessment of the results of the dissertation.

The dissertation may also consist of co-authored articles, provided that the doctoral candidate’s independent contribution to the articles can be verified. It is important that the candidate carefully documents what his/her contribution to each article has been. The doctoral candidate need not be the first author of the co-authored articles.

If the doctoral candidate’s contribution to the articles is not indicated in the publications or the summarising report, this should be accounted for in a separate report to be appended to the final manuscript. This report must be approved by each author. It should be presented to the supervisor before the preliminary examination process in order for him or her to assess whether the overall input of the doctoral candidate meets the Faculty’s requirements regarding the scope of article-based dissertations.

The report should be presented at the Faculty Office when the dissertation manuscript is submitted for preliminary examination. The report will be sent to the preliminary examiners to enable them to assess whether the scope of the dissertation is appropriate.

The same co-authored article may be used in the dissertations of several different doctoral candidates with the support of the above-mentioned report detailing the contribution of each author. However, an article-based dissertation may not contain articles from a previous doctoral dissertation by the same author.

Article-based dissertations undergo the same preliminary examination process as monographs. The dissertation can be submitted for preliminary examination when all the articles have either been published or accepted for publication. The articles which have not yet been published should be versions revised on the basis of the peer-review process and as close to the eventual published version as possible.

According to the instructions issued by the Faculty, the pre-examiners should assess the academic standard of the entire dissertation (including both the summarising report and the articles) irrespective of whether the articles have been published. The examiners should evaluate whether the various sections form a coherent whole of sufficient scope. After the preliminary examination, the doctoral candidate may revise the summarising report but not the published articles. Details of the published articles may be commented upon in the summarising report.

The public examination and grading of article-based dissertations follow the same procedures as for monographs.

For further information on the pre-examination and assessment of doctoral theses, please see the instructions for preliminary examiners and grading committees of doctoral theses.

Should the doctoral student be unable to have the articles published or accepted for publication according to the work schedule, he or she may revert to monograph form. However, editing an article-based dissertation into a monograph can be an arduous task. The structure of the dissertation must be revised thoroughly; if the structure of a compilation dissertation is evident in the monograph, it is likely to have a negative effect on the grade of the thesis.