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Chapter XI. Thesis by published papers

Regulations Governing the Management of Doctoral Studies

Article 41. Definition.

A thesis by published papers is a specific option for the drafting and public defence of a doctoral thesis, required in order to earn a PhD. Its unique characteristic lies in the fact that it is made up of various different scientific papers focusing on a single theme, of which the PhD candidate must provide proof of authorship and which must have been published or accepted for publication.

Article 42. Requirements.

Only PhD students who have had at least three contributions, written during their time in the doctoral programme, published or accepted for publication may opt for this method. This number may be reduced to two, providing the PhD student has made two additional contributions to the scientific literature in the five years prior to their enrolment on the doctoral programme. In both cases, the contributions must correspond to the area of research stipulated in the student's Doctoral Research Plan.

Contributions must be papers published in scientific journals featured in the latest list published by the Journal Citation Reports (SCI and/or SSCI) or SCOPUS, or in the databases listed by the National Assessment Committee for Research Activities (CNEAI) for the scientific fields corresponding to the areas of knowledge covered by the doctoral programme. Moreover, at least one of them must be in the first or second quartile of their category. In the Arts and Humanities and Social and Legal Sciences fields, contributions may be books or book chapters, providing they carry the Academic Publication Seal of Approval or are included in Scholarly Publishers Indicators in Humanities and Social Sciences.

In cases of co-authorship in which authors are not listed alphabetically, the PhD student must be named first or second. The thesis supervisor shall confirm that the PhD student's contribution is both substantial and in keeping with the Research Plan.

Works which form part of a thesis by published papers may not form part of any other thesis within the same category.

Papers published after the date on which the student enrolled on the doctoral programme must include the student's affiliation with the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), as well as, where appropriate, that of their supervisor(s).

The Academic Commission of each doctoral programme may establish additional requirements for this means of presenting a thesis, providing that said requirements are compatible with the procedure outlined herein and are approved by the Postgraduate Commission.

Article 43. Structure of a thesis by published papers.

A doctoral thesis by published papers must comprise a set of papers published and/or accepted for publication which focus on a single theme, in accordance with the following structure:                                               

  1. An initial overview (minimum length 10,000 approx.) which contains:
    1. An introduction, presenting the thesis and justifying the thematic unity of the papers.
    2. Theoretical framework of the thesis topic and methodological tools used.
    3. Hypotheses and general and specific aims, indicating which ones are broached in which publication(s).
    4. Summing up and, where appropriate, discussion of the results obtained.
    5. Referenced sources.
  2. The second section of the thesis must present its conclusions.
  3. The third section is an Appendix, which should contain the papers, books or book chapters published or accepted for publication, under the title 'Published works' or (as appropriate) 'Published works and works accepted for publication'. The complete published or accepted version of each contribution must be included, provided the PhD student has obtained authorisation from the journal to use the paper in their doctoral thesis. If they do not have this authorisation, then the accepted manuscript suitable for public dissemination version must be included instead. In both cases, the complete list of bibliographic references must be included, along with the impact factor of the journal in the year of publication, its relative position in the category to which it belongs and/or other quality indicators.

Article 44. Specific documents required for the thesis to be accepted for processing.

In addition to the general documents required for depositing the doctoral thesis, the following documentation must also be provided:

  1. Request form for submitting a doctoral thesis by published papers signed by the PhD student, along with the express authorisation of their supervisor and, where appropriate, their co-supervisors.
  2. A document signed by the non PhD co-authors of the publications to be presented, expressly waiving their right to use said publications as part of any future doctoral thesis by published papers.
  3. Report by the thesis supervisor attesting to the fact that the publications presented are in keeping with the PhD student's Research Plan and confirming that, in the event of co-authored papers, the student's contribution was substantial.
  4. For accepted contributions, the DOI or publisher's certificates.