Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Campbell comes back

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  • Rich of Observationz,

    The Ph.D quote is from the article that DeepRed referenced, BTW. I'm not doing a Ph.D, much as I'd like to. (Not!)

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report

  • Kyle Matthews,

    My Ph.D. dissertation is currently bound by a confidentiality agreement due to intellectual property issues

    Does that happen often? I've always thought of the concept of a university was that research (aside from that being done as a specifically commercial venture) was for the advancement of mankind's knowledge and had to be published.

    We've had theses in our department (history) sealed to protect the individuals interviewed, or material that the student was allowed to access on the condition that they're not made available to the public (MFAT has allowed access to non-public documents sometimes on this basis). Sometimes they have a set timeline on them, others are sealed indefinitely.

    In sciences I presume it's more to do with future commercial opportunities or future research.

    But there's no requirement for a PhD to be published for it to be granted. Publishability is typically something that the markers would take into account, but the quality of the research and the conclusions is the prime factor. Presumably if the thesis is sealed for commercial reasons, the thesis is very publishable, the writer/university/associated corporation just don't want it published until they've developed it further and got appropriate patents etc.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Kyle if these are the reasons for being indefinitely sealed " the quality of the research and the conclusions is the prime factor".
    They shouldn't be awared a PhD.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Why not? The markers read it, they know it's quality research (or not).

    The prime purpose of the degree is for the university to be able to say 'this person has achieved doctorate standard and is capable of undertaking a research or teaching career requiring a doctorate'.

    Making the research they did along the way available publicly is a secondary consideration. Keeping it private isn't encouraged in universities, but sometimes it's the only way research can be done on a topic. Sometimes important figures won't talk to you unless you agree to keep it private until after their death. Should we not interview these people because the research can't come out for fifty years, and lose their contribution?

    There's a dissertation that we hold under lock and key. Every 10 years or so someone from MFAT reads it and lets us know that they still want it kept that way. Presumably eventually they'll tell us the opposite but we know the student did a good job, and they're now out in the world advancing their career on that basis.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report

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