04.09.2017

Appendix 2 of the supervision document: Dissertation requirements at the University of Jyväskylä

This document defines basic requirements that all dissertations from the University of Jyväskylä must fulfil. The requirements are formulated so that they can be applied in all faculties of the University. Faculty Councils may also give more detailed field-specific instructions, when necessary.

These dissertation requirements will come into effect as of 1 January 2014. Faculties make the decision if these requirements should be applied to dissertations that were initiated before the date. These dissertation requirements must be informed to doctoral students, supervisors and members of the follow-up group during the completion of the supervision document and to preliminary examiners and opponents when they are appointed.

Dissertation requirements

1) A dissertation is a consistent scientific report based on research in any subject of the University of Jyväskylä. It represents a student’s ability to independently and critically apply the methods of scientific research and create new scientific information.

A dissertation must meet the following scientific criteria and requirements for learning and competence. A dissertation must: a) include new scientific information and justified results and be scientifically convincing, b) demonstrate the student’s critical thinking, profound knowledge of the research field, command of scientific research methods and ability to apply them and c) be scientifically honest and follow the norms of research integrity.

2) The formats of a dissertation are article dissertation and monograph.

A dissertation starts with an abstract that must (when applicable) explain the dissertation’s targets or research questions, central research methods, results and conclusions based on them. Regardless of the language of a dissertation, the abstract must be written at least in Finnish and English. In addition, dissertations may include abstracts in other languages.

For a justified reason, the format of a dissertation may be other than an article or monograph. In this case, the Faculty Council decides on the structure and extent of the dissertation.

3) The extent of a dissertation should be designed so that the doctoral degree can be completed in four years when studying full time.

4) Each writer of a dissertation must have at least one supervisor and a follow-up group. The doctoral student and the supervisors must register a collaboratively created plan for dissertation supervision and a completion schedule for the dissertation using the supervision document. The responsibilities of the doctoral student, supervisor and follow-up group are described in Appendix 1 of the supervision document.

Dissertation supervisors must carefully verify the manuscript’s quality before a preliminary examination. If necessary, the text must be proofed at the latest before publication.

It must be made visible that the dissertation work has been made under the supervision of the University of Jyväskylä. In case of an article dissertation that is completed during doctoral studies at the University of Jyväskylä, the connection to the University of Jyväskylä must be made visible in the affiliation data of the articles in accordance with Appendix 1 of the supervision document and the Ethical principles of publishing at the University of Jyväskylä.

5) An already approved thesis cannot be accepted as a dissertation.

Exceptions to this rule are doctoral dissertations that are included in international joint degrees and double degrees.

Article dissertation

6) An article dissertation consists of peer-reviewed scientific publications, or manuscripts approved for publication, that discuss the same set of problems and a summary written by the doctoral student. An article dissertation that includes unpublished articles may also be approved if it meets the set scientific criteria.

7) An article dissertation typically includes 3–5 peer-reviewed scientific articles. The number of required articles is affected by the discipline, the proportion of author’s independent contribution and the a) extent, b) scientific quality and significance and c) publication forum of the articles.

An article dissertation may include publications that have several authors. The doctoral student’s independent contribution to the joint articles of the dissertation must be clearly described in the summary of the dissertation.

For justified reasons, a single publication may be used in the dissertations of more than one student if the authors have independent contributions in the article. This must be mentioned when describing a doctoral student’s independent work.

8) The summary of an article dissertation should present the research questions that unite the parts of the study, the theoretical framework and the methodological solutions. The summary should also combine the key results and conclusions of the parts and assess their impact. The summary should be a balanced piece of text that is based on the articles and literature.

Monograph dissertation

9) A monograph dissertation is based on independent scientific research and has not been published in this format before. The author may write publications from the scope of the dissertation and utilise them in the dissertation.

Targets of scientific and artistic postgraduate education in the Government Decree on University Degrees

The Government Decree on University Degrees (794/2004) provides for the targets of scientific and artistic postgraduate education and the completion of doctoral degrees.

According to Section 21 of the decree: "The aim of postgraduate education is that the student: (1) becomes well-versed in his/her own field of research and its social significance; (2) gains the knowledge and skills needed to independently and critically apply scientific research methods and to produce new scientific knowledge; (3) becomes conversant with the development, basic problems and research methods of his/her own field of research; (4) gains such knowledge of the general theory of science and of other disciplines relating to his/her own field of research that enables him/her to follow developments in them; and (5) gains adequate language and communication proficiency and other skills required in demanding expert and development roles and in international collaboration.”

According to Section 22 of the decree: ”To be awarded a doctorate, the student must: (1) complete the required postgraduate studies; (2) demonstrate independent and critical thinking in the field of research; and (3) write a doctoral dissertation and defend it in public.”.

The University’s internal regulations, principles and decisions on doctoral dissertations

According to the University of Jyväskylä Regulations, faculties are primarily responsible for monitoring the quality of academic activity. Faculty Councils are responsible for naming preliminary examiners and opponents for dissertations and evaluating dissertations on the basis of the statements of examiners. The Degree Regualtions of the University of Jyväskylä provide instructions for the supervision, preliminary examination, public examination and evaluation of dissertations. University of Jyväskylä Graduate School for Doctoral Studies: Structure and General Principles describe the general principles for student recruitment, supervision, degree requirements and doctoral degree funding and instruct how to apply these principles to part-time doctoral students. More detailed instructions on dissertations are included in the Principles for Recognition of Prior Learning at the University of Jyväskylä and the Rector’s decision on international joint degree programmes and Cotutelle agreements of doctoral students.

A responsible conduct of research is defined in the University of Jyväskylä Ethical Principles, the Ethical Principles of Publishing at the University of Jyväskylä and the Code of Conduct for Preventing and Dealing with Academic Fraud and Plagiarism. In addition, the University is committed to the guidelines of Responsible conduct of research and procedures for handling allegations of misconduct in Finland 2012 by the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity.