8.1. Can I use any publication as my dissertation?
No, the publication must have appeared in a journal that is listed in either PubMed or Web of Science.
Make sure to check in advance, whether the journal, in which you intend to publish, is listed. New journals or online journals are often only listed by Google Scholar or similar places and will not be recognized.
The following publications can be used: Scientific (research) articles (full), systematic reviews / meta-analyses (according to/listed in Cochrane, Prisma). Scoping reviews are accepted only if they are aligned as PRISMA extensions (Tricco et al, Ann Intern Med. 2018,169(7):467-473).
The following can NOT be used: abstracts, posters, non-systematic reviews (only additional), video publications (Jove Video-Journal), preprints.
Letters, short communications and case reports can only be accepted as dissertations in rare exceptional cases after application to and examination by the MD/PhD committee.
8.2. What do I need to know when submitting a publication as a dissertation?
You must be the sole author or first author and the publication must have appeared in a journal that is listed in either PubMed or Web of Science. The journal's impact factor does not have to be higher than the mean impact factor of the discipline but the impact factor does play a significant role in your dissertation being awarded "summa cum laude." You must speak with your supervisor to find out if there are any internal rules about the impact factor.
We do not recommend trying to do your doctorate with a publication, if you share first authorship, as publications are only accepted as dissertations when the docotral candidate is the first author and completed the majority of the publication, that is at least 51 percent. This particularly applies to those who share first authorship; they must be named first. If the doctoral candidate is not named first, but rather the postdoc, for example, this contradicts the doctoral candidate's affadavit and is thus questionable good academic practice. If there are more than two equal first authors, the paper is not admissable as a dissertation, as the candidate can no longer claim 51 percent of the work.
Only one person can submit the publication as a dissertation, meaning that when there are two equal candidates there are almost always problems differentiating their contributions in the affadavit confirming their work. (See question 8.4.)
The earliest you can submit a publication as a dissertation is when it has been accepted by a journal.
If the paper has already been published, the published version must be included in the pdf file and the dissertation and include the authorship, publication title, journal header, date of publication, etc.)
If the paper has not yet been published, the accepted manuscript (including the authorship, publication title, journal header, date of acceptance) must be saved/included. If the date of acceptance is not in the manuscript, you must also submit the letter of acceptance.
Additionally, all co-authors must confirm that you as the doctoral candidate completed the majority of the work. This includes independently composing the manuscript. Templates (Info-Sheets, Muster 5) are available on the Doctoral Office homepage.
Many journals require the information of the shares of the individual authors for the publication in so-called author contributions (also CRedit author statement, acknowledgements). If the publication is submitted as a dissertation, it must also be stated there that you as the doctoral candidate and first author wrote the manuscript alone (write, draft the manuscript). All other co-authors may only have corrected the manuscript (corrected, reviewed). If other co-authors have written the manuscript, the dissertation may not be accepted because of "ghostwriting" and the MD/PhD committee therefore requires that a corrigendum or erratum for publication be obtained from the publisher by the corresponding author. Alternatively, a monograph of 40- 60 pages may be written and the publication attached. This would not change the grade.
The Doctoral Committee reviews all publications submitted as a dissertation.
The deposit copies submitted after the defense must contain the final published paper. This means that the deposit copies cannot be submitted before the paper has been printed.
If you are unable to wait until publication – this is an absolute exception, for example when there is a one year wait between acceptance and printed publication, see notes on the deposit copies – you must submit a total of 24 copies of the online publication – this is mandatory in this case –, as described when submitting deposit copies as a "normal" dissertation. Please make note of the question "What do I need to pay attention to in the affadavit?"
Please note: The Faculty Council has updated the Recommendations for Authorship in publications.
8.3. Is it possible to complete my doctorate with a publication, in which I share first authorship, and the other author is, for example, a postdoc?
We do not recommend trying to do your doctorate with a publication, if you share first authorship, as publications are only accepted as dissertations when the doctoral candidate is the first author and completed the majority of the publication, that is at least 51 percent. This particularly applies to those who share first authorship; they must be named first. If the doctoral candidate is not named first, but rather the postdoc, for example, this contradicts the doctoral candidate's affidavit and is thus questionable good academic practice. If there are more than two equal first authors, the paper is not admissable as a dissertation, as the candidate can no longer claim 51 percent of the work.
8.4. If the data from two doctorates is summarized into a single publication, it is possible for one of the doctoral candidates to submit the publication as the dissertation and for the other to submit with a classic dissertation?
Yes, this is technically possible. However, you must first be very clear in advance about the distribution of work and agreement in the affadavit:
- For the candidate submitting the publication as a dissertation: you must clearly indicate in the "eidesstattlichen Erklärungen zum Eigenanteil“ (Muster 4 B), which components of the paper are part of your own dissertation.
- For the second "normal" dissertation: you must mention that the material has been published and the "eidesstattliche Erklärung zum Eigenanteil“ (Muster 4 A) must compliment the ther, meaning that you can only use portions that were not used in the doctorate with a publication as a dissertation. Otherwise the dissertation would be plagiarism.
8.5. What do I need to pay attention to, if I am the co-author of a publication?
If you wish to submit a publication as your dissertation, you must be named as co-author. If this is not the case, your dissertation would be considered plagiarism if the publication has already been released.
It is important that you mention in your disseration – right after the cover page, refer to the Merkblatt – that the corresponding excerpts were published in advance. Please use the following wording: Teile der Dissertation wurden in der Publikation (Autoren, Titel der Arbeit; Name der Zeitschrift; Jahr, Band, Seitenzahlen) veröffentlicht. Alles Weitere sollte sich aus der Erklärung zum Eigenanteil ergeben.
It is also important that you only use the parts and graphics in the paper that you authored and created yourself. Otherwise, this would also be plagiarism. This is also evident in your statement on your own work and the affadavit, that you authored the work yourself. If you only collected some of the data for a graphic, you must create a new graphic for this part or indicate the respective shared or borrowed work. Please be aware that this component cannot be used in any other dissertation. Be sure to pay close attention the question "What do I need to pay attention to in the affadavit?".
8.6. How can I determine the impact factor?
You need both the impact factor of the journal, in which the work was published, and the so-called median impact factor of the discipline, to which the journal belongs (Document as an aid für determining and calculating the IF and mIF).
- Determining the Journal's Impact Factor:
https://jcr.clarivate.com -> Select Journals by Rank
In the field "Master Search" under "Go to Journal Profile“ enter the name of the journal and select it from the list.
A page will open with the "Key Indicators"; the journal's impact factor is one of these.
- Determing the Median Impact Factor:
https://jcr.clarivate.com -> Select "Categories by Rank"
Click "Select Journals" and when the menu appears, enter the name of the journal in field "Search Journal," select it from the list, and close the menu.
Click the "submit" button.
The screen will display which the discipline the journal belongs to. If multiple disciplines are listed, you can select the discipline with the lowest median impact factor for the calculation.