Prominence, Promotion and Positioning of the ‘Thesis by Publication’ in Six Countries

Shannon Mason, Liezel Frick, Montserrat Castelló, Wenjuan Cheng, Sin Wang Chong, Laura Díaz Villalba, Marina García-Morante, Ming Sum Kong, Yusuke Sakurai, Nazila Shojaeian, Rachel Spronken-Smith, Crista Weise

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review


The international nature of doctoral education creates interesting tensions where national systems, institutional policies, disciplinary customs, individual supervisor preferences, and doctoral researcher needs meet. The Thesis by Publication (TBP), a model where published works are included within the thesis, is available to doctoral researchers in many disciplines and institutions, but it is not a universally accepted format or approached in a homogeneous way. Policy has been known to shape practice, yet we know little about how institutional policies shape TBP practices across different national contexts. This study presents a content analysis of policy documents related to the TBP in public universities across six countries: Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Our goal is to understand the prevalence of the TBP and related policy documentation in different contexts, and how the model is promoted and positioned within the doctoral landscape. Findings from our study challenge the often-stated notion that the TBP is a universally understood format. Our findings also show the risks in the absence of explicit policies, as well as the possible inequalities that may arise as a result of a lack of policy transparency and synergy within and across contexts.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHigher Education Policy
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Doctoral education
  • PhD
  • Scholarly publishing
  • Thesis by publication


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