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Overview — A featured comment calls for a few words on the relationship between scientific publications and the theses submitted for assessment at the university.
After reading Albert Sneppen’s piece on the University Post, you might be left thinking: This is really crazy. Are things really that bad at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH)?
Fortunately that is not the case.
The comment calls for a few words on the relationship between scientific publications and the theses submitted for assessment at the university.
The same rules apply to all students
Students at the Faculty of Science and a the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences are subject to the same general rules as all other students at the University of Copenhagen. However, the rules for bachelor’s projects, master’s theses, and indeed PhD dissertations differ. They have been established by the ministry and not »unknown administrators« at the University of Copenhagen.
Publication after assessment
Anyone can freely publish an assessed thesis in any form, also if it is worked into a scientific article.
Many readers will probably understand the article to mean that you are prohibited from reusing the content of bachelor projects and theses in scientific articles. But this is not the case.
Every student owns the copyright to their own assignments. Anyone can freely publish an assessed thesis in any form, also if it is worked into a scientific article.
Use of own articles as source material
If you have written and published articles during the course of your studies, you are allowed to use these in a bachelor’s project or a master’s thesis. You can also make your discoveries and achievements the subject of a master’s thesis. Luckily, this happens on a regular basis at UCPH.
There are, in other words, many ways to combine research and education in the compulsory final assignments on the study programmes. But there are, of course, requirements that need to be fulfilled.
OPINION ON THE UNIVERSITY POST
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In addition to academic requirements, there are general requirements, like that it has to have a problem formulation, a conclusion, perhaps even a methodology chapter. There are, in addition, requirements concerning source references, independence, spelling and communication skills, etc.
If a student uses previously assessed assignments and/or published articles in their bachelor’s project or master’s thesis, you have to cite yourself. It appears in the UCPH code of conduct that it is self-plagiarism if a student refers to or copies their own work without referring to themselves as the source. Exactly as if you are using other people’s work and articles.
You could probably spend a lot of time discussing whether the rule is meaningless. It seems reasonable, in my view, partly because it contributes to good scientific practice and honesty. The rule ensures that it is clearly labelled for examiners and co-examiners that parts of the assignment have been subject to previous assessment.