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Shared (first) authorships

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Shared (first) authorships

If you are pursuing a doctorate by publication by submitting a publication with joint authorship, please consider the following:

What is the purpose of a doctorate? The purpose of a doctorate is to prove the candidate's ability for in-depth scientific work by conducting their own, independent and innovative research, resulting in the gain of scientific knowledge in the specialist area.

In other words: Your dissertation, regardless of whether it is a monograph or a doctorate by publication, must prove that you have demonstrated the above ability. The more people are involved in your publication - documented by a joint authorship - the more difficult this becomes. Although science does involve teamwork and joint authorships have become common, it must nevertheless be clear that your dissertation is "your" work as defined above.

Shared first authorships are an especially tricky matter, as you must be able to demonstrate at least one lead authorship for a doctorate by publication. If you already have a full lead authorship among the publications submitted as doctoral theses, a second joint lead authorship will be less significant than in the event that you have not yet submitted a full lead authorship:

  • In case of a joint lead authorship, the Doctoral Committee will generally assess whether the relevant publication is recognised as a doctoral degree paper
  • If you submit a publication with joint lead authorship, please specify your contribution to the publication in detail in the synopsis
  • Publications including more than two joint lead authorships will not be recognised. Exceptions are possible where good reasons exist for this
  • If you submit only one publication in an international leading journal with peer review or a top journal for the pursuit of a PhD or MD/PhD degree, publications with joint lead authorship will generally not be recognised. Here, too, exceptions are possible where good reasons exist

Please note:
For doctorates by publication – regardless of whether pursued with one or more publications – the Doctoral Commission will always apply the following assessment criteria: Is the submitted dissertation a paper meeting the doctorate requirements with regard to its nature, scope and quality? It is up to you to make it clear that this is the case.