Do conflict of interest arises when a journal editor, who is handling a paper under review, acts as an examiner of the author's PhD thesis?

Does it depend of the review stage? Will the answer change if the review is already finished before the editor is nominated as an examiner?

  • 1
    as long as it is not affiliated with institution, i dont see a problem – SSimon Mar 3 '18 at 16:19
  • The rules for PhD thesis examination vary country by country and even unversity by university, so I don't think this question can be answered here. (For example, I submitted my last paper a few hours before I submitted my thesis for pre-examination; on the day the committee selected the examiners it was not even possible to know whether one of them would become an editor of the last paper. In some universities, this timeline might be impossible.) – JiK Mar 3 '18 at 16:57

In the US system, my main concern in such a situation would not be conflict of interest in the thesis examination but rather would be conflict of interest in the journal reviewing process.

In the US system, a good advisor generally ensures that the examining committee are people likely to approve if the student does good work (e.g., no philosophical enemies) and ensures that the student does not go up to defend until they are certain to pass.

Members of a thesis committee are thus typically either members of the same department or close external collaborators, who should typically be barred by conflict of interest from handling a paper from that student at a journal in any case.

  • Thanks. Could you elaborate on why/how thesis examination may cause conflict of interest in the editorial review process? – Orion Mar 20 '18 at 21:46
  • 1
    @Orion Examining the thesis doesn't cause a conflict of interest. However, the relationship that causes one to be added to a committee would also often imply a conflict of interest. For example, Alice and Bob are working closely on a project, so when Alice needs a committee member for her student Carol, she asks Bob. When Carol submits her paper, Alice will probably be a co-author, and Bob probably shouldn't review it because he collaborates closely with Alice. – jakebeal Mar 20 '18 at 22:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.