One of the contribution chapters in my PhD thesis (computer science) is a work (paper) that I was actively involved in but the experiments (simulation etc.) was carried out by another co-author. After talking to my supervisor I decided to include this work as one of my contribution chapters but without the results (plots, etc.). Know I want to write a paragraph at the end of the chapter to justify why I did not include any results, clarify my contribution and also refer to the paper where they can find the results in and my name as a co-author. 1- Does this look like a good approach? 2- This is what I am planning to write: The experimental results have been omitted from this chapter to maintain the originality of this dissertation as the experiments have been carried out by other co-authors. These results can be found in [paper x].

1 Answer 1


You seem to be concerned that inclusion of experimental results will mean your dissertation isn't original. Yet, you could include such results whilst alleviating your concerns. For instance, you could present experimental results and explain that those results were carried out by your co-author. You could also include a fresh analysis of those results or (with attribution) regurgitate existing analysis. This approach ensures your dissertation is self-contained and surely provides the reader with a better understanding.

  • Thanks @user2768, I prefer not to include the results as the co-author does not work in our institutions anymore and I have no access to them. I do agree that the term originality does not represent what I meant here. I'm just looking for a better way to clarify my contribution to the work and also justify why the results are not here. Mar 6, 2020 at 9:18
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    @Thestruggler I don't understand why you'd prefer not to include because the co-author does not work in our institutions anymore and I have no access to them. The co-author not working at your institution doesn't seem pertinent. Not having access might be problematic, but you surely have access to LaTeX source. If not, surely you can get it. Perhaps what's published will do. Regarding the term originality perhaps your concern is: your dissertation not being entirely your own work. Regarding justify[ing] why the results are not [included], I don't think that looks like a good approach
    – user2768
    Mar 6, 2020 at 9:38
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    Many universities have rules about the originality of dissertations. While these are often ignored, I don't see any reason not to use these rules to justify what the author wants to do anyhow. The research is available in a paper, and so it can be left out of the thesis without fears that the reader might think there the author is hiding something. Mar 6, 2020 at 13:04
  • @PeterShor I hadn't considered that the reader might think the author is hiding something. I'm concerned with self-containment and understanding, both of which I think will benefit from including experimental results (with clear attribution). (University guidelines should of course be followed, if they exist.)
    – user2768
    Mar 6, 2020 at 13:24
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    @user2768: no thesis is ever truly self-contained ... they all build on previous work. Ideally, every scientific article should tell a story (although for theses, there are often several stories, one for each chapter). The real question is: do these experimental results add or detract from the story that the thesis is telling. I can imagine each of these alternatives being possible. Mar 6, 2020 at 13:28

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