When being accepted individually in a PhD program, one needs a certain amount of publication work to come up with along with their dissertaition. Are there any rules regarding the number of publications, papers or books created collectively by a research group? If some want-to-be researchers team up, how can they pursue their PhDs together?

1 Answer 1


If some want-to-be researchers team up, how can they pursue their PhDs together?

This is not generally how it works. One does not "team up" and work on a PhD together in that sense. By definition, a PhD is a proof of an individual's capability to do research. Of course, many PhD students can collaborate a lot, and work on a joint project - but even in that case, each student needs his own research questions, his own papers, and, ultimately, his own thesis.

EDIT: just to clarify a bit more. Collaboration is entirely ok, but when PhD students work together, every research contribution (not necessarily each piece of e.g., code or data) needs to be mappable to exactly one student, and each student needs to have a few of those contributions that clearly were his part in the project. I have seen very bad collaborations, where, essentially, person A was churning out ideas and papers, and person B was writing all the code (because he liked programming). In a company, this model is perfectly fine, in a research context this is highly abusive towards person B.

  • I see your point here. So you're basically saying that a research group can never have the same dynamics a company has. Apr 17, 2014 at 15:07
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    @AndrásHummer No, because the incentive systems work differently. A PhD student is not just work force.
    – xLeitix
    Apr 17, 2014 at 15:23
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    Remember: a Ph.D is granted as a certification that an individual can perform independent research and generate novel ideas/insights. A Ph.D is not granted for "work done". That's why a "group effort" doesn't make sense here. Every person being granted a Ph.D has to prove themselves individually.
    – Suresh
    Apr 17, 2014 at 17:49
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    @xLeitix has done a good job of describing how things usually work. During my PhD I've submitted a paper with four other authors. Even though I'm the first author, I've been told this cannot be a major part of my dissertation and can only be an appendix because it's too collaborative. Apr 18, 2014 at 2:33
  • Every phd thesis contains of at least two supervisors plus external cooperate sponsors. They are interacting with each other and decide by consensus in which direction the project will go. This results into a much a higher quality than a single researcher can provide. It is not possible to identify individual work contribution. Sep 28, 2018 at 8:06

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