Ph.D. by Prior Publication: Khuram Amin

Ph.D. by Prior Publication is also known by other titles such as Ph.D. by Portfolio, Published Works, Published Papers, and sometimes even Ph.D. under Special Regulations. This type of degree is awarded to a candidate who has already published substantial work which could be recognized by the University equivalent to a traditional Ph.D. The prior research should be comparable to an accepted dissertation of a 3 years doctoral program. It should be novel at the time when it was printed and has to be an original contribution to the knowledge available in the public domain. This route was introduced and adopted in the UK, however, it is now being encouraged in other countries also.

It usually takes one year to complete the process but may be extended a year more if the committee of examiners believe that more time is required by the candidate to present a coherent image of his/her work. Before registration, the candidate is vetted for suitability, quality, and availability of the Supervisor. The criteria to register for this program are when a candidate can demonstrate a prior record of publications in peer-reviewed journals in terms of quality and although there is no minimum number of publications; at least four publications are the starting point in terms of quantity.

However, the quantity can vary considerably where the degree has been awarded on a single submission to sometimes more than a dozen articles. The eligibility may also require a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree with a gap of a few years. Please take note that this is not for candidates who have just graduated. The applicant should be an established researcher, practitioner, or professional with experience to show on the CV. All the work should be original, unique, well researched, coherent, and provide solution/s to problem/s.

Before applying for registration in the program, the candidate should make sure that he/she has enough work to submit by contacting the concerned person at the University. The candidate should also write a word wrap of 10000 words explaining how the prior research has benefitted the real world i.e. ‘what significant and specific impact has the published work had on professional practice?’

The process of assessing the portfolio is as same as a traditional doctoral degree where usually two examiners are assigned approving or disapproving after reviewing the portfolio minutely and viva voce. If the examiners are satisfied by the submissions and oral vetting of the candidate, then the degree is awarded. The process could be more exhaustive than then traditional route as aspirants may have names of several authors on their papers and might find it difficult to segregate their work and may be subject to more evidence and verbal explanations. The student is expected to be the first author in the work submitted. If the candidate is not the first author the contribution should be identifiable in the publication.

A supervisor is usually assigned to candidates pursuing this route, who guides through by choosing the papers from the bouquet of work presented so that a coherent body of documents and other material is submitted. The work is scaled on the freshness, the number of papers published, the quality of journals who accepted the work, the field, and how exhaustive is the peer-review. It can be said it is your most detailed CV of the applicant to date.

The portfolio may include academic papers, chapters, monographs, books, scholarly edition of the text, technical reports, documentaries, films, creative work in relevant fields, and other artifacts. The collection may be as diverse as feedback from the project sponsor, conference papers, patents, surveys, multimedia packages.

The Portfolio Ph.D. can be theoretically carried out in any field however Medical and Law candidates have been its prime source of admissions. Over the period now people have initiated to pursue this route in the field of social sciences. The business and management postgraduates are also now becoming interested in the Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) by Publication which is being offered by reputable Universities and Business Schools.

The qualification is sometimes restricted by universities to staff or alumni. During this doctorate process, the candidate might lack access to labs or research facilities and even might encounter bias from traditional Ph.D. holders as all fields are not suitable for this category of doctorate. Thus it is very significant for candidates before deciding to join the qualification to consult the university management and talk to seniors about the access to the required facilities and support from peers pursuing a conventional doctorate. However the route is bound to grow more popular by time as people become aware and more institutions offer it.

Mr. Khuram Amin