Monday, December 13, 2010

WWWikileaks: Who has written the PhD thesis?

A few months ago, I received wikileaks-quality documents with the request that I should make the documents public. I have been hesitating ever since, but wikileaks has lowered my threshold. People who stutter and unaffected academics should know what issues exist in the stuttering research academia. So I am starting wwwikileaks.

The documents shed an interesting light on an unreported and rarely discussed aspect of the academic world of stuttering, namely the quality of the training of PhD students.

Remember the presented documents are only one aspect of an actual event that has happened (or it is a very convincing and mischievous forgery).

Why should we not know? If everything is to acceptable academic standards, the people mentioned in the documents should be comfortable with their actions and its release.

The leaker sent me scanned documents which, according to the leaker, led her to come to the following conclusion:
X, who also completed her PhD via Ann Packman and Mark Onslow, presented written work as part of her thesis, which was actually written by Ann Packman - with no acknowledgement. All three of X's supervisors knew about this. see attached abstract from X's thesis and emailed "template" from Ann.
She then asked for an investigation regarding her conclusions:
I did ask for this to be investigated but the response was not a surprise - "It is not unusual for a supervisor to communicate their perspective to the student on the abstract being prepared for a theses. Nor is it unusual for a student to incorporate some of this perspective into their abstract. It would be surprising at this late stage of thesis preparation if there was not substantial agreement between the student and supervisor."
I did respond that there was a huge difference between the supervisor "communicating their perspective" and a supervisor writing the abstract which the student then edited slightly and submitted as part of her "original" thesis.
Here are the documents, so you can judge for yourself. I have blackened out the name of the PhD student, because the specific student does not seem to be relevant to the leaking.

I will only comment in a later post, and not bias your interpretation. And I of course accept counter-documents or comments from below-mentioned persons.

Here is the actual abstract of the PhD thesis to compare with