View Current

Doctor of Medicine by Publication Policy

This is the current version of this document. To view historic versions, click the link in the document's navigation bar.

Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) This policy establishes policy for the academic governance of the Doctor of Medicine by Publication degree, including the admission of candidates, matters related to the enrolment and progression of candidatures, examination and graduation.

Top of Page

Section 2 - Definitions

(2) Definitions for the purpose of this policy:

  1. A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is a research higher degree of which at least two-thirds of the study must be undertaken as independent research.
  2. A Research Training Scheme candidate is a candidate funded under the Commonwealth Research Training Scheme that provides eligible higher degree research students with an entitlement to a HECS exemption for the duration of an accredited higher degree research course.
  3. The Dean is the Dean of a University School.
  4. The HDR Director is the relevant Director (e.g. Director, HDR or Director, Research and HDR) as determined by the Dean.

(3) 'Specialist Medical Qualification' refers to a qualification awarded following completion of a specialist medical education and training program offered by an organisation whose programs are accredited by the Australian Medical Council. Common examples (among many) are:

  1. Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (FRACP)
  2. Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (FRACGP)
  3. Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACP)
  4. Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (FRACPA)
Top of Page

Section 3 - Policy Statement

Part A - Purpose of the Degree

(4) The Doctor of Medicine by Publication enables the award of a doctoral level degree to candidates on the basis of their original scholarship and contribution to knowledge through demonstration of a sustained research effort. It provides formal recognition of established researchers with a solid reputation and standing based on their record of academic publication and for whom enrolment in a standard PhD or Professional Doctorate would be inappropriate. The Doctor of Medicine by Publication requires the candidate to have already achieved the publication of a coherent body of work that is equivalent in its combined substance to the contribution to knowledge that a PhD represents, i.e. that it requires not merely the publication of a certain number of papers or articles but that these when brought together amount to a body of sustained original work advancing knowledge in its field.

(5) The degree is awarded on the basis of contribution to knowledge and a demonstrated capacity for independent research.

(6) The Research Studies Committee will approve a Schedule of Delegations specifying the tasks that may be undertaken by an HDR Director on behalf of the relevant School or Institute Research and Higher Degrees Committee, with reporting to the next meeting of that Committee. This Schedule will be an Associated Document to this Policy, and will include a list of delegations under this Policy that are held by the School or Research Institute Research and Higher Degrees Committee's, the Research Studies Committee, and the Dean or Director, Research Institute.

Part B - Admission

(7) The applicant must have successfully completed at least three years of supervised training towards a Specialist Medical Qualification as defined in Section 2. Satisfactory evidence of completion will be either a certified copy of the testamur of the Specialist Medical Qualification, or supervisors' reports and a letter from the relevant Medical College (or other recognised training body) if the training program is not yet completed.

(8) The applicant must hold a salaried or Conjoint appointment in the School of Medicine at the time of application for admission to candidature, and this must remain current throughout the period of candidature unless determined otherwise by the School.

(9) Applicants must be recognised researchers with an established record of peer-reviewed publications.

(10) Applicants will normally hold a specialist medical qualification, defined in Section 2.

(11) Applicants who have been enrolled in a PhD or a Professional Doctorate within the previous five years are not eligible for admission.

(12) The application will be judged by an external assessor within the discipline to determine the academic standing and/or professional standing of the applicant. The School Research and Higher Degrees Committee will provide a copy of the external assessor's report and the School recommendation to the Research Studies Committee.

(13) The School Research and Higher Degrees Committee must endorse the application before it is considered by the Research Studies Committee.

Approval of Resources, Portfolio Topic and Supervisory Panel

(14) The Dean must attest that adequate supervision and facilities are available before he/she approves admission.

(15) The School Research and Higher Degrees Committee shall approve the portfolio topic and a supervisory panel. The supervisory panel will normally comprise a Principal Supervisor and at least one other member. Panels will be appointed in accordance with the Supervision of Research Candidates Policy.

Part C - Application

(16) The application should contain:

  1. a curriculum vitae including a list of all publications;
  2. a list of the publications that will be included in the portfolio, for examination, in chronological order;
  3. information on citations of all the publications;
  4. information on journal impact such as impact on public policy, number of citations, impact on professional or clinical practice;
  5. details of academic awards;
  6. a brief statement that:
    1. indicates the way the work has developed to form a significant body of academic achievement within the discipline;
    2. demonstrates contemporary relevance of each publication;
    3. indicates the way in which the publications make an original contribution to knowledge;
    4. provides a thematic overview into an integrated whole; and
    5. confirms that the papers have not been previously submitted as part of a degree at any institution by the applicant.

Part D - Period of Candidature

(17) The period of candidature for the degree of Doctor of Medicine by Publication shall be one session full time or two sessions part time.

Part E - Conditions of Enrolment

Conditions of Enrolment

(18) A candidate is expected to establish and maintain enrolment at the University by completing the requirements for initial enrolment and annual re-enrolment.

(19) Candidates must submit a Commencement of Candidature form within three months of first enrolment. Alternatively, the Principal Supervisor must advise the Graduate Research School of the commencement date of the candidate within that time frame. If the Graduate Research School is not advised of a commencement date via one of these methods within the three months, the candidate will be required to either defer or have their enrolment terminated.

(20) Except when the candidate is on approved leave, failure to re-enrol will lead to the candidate being deemed to have abandoned the course.

(21) Candidates are responsible for ensuring that the Graduate Research School is advised of any changes to their personal and contact details during the period of their enrolment and examination.

(22) Candidates must access their University student email account.

(23) Candidates are required to make themselves available for consultation with academic advisors on campus.

Full or Part-time Mode of Candidature

(24) At admission a candidate shall be designated as full-time or part-time by the Dean on the recommendation of the School Research and Higher Degrees Committee, with advice, where applicable, from the relevant Director, University Research Centre.

(25) The fee to be paid on acceptance as a candidate shall be prescribed from time to time by the Vice-Chancellor and President.

Extension of Candidature

(26) Applications for extension beyond one session full time or the equivalent may be considered by the Dean where there is clear evidence that there have been delays beyond the control of the candidate that could not have reasonably been foreseen.

(27) Extensions may be granted for a maximum period of one session.

Changes to Supervisory Panel or Topic

(28) The Dean may approve changes of Principal Supervisor.

(29) The HDR Director may approve additions to the supervisory panel or changes to the portfolio topic during the period of candidature. Changes to portfolio topic may not be of a nature that would require substantial reworking or abandonment of work already accomplished in the candidature.

(30) Changes to the supervisory panel or portfolio topic do not constitute grounds for an extension of candidature.

(31) All changes to candidature shall be reported to the Research Studies Committee.

Part F - Leave of Absence

(32) In special cases, the School Research and Higher Degrees Committee may grant leave of absence from candidature.

(33) As a general guide valid reasons for leave of absence include: serious medical reasons, family/personal reasons or employment-related reasons that are causing significant disruption to the candidate's capacity to study effectively.

(34) The period of such leave shall not be counted as part of the period of candidature for the degree.

Part G - Conflict of Interest

(35) Staff and candidates must observe the principles of the Conflict of Interest Policy within the context of research higher degree enrolment and the appointment of supervisors and external examiners.

Part H - Resolution of Difficulties

(36) Supervisors and candidates must seek to resolve any problems through informal dispute resolution pathways, where possible and before taking steps to initiate a termination of candidature. Informal measures include discussions with key staff such as the relevant HDR Director or equivalent, and other staff members. Efforts to resolve disputes through informal resolution pathways must be documented and such documents must be retained by all both parties to the dispute. Where a resolution to the dispute is reached, the resolution must be set out in a document agreed to and retained by both parties. Supervisors and/or candidates may seek advice from the relevant Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research).

(37) Where efforts to resolve a dispute through the above informal dispute resolution pathway fail, it is open to either party to seek to resolve the dispute by formal referral to the Chair of the University Research Studies Committee [the Chair]. Such referral must include all documents demonstrating efforts to resolve the dispute through the informal pathway.

(38) On the basis of documents provided, the Chair will determine whether the requirements of clause 36 have been met. Where it is determined that the requirements are not met, the matter will be referred back into the processes as set out in clause 36.

(39) Where the Chair determines that the requirements of clause 36 are met and it is clear that a resolution could not be reached via that process, the Chair will establish a sub-committee of the University Research Studies Committee to consider the matter. The sub-committee is to meet within 21 calendar days of the receipt of the referral by the Chair.

(40) The sub-committee will consist of:

  1. the HDR Director or equivalent from another School or University Research Institute (Institute);
  2. two other members of the Research Studies Committee who are not members of the Supervisory Panel.

(41) Both parties will be notified of the date the sub-committee will meet, and may elect to make a submission to the sub-committee in relation to the matter.

(42) The sub-committee will make a decision within 21 calendar days of its meeting and both parties will be provided with a copy of the decision of the sub-committee.

(43) The decision of the sub-committee is final and no further appeals will be considered.

(44) Where a party to the formal dispute can show evidence of procedural irregularity or unfairness, such evidence will be referred and considered in accordance with the Complaint Handling and Resolution Policy.

Part I - Show Cause and Termination of Candidature

(45) Candidature may be terminated for:

  1. Failure to make academic progress during the period of candidature;
  2. Failure to attend candidate research events deemed compulsory by the School Research and Higher Degrees Committee or the Research Studies Committee; and
  3. Academic misconduct as described under the Misconduct - Higher Degree Research Candidate Misconduct in Research Policy.

(46) If the Principal Supervisor is at any time of the opinion that the candidate is not making satisfactory progress, the Principal Supervisor, in consultation with the Supervisory Panel, shall recommend to the School Research and Higher Degrees Committee that the candidate be invited to show cause why the candidature should not be terminated. This recommendation may suggest that the candidate be admitted to candidature in a research masters degree.

(47) The School Research and Higher Degrees Committee will refer the recommendation to request a show cause to the Research Studies Committee. The Research Studies Committee will make a decision on requesting the candidate to show cause why they should be permitted to continue their candidature. The candidate will be told why the request has been made and they will be given ten working days from the date of the letter to respond. The Research Studies Committee will make a decision about the candidature based on the response and information from the School.

(48) Where a candidate fails to attend candidate research events deemed compulsory by the School Research and Higher Degrees Committee, and the Committee recommends termination of candidature, the matter will be referred to the Research Studies Committee for a determination with a full explanation of why the recommendation has been made. The Research Studies Committee will make a determination about continuation or termination of candidature.

(49) The candidate has the right of appeal under the Research Higher Degree Appeals Procedures in respect of decisions to terminate candidature made by the Research Studies Committee under this Part.

Part J - Portfolio for Examination

(50) The examinable portfolio will comprise:

  1. a collection of original authored published works; and
  2. an overarching statement.

(51) The collection may include:

  1. books and monographs;
  2. chapters in books;
  3. scholarly articles, e.g. refereed articles in research journals;
  4. work in media other than text such as exhibition, performance, novel, film, video, computer program, etc.

(52) The submission will not include unpublished work, review articles, newspaper articles, articles in non refereed professional journals, work that has already been submitted successfully or unsuccessfully for the award of a degree at any university, or works where the applicant's role was that of editor.

(53) The overarching statement will:

  1. demonstrate the contemporary relevance of each publication;
  2. make clear the way in which the publications make an original, scholarly contribution to knowledge at doctoral level;
  3. provide a thematic overview which converts the individual publications into an integrated work;
  4. make clear the applicant's contribution to all jointly authored publications;
  5. list the publications being presented for examination in chronological order;
  6. indicate the way in which the applicant's work has developed; and
  7. be the candidate's own account of the work undertaken.

(54) The language of expression and analysis of all work in the portfolio must be English and reach a high standard of literary presentation.

(55) A candidate may not submit as the main content of the portfolio any work or material which has been previously submitted for any degree, However, such material can be incorporated as part of the portfolio for examination if it is clearly identified by the candidate.

Part K - Submission for Examination

(56) The Supervisory Panel must be satisfied that the portfolio meets a suitable academic standard and format and presentation requirements before it may be submitted by the candidate. Supervisory panel approval for the examination to proceed will be indicated on the Examination Submission Form. This form must be endorsed by the School HDR Director.

(57) If the Supervisory Panel does not agree that the portfolio is ready for examination, the candidate may refer the matter to the School Research and Higher Degrees Committee for determination. If examination has been refused because the portfolio does not meet a suitable standard of format and presentation, referred to in clause 56, the examination will not proceed. In other cases the matter will be forwarded, with a recommendation to the Research Studies Committee for a decision. The School Research and Higher Degrees Committee may refer the matter to the Research Studies Committee for a determination if the School is unable to reach agreement. If the examination is refused the candidate will be asked to remain enrolled and to take further academic advice from their Principal Supervisor.

(58) A candidate shall submit to the Graduate Research School three copies of the written component of the portfolio prepared in a form approved by the Research Studies Committee, and include a 300 word summary and a certificate of authenticity signed by the candidate to the effect that the work has not been submitted for a higher degree to any other institution. The candidate shall also indicate in the portfolio the sources of information and the extent to which the candidate has used the work of others. For advice on writing the certificate of authenticity see: Portfolio Presentation Guidelines.

(59) Any component(s) of the portfolio in other media shall be submitted in a form approved by the Research Studies Committee. The Research Studies Committee will seek advice from the School of Medicine on any non-printed text-based component of the submission for examination.

(60) All copies of the portfolio presented for examination will be returned to the candidate. Examiners will be requested to return their copies unless they specifically request to keep their copy and the candidate agrees.

Part L - Examination and Award of Degree

Examination

(61) On the recommendation of the Principal Supervisor and the School HDR Director or equivalent, the School Research and Higher Degrees Committee shall appoint two external examiners of the portfolio.

(62) An external examiner is a person who is not employed as a member of the staff of the University at the time when invited to examine the portfolio, and who has not been a member of University staff within the five years prior to the examination.

(63) There will not normally be more than one examiner from any one institution.

(64) Past Supervisors of the candidate cannot act as an examiner.

(65) Examiners will hold qualifications at the level of or the equivalent to that which they are examining and be recognised academic leaders in their discipline.

(66) Candidates may advise their Principal Supervisor if there is a particular person in their field who they would prefer not to have as an examiner. They may also inform the Principal Supervisor of people that they would particularly like to have as an examiner. However, the final recommendation will be made by the Supervisory Panel to the School Research and Higher Degrees Committee who will approve the examination panel. Candidates will not be informed of the composition of their examining panel at the time of examination. Candidates may eventually learn the identity of an examiner, if the examiner agrees to their name being disclosed on the portfolio report. Examiners may request that their identity not be disclosed.

(67) Examiners will be given guidelines for the examination of the overarching statement.

(68) Examiners will be asked to assess the portfolio to determine if:

  1. the portfolio as a whole makes an original contribution to the knowledge of the subject with which it deals;
  2. the portfolio provides a sufficiently comprehensive study of the topic appropriate to the degree in the discipline area, or in related interdisciplinary areas;
  3. the research findings are suitably set out, accompanied by adequate exposition and are discussed critically in the context of the discipline; and
  4. the quality of English and general presentation is satisfactory.

(69) Each examiner shall report in writing to the Graduate Research School within six weeks of the date of posting of the portfolio. Examiners may be replaced if a report is not received within eight weeks unless the examiner is given leave to report late.

(70) Each examiner shall report in writing to the Graduate Research School, recommending one of the following outcomes:

  1. A - the degree be awarded;
  2. M - the candidate be required to undertake minor rewriting of an editorial nature (as identified by the examiners to the satisfaction of the School Research and Higher Degrees Committee before the degree is awarded;
  3. R - the candidate be required to undertake rewriting that is of greater magnitude than minor editorial changes (as identified by the examiners) to the satisfaction of the Research Studies Committee before the degree is awarded;
  4. X - the candidate be required to revise and resubmit for further examination within a specified time; or
  5. F - the degree not be awarded.

(71) The examiners may request to submit a conjoint report. The decision to permit a conjoint report will be made by the School Research and Higher Degrees Committee, in consultation with the Supervisory Panel.

(72) The examiners' reports will be sent by the School Research and Higher Degrees Committee to the Principal Supervisor for comment and advice. The Principal Supervisor will prepare a written report that will recommend an initial outcome and list in detail any recommended changes to the portfolio.

(73) Where the examiners present recommendations of A or M the School Research and Higher Degrees Committee may approve the initial examination outcome and report its finding to the Research Studies Committee.

(74) Where one or more examiners recommend R, X or F the School Research and Higher Degrees Committee will seek the advice of the Supervisory Panel and refer the matter to the Research Studies Committee.

(75) Where a "Fail" option is given the Research Studies Committee may consider a School Research and Higher Degrees Committee recommendation for the award of an M (Hons) if it is deemed appropriate by the School Research and Higher Degrees Committee. The recommendation may require resubmission and re-examination for the research masters award.

(76) The Research Studies Committee may specify the time within which any additional work shall be completed. Normally all corrections will be made within one session of the candidate being advised to make changes or rewrite for re-examination.

(77) The Principal Supervisor must advise the Graduate Research School if a candidate who is re-writing will need access to the library and other facilities.

(78) The Research Studies Committee will consider the School report and the Graduate Research School will advise the candidate of the Research Studies Committee decision.

(79) Examination outcomes remain confidential until a final recommendation is decided.

(80) In certain circumstances where the outcome is not clear, before making any determination the Research Studies Committee may take one or more of the following actions:

  1. Appoint an additional examiner;
  2. Appoint an arbiter;
  3. Invite the examiners to confer with each other and/or with the Research Studies Committee with a view to the presentation of a consolidated recommendation; and/or
  4. Direct that the candidate undertake such further examinations either oral, written or practical as the Research Studies Committee may specify.

Re-writing and Re-examination

(81) Option X shall be available only for initial examination of the portfolio.

(82) A re-examination will be conducted on the basis of specific advice given to the candidate on what must be achieved in rewriting.

(83) The specific instructions to the candidate for rewriting for re-examination will be approved by the Research Studies Committee.

(84) The rewriting instructions will be written by the Supervisory Panel and endorsed by the School Research and Higher Degrees Committee.

(85) These instructions will be provided to the examiner for the re-examination as they will form the basis of the second examination.

(86) No new criticisms may be introduced by the examiner in the second examination.

(87) The examiner(s) who recommended that the portfolio be re-examined shall be invited to undertake the re-examination.

(88) The rewritten portfolio will be presented for the second examination with an Examination Submission Form.

Access to Examiner's Report

(89) Candidates will be given a copy of each examiner's report at the completion of the examination process. Each report will include the name of the examiner unless he/she requests, in writing, that his/her name be withheld. Examiners are to be informed that Access to Information (GIPA) legislation might limit the effectiveness of this option.

Award of the Degree

(90) When the Research Studies Committee is satisfied that all requirements have been met, it shall agree that the degree be awarded.

(91) On successful completion of the degree, a candidate must submit to the Graduate Research School one digitised (CD or disc in PDF format) copy of the portfolio incorporating all amendments and/or rewriting that was required as an outcome of the examination. Detailed advice on format of the digital copy can be found on the Australian Digital Theses Program web page.

(92) The candidate must submit an electronic copy of the approved portfolio and a completed Right of Access Form in order to graduate.

(93) A digital copy of the portfolio will be made available via the University Library unless the Research Studies Committee, on the application of the candidate and on the recommendation of the School Research and Higher Degrees Committee, determines in exceptional cases that it will not be made available until after the expiry of a period, which shall not normally exceed one year.

Top of Page

Section 4 - Procedures

(94) Forms for application for admission, variation of candidature, examination processes; nomination of examiners, examination submission and amendments completed can be found on the University website.

Top of Page

Section 5 - Guidelines

(95) This policy should be read in conjunction with the Supervision of Research Candidates Policy and University Policies, including:

  1. Research Code of Practice;
  2. Research Higher Degree Candidature Essential Resources Policy;
  3. Research Ethics Policy; and
  4. Misconduct - Higher Degree Research Candidate Misconduct in Research Policy.