Using the participation in peer reviewed publications of all doctoral students in Quebec over the 2000–2007 period, this paper provides the first large scale analysis of their research effort. It shows that PhD students contribute to about a third of the publication output of the province, with doctoral students in the natural and medical sciences being present in a higher proportion of papers published than their colleagues of the social sciences and humanities. Collaboration is an important component of this socialization: disciplines in which student collaboration is higher are also those in which doctoral students are the most involved in peer-reviewed publications. In terms of scientific impact, papers co-signed by doctorate students obtain significantly lower citation rates than other Quebec papers, except in natural sciences and engineering. Finally, this paper shows that involving doctoral students in publications is positively linked with degree completion and ulterior career in research.
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Although Thomson Reuters now index the full first name and initials of the authors and provide a link between each of the authors and its institution of affiliation, this was not available at the time the data for this thesis were compiled. Thomson Reuters does not yet provide this data retrospectively.
Document types—research article or review—have not been taken into account in the normalization process.
Let us recall here that the study of Gemme and Gingras (2008), also based on Quebec, has shown that only 2% of students have authored a book, and 5% to a book chapter.
A report for the UK Council for Graduate Education shows that the prevalence ‘PhDs by published works’ has increased by more than 100% between 1996 and 2004 (Powell 2004).
One of the limitations of this figure is that it only includes post-graduation papers having at least one Quebec address, as this was one of the matching criteria for assigning the student’s papers. Hence, papers authored during a post-doctoral fellowship abroad are not included, except when they are written with collaborators from Quebec. This thus reduces the probability of finding a post-graduation measurable output for any of the classes of pre-graduation productivity.
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The author wishes to thank professors Yves Gingras, Jamshid Beheshti, France Bouthillier, John Leide and Pierre Pluye for their careful reading of the doctoral thesis from which this paper is drawn, as well as the four anonymous referees for useful comments and suggestions. Special thanks to Benoit Macaluso, Mario Rouette, Philippe Mirabel and Benoit Gagné for their help in the assignation of doctoral students’ papers. Finally, support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada through the CGS Doctoral Scholarship program is also acknowledged.
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Larivière, V. On the shoulders of students? The contribution of PhD students to the advancement of knowledge. Scientometrics 90, 463–481 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-011-0495-6