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cumulative dissertations

Cumulative dissertations

What’s a cumulative dissertation and what are the rules to consider?

A cumulative dissertation combines different publications in well-respected scientific journals into one doctoral thesis. You do not have to request a specific permission for a cumulative dissertation at the Faculty of Medicine at the LMU. However, you have to fulfill a number of criteria listed below.
Most importantly, you have to have at least 2 publications of which at least one is a first-author publication. Both have to be at least accepted for publication. In addition, both papers have to be published in journals, which belong to the top 80% in their field.

Important: The foundation on which a cumulative dissertation is graded are not the papers themselves but the doctoral candidate's contribution to these publications!
Thus, it is crucial to give a detailed explanation about the candidate’s contribution to the papers. This is best done in a separate chapter. The candidate should outline in detail, what his or her contribution was as this is the only way to evaluate the dissertation. Such an explanation has to be provided for each paper contributing to the cumulative dissertation, whenever there was more than one author. This means the explanation about the candidate’s contribution is also necessary for papers where the candidate is the first author.

Shared first authorship is also permitted but has to be explained clearly.

Since publications that are to be part of a cumulative dissertation must have been demonstrably produced as part of the doctoral project, the supervisor or at least one of the TAC members must be a co-author of these publications.

All the important information about the cumulative dissertation is summarized in our guidelines.

The information in these guidelines can be found in the corresponding Examination Regulations or was decided upon by the Doctoral Committees.

Prerequisites for a cumulative dissertation

  1. You do not need to apply for submitting a cumulative dissertation. However, only original work published in the top 80% of the subject-related journals will be accepted for cumulative dissertations.
  2. A minimum of 2 articles must be accepted or published in peer-reviewed, international journals. At least one of these articles must be published as first author.

    A shared first-author is possible and will be accepted as a regular first-author publication. Please note that as with co-authors, your own contribution must be shown in great detail. Further, you must submit an explanation as to how a shared first-authorship came to be.

    For dissertations in human medicine and dentistry that were registered after October 1, 2018, a publication-based dissertation can be submitted even if only a very high-quality publication is available. The prerequisite is that the doctoral candidate is the sole first author of the publication and that it has been published in a journal which, based on its impact factor, is among the best 30% in the respective field.
  3. The publications must be original work.
  4. For all dissertations in human medicine, dentistry and human biology (aiming for an Dr. med., Dr. med. dent. and Dr. rer. biol. hum.) that have been registered before October 1, 2018 (under the “old study regulations”) publications used in the cumulative dissertation are not allowed to be part of another cumulative (current or completed) dissertation.
  5. The following publication forms are not allowed to or can only be used in certain cases for a cumulative dissertation:
    1. Short Report – if it corresponds to a publication on original work in form and content, then it can be used. Subject to decision on a by-case basis by the Doctoral Committee.
    2. Letter – if it is published in a journal with a double-digit impact factor and the data presented is equivalent to that of original work, then it can be used. Subject to decision on a by-case basis by the Doctoral Committee
    3. Methodological Publications. Subject to decision on a by-case basis by the Doctoral Committee.
    4. Meta-Analysis – you can submit a maximum of one meta-analysis for your cumulative dissertation. The second publication must be based on original work. Cochrane reviews and comparable systematic reviews are treated as equivalent to a meta-analysis.
    5. The following publication forms may not be used: review-articles, case studies.
  6. Unpublished manuscripts, review-articles and case studies; as well as short reports, letters and methodological publications, were not found sufficient after case-by-case evaluation by the Doctoral Committee, may nevertheless be included additionally in the dissertation if they are necessary for the understanding of the work, but must be clearly marked as additional contributions and are to be placed as an appendix at the end of the dissertation. These additional contributions can in no case replace the two main articles required under section A2. Additional contributions can only help to provide better scientific context and a more complete picture about the candidate’s scientific work. Please note that the Apendix of the dissertation is not a "collection point" for manuscripts and articles.

Formal composition of a cumulative dissertation

  1. The dissertation can be submitted either in German or English. Please note: only dissertations written in English are accepted for the PhD!
  2. Cover page (title, name, place of birth, year)
  3. Affidavit
  4. Table of contents
  5. Abbreviations
  6. Publication list
  7. Confirmation of co-authors
    The contribution of all co-authors must be confirmed and submitted separately. This is applies also to additional contributions as outlined by section 6A.
    The forms for the confirmation of co-authors, will be generated for you in your Campus Portal account. Please use these templates.
    Please do not include the signed lists into your bound thesis but hand them in together with all other documents when you submit your dissertation.
  8. Introduction
    The publications must be preceded by an introduction (5 – 10 pages, German or English), which describes the research project, as well as showing which higher problem connects the publications and which aspects are highlighted by the individual papers.

    In case of co-authorship, your own contribution must be described in detail for every original work (section A2) and all additional contributions (section A6). This also holds true for your first-author publications.

    For publication-based dissertations with only one very high-quality publication (see A2), the introduction must be very detailed and integrate the work into the scientific context (about 10 pages).

    It is highly recommended, to explain your own contribution in a separate chapter.
  9. Summary
    The summary must be submitted in both German and English.
    Please note: for the PhD, points 8 and 9 are combined in an “introductory summary”, which is to be written in English.

    For publication-based dissertations with only one very high-quality publication (see A2) a detailed summary in your own words must be written (usually 2 pages). This summary must clearly explain the doctoral student's own contribution (ideally in a separate chapter).
  10. Publication I (including full details on title, authors, journal, year, issue. The publication must be included in your dissertation which you submit for the evaluation, the link to the publication is not sufficient at this point!)
  11. Publication II (including full details on title, authors, journal, year, issue. The publication must be included in your dissertation which you submit for the evaluation, the link to the publication is not sufficient at this point!)

    (You are, of course, allowed to submit more than 2 publications for a cumulative dissertation, as long as these fulfil the criteria mentioned under (A.).
  12. References
  13. Acknowledgements
  14. Curriculum vitae

Style templates for cumulative dissertations

We prepared style templates for cumulative dissertations for you, which are optional for you to use. You find each template under "thesis submission" for your respective title.