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Postgraduate studies

Production on the web

Capes is going to disclose on the Internet the 50 thousand theses and dissertations defended in 2006

All the dissertations for a master’s degree and doctoral theses defended in the country will have to be made available at an Internet address and will be able to be consulted by anyone interested. A regulation of the Council for Advanced Professional Training (CAPES), an agency that fosters and evaluates the country’s postgraduate study system, obliges master’s degree and research doctorate programs to present a copy in a digital file of each thesis and dissertation approved. It is estimated that, this year, the volume may amount to 50 thousand academic works, of which 75% of master’s degree dissertations and 25% doctoral theses. In 2005, they added up to 40 thousand. All this material will be available in a digital library developed in free software, at the address www.dominiopublico.gov.br. The version of the works that has to be sent to the agency is the final one, to include any alterations suggested by the examining board. The only exception allowed by the regulation is the works that have some data protected by secrecy. As the regulation is effective immediately, the first dissertations and theses will begin to trickle in already in the next few months.

“Many universities already make these works available. Others do not do so for lack of a structure for making them public. Now, with the virtual address, it will be enough to send the file by e-mail, without any extra effort”, says Capes’ president, Jorge Guimarães. The evaluations of the courses done Capes in 2007 will already require compliance with the new rule. “But we do not foresee any great problems. When the Lattes Platform was launched, for example, it was imagined that there would be resistance, but today nobody wants to be outside it”, Guimarães explains.

With the initiative, the intention is to do away with the invisibility of a part of the Brazilian academic production. In spite of the requirement that doctoral theses originate publications, articles, books, patents or prototypes, this does not always happen. In the case of the master’s degree dissertations, the loss is more significant. It will be easier, for example, to evaluate up to what point an academic text is original, besides which the work of the future masters and doctors can be enriched with references that were not hitherto available.

For Capes, the on-line publication of the theses has an important extra. It will allow the agency to audit the data on academic production advised by the postgraduate programs. “Not that we have indications of frauds, but it is a detail that has to be audited”, claims Guimarães. He recalls that, at the end of the 1990’s, the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) cut 50% of the master’s degree scholarships, with the argument that the dissertations were not appearing. “This is an irregularity that we will now be able to catch”, Guimarães says.

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