News & events


The ethical aspects of joint faculty-student publications

18 February 2014
12:30 - 13:30

Speakers: Prof. Gloria Thupayagale-Tshweneagae and Prof. Tennyson Mgutshini, School of Health Studies, UNISA

Date: 18 February 2014

Higher education’s climate demands increasing levels of written output from academics which puts pressure on supervisors to want to publish with or from students’ doctoral thesis as lead or co-authors. The prospects of this emanate from the well-known adage of “Publish or perish”. Supervisors, in their need to publish themselves, may consider that their names be included in the listing of authors on all publications from the students’ theses or dissertations. Many scholars would argue that publishing with your graduate student is ethical if you have written or edited the manuscript whereas others hold the opinion that supervision of the research project without actually writing or editing a manuscript is sufficient to warrant inclusion as an author. A third situation arises when a student does not attempt to publish his/her thesis or dissertation. To many faculties, this seems a loss of their efforts spent guiding the student. Some faculty even believe that if the student doesn’t publish his/her research within a specified period of time, the supervising faculty has the right to publish the research as primary author.

The purpose of this presentation is to raise a debate on graduate research supervision and joint student-supervisor authorship. I propose the position that publishing with graduate students should not be seen as payback time for the supervisory role and recommend that students’ plans for publication be discussed early in the supervisory process with agreed upon roles in manuscript preparation be clearly delineated and agreed up.  In so doing, I will address a debatable issue which is emerging in most universities about supervision and mentoring in graduate studies.

Kindly RSVP by 12 February 2014

This seminar may be attended via video conference in Pretoria, Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal. Details as below.  

Cape Town : HSRC, 12th Floor, Plein Park Building (Opposite Revenue Office), Plein Street, Cape Town. Contact Jean Witten, Tel (021) 4668004, Fax (021) 461 0299, or

Durban :  First floor HSRC board room, 750 Francois Road, Ntuthuko Junction, Pods 5 and 6, Cato Manor, Contact Ridhwaan Khan, Tel (031) 242 5400, cell: 083 788 2786 or

Pretoria : HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Arlene Grossberg, Tel: (012) 302 2811, e-mail: