A thesis submitted for examination at the University of Birmingham must be solely the postgraduate researcher’s own work (except where University Regulations permit the inclusion of appropriately referenced collaborative research or work – see Regulation 7.4.1. A postgraduate researcher must not employ a ‘ghost writer’ to write parts or all of the thesis, whether in draft or as a final version, on his/her behalf.
Editors, whether they are formal supervisors, informal mentors, family or friends or professional, need to be clear about the extent and nature of help they offer in the editing of University of Birmingham PGRs theses and dissertations. Supervisors of PGRs also need to be clear about the role of the third party editors as well as their own editorial role.
PGRs may use third party editorial assistance (paid or voluntary) from an outside source. This must be with the knowledge and support of supervisors and the use of third party editorial assistance must be stated in the thesis acknowledgement page.
A ‘third party’ editor cannot be used:
- To change the text of the thesis so as to clarify and/or develop the ideas and arguments;
- To reduce the length of the thesis so it falls within the specified word limit;
- To correct information within the thesis;
- To change ideas and arguments put forward within the thesis; and/or
- To translate the thesis into English.
A ‘third party’ editor can be used to offer advice on:
- Spelling and punctuation;
- Formatting and sorting of footnotes and endnotes for consistency and order;
- Ensuring the thesis follows the conventions of grammar and syntax in written English;
- Shortening long sentences and editing long paragraphs;
- Changing passives and impersonal usages into actives, vice versa as may be appropriate;
- Improving the positioning of tables and illustrations and the clarity, grammar, spelling and punctuation of any text in or under tables and illustrations; and
- Ensuring consistency of page numbers, headers and footers.
Where a third party editor is used it is the PGR’s responsibility to provide the third party editor with a copy of this statement (Word - 20KB) and ensure they complete the Third Party Editor Declaration Form (Word - 32KB) confirming their compliance with this statement.
When submitting the thesis the PGR must record in the Acknowledgements page the form of contribution the ‘third party’ editor has made, by stating for example, “this thesis was copy edited for conventions of language, spelling and grammar by ABC Editing Ltd”.
Please also see the Code of Practice on Academic Integrity.