There is a growing interest in quality evaluation of dissertations, both in university institutions or research centers, and also among national and international policy makers.
Research evaluation in higher education is a continuous process undertaken in higher education institutions, for improvement, and carried out by social agents and politicians as measure for investment control and in education and research.
Usually, PhD realization time is about 3 or 4 years, in which plenty of resources are invested but traditionally the resulting theses have been considered gray literature that produced little or none impact.
Changes in higher education models and the change brought by Internet access and new technologies in the scientific media make doctoral theses the most important and highly considered documents.
Through the analysis of doctoral thesis, we can obtain information on research agendas of different institutions, hot topics, most used methods, growth and diachronic evolution of production, networks established through the theses juries, most productive supervisors, gender bias in production and supervisions, among other indicators.
The quality of a doctoral thesis has a direct impact on the doctorate’s future, but also on the supervisor’s curriculum, the reputation of the department, the doctoral program, university, and even the country of origin. Therefore, the evaluation of theses from a series of quality indicators becomes a pressing need. Such indicators can be classified according to the moment they are applied: ex-ant or appraisal, mid-term or monitoring and ex-post or impact.
- Ex-ante quality indicators such as: Institutional prestige, supervisor reputation, previous doctoral skills.
- Appraisal or midterm: Adjustment of the thesis to the research agenda, partial defenses of thesis advances, number and quality of doctoral-director interactions (quality of mentoring).
- Ex-post or impact: Number and indexation of the derived publications, Google Scholar citations to the thesis, citations in the main databases to the articles derived from the thesis, Altmetric´s social impact, and presence and visibility of the thesis in specific national and international databases.