Lower international publication standards, bad doctor status will return

Video: Prof. Dr. Nguyen Dinh Duc about the important role of international publication

– The doctoral thesis “Research and development of badminton for civil servants and officials of Son La city” by graduate student Dang Hoang Anh is being judged by the public as unworthy, with low scientific content. Do you think so?

It must be recognized immediately in the title of the topic, the scientific content and the level of contribution are not high. Not only the thesis on the development of badminton but also many other subjects such as yoga, football, basketball… This is an alarming situation, a warning for managers.

If the management is loose, there will be poor quality doctoral classes, the state of doctoral cloning will take place stronger and stronger without stopping.

Therefore, in my opinion, if I want to evaluate the quality of the thesis, international publication is an indispensable criticism channel of the international scientific community.

– That is, the fact that the PhD student does not have international publication is one of the reasons why many doctoral theses today are not of good quality?

Some countries in the world do not attach too much importance to international publication, but those are just a few. For the rest, the vast majority of countries still require international publication in prestigious academic journals. For example, in Japan and Korea, PhD students must have international publications to defend their doctoral thesis.

After many years of working with research groups around the world, I found that countries that have strict requirements for international publication are 100% very good, working really seriously. As for the country that does not require international publication, the quality of the doctorate is uneven, the people are very good, the people are not really up to the standard. Therefore, the output standard with a doctorate is a vital requirement of scientists.

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Since the Ministry of Education and Training issued Circular 08 in 2017 on the regulation of doctoral training, tightening regulations on output standards must have 2 articles or international publications in prestigious journals, the number of international publications of Vietnam increased sharply, the ranking of higher education also increased.

However, from June 2021 until now, the Ministry of Education and Training issued a new regulation on doctoral training, in which this provision was removed, making it difficult for us to control training and output quality.

Many people say that the requirement for international publication is too high, so the standard should be lowered, but I don’t think so, even some majors now need to raise the requirements for international publication even more for better quality.

If international publishing is not tightened, there will be poor quality doctoral classes. As a result, in the future, an unqualified doctor will not have a team of qualified associate professors and professors. The science and education of Vietnam at that time will be seriously degraded by weak people who do not know what international publication is.

– Can you clarify how the quantity and quality of PhDs changed before and after the Ministry of Education and Training removed the regulation on international publication for graduate students?

After the Ministry of Education and Training issued the doctoral training regulations in 2017, many disciplines/specialties could not recruit candidates. Typically in 2020 – 2021, the national target of recruiting doctoral students is 12,000, but only 2,400 people are admitted (accounting for about 20% of the total target). However, this is a good sign when we tighten input and output standards.

Hanoi National University is no exception, before the 2017 regulation, the university recruited about 350 doctoral students per academic year, but when the regulations were tightened, the number of annual admissions decreased to 200 people. University of Natural Sciences previously recruited several hundred but now only 60-70 PhD students. The University of Technology used to be about 100, but now there are only 20 PhD students.

The number of graduate students admitted nationwide has decreased sharply, but the quality and research capacity have been improved.

From the beginning of 2021 until now – after the Ministry of Education and Training lowered the standards, the number of successful PhD students will definitely increase because of the removal of the regulations on international publication with input. When the new regulation came into being, the scientific community split into two extremes. One side is sad because the quality of international standards is gradually fading away, the other side is excited because it is easier to train doctors.

– Over the past time, doctoral studies and doctoral training programs of higher education institutions have become “fashionable”. What is the cause of the race to study for a doctorate?

Firstly, many industries and schools are short of doctoral lecturers due to raising standards or opening new majors. Therefore, the number of people going to study for a doctorate has increased to meet the requirements of the school and field of study.

Secondly, a large part of managers still have the mentality of degrees. In employee evaluation, they still value degrees more than experience and skills, especially in public agencies.

If we respect the right talents, people with bad degrees will be ostracized and gradually eliminated the negative by real, academic, running after vanity. That does not affect the reputation of the intelligentsia, who do real scientific research.

– So what factors are needed to train a doctoral student with standard quality, sir?

5 factors to note in doctoral training in our country today. First, the quality of the input. Before the Ministry of Education and Training issued the regulations on doctoral training in 2017, public opinion was shocked by the information that the Academy of Social Sciences on average trained 3-4 doctors a day. Or from 2009 – 2016 the entry standard for graduate students only required an essay – a very easy requirement, as a result, many paper doctorates were born.

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At that time, the Ministry of Education and Training issued regulations to tighten Admissions PhD entry. Regulations require that the doctoral entry standard must have a foreign language level of 5.0 IELTS or higher, 1 publication in the field of research. This is an important basis for the university and instructors to assess that the students are ready, prepared and really serious about doing research at the doctoral level.

Second, the qualifications and quality of instructors. This is a very important factor, because if the teacher is not good, how can he expect a good student? The 2017 Regulations require doctoral instructors to have an international publication. This tightening has revealed weaknesses in a number of disciplines, as evidenced by the lack of learners, because the lecturers have not published guidelines, so they do not meet the requirements for admission. Unfortunately, the regulation on doctoral training 2021 has abandoned this provision.

Third, the process of organizing and managing training. This is essential when schools are autonomous and self-responsible in training. Because if this process is tightened, it will prevent the writing of the doctoral thesis.

Fourth, standard output. To control the quality of doctoral training, the output standard is the most important regulation. In the context that some scientific councils, when grading the thesis, are still respectful and lenient with graduate students, international publication is the most objective thing to assess whether the topic or research work is successful or not.

Fifth, is the infrastructure and investment funds for doctoral training. This is the key issue. In foreign countries, PhD students are considered entrepreneurs, they provide scholarships for PhD students. Meanwhile in Vietnam, PhD students have to pay money and do not spend all their time researching and studying. This affects the quality of doctoral training.

There is no funding for doctoral training, learners have to work while doing research making it difficult for them to concentrate and create really quality topics is understandable.

– In case the Ministry of Education and Training re-evaluates and discovers the theses are of poor quality, do you think the doctoral degree should be revoked?

The re-evaluation of doctoral theses is reflected by the public as a difficult problem. Although the Ministry of Education and Training has appraised and re-inspected research topics, it is unprecedented in the precedent for a doctorate to be revoked. The reason is that because they have been appraised and approved by the council of scientists according to the process prescribed by the Ministry of Education and Training, if they do not violate plagiarism, it is difficult to have enough scientific basis to revoke the granted doctorate degree.

The responsibility here belongs to the instructor and the topic acceptance committee. In addition to academic factors, the re-inspection of topics needs to be based on many factors about the research process, the evaluation board…

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