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A platform where people share great thesis/dissertation topics for academic degrees

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Aug 23, 2020
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An interactive website/database collection of great dissertation/thesis topics to base an academic degree on. The topics would be categorized by field and other interesting criteria. Anyone can submit a topic which is then peer-reviewed and rated based on viability and desirability.

People can use any of the topics for their academic degree or at least find some inspiration while browsing through the lists. The ones that have been completed get linked to the matching paper and are marked as complete.
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Problems with openly sharing topics for thesis/dissertation

Manel Lladó Santaeularia
Manel Lladó Santaeularia Mar 01, 2021
Hi Darko,

While I think the kind of database you propose is really cool, I think there are several problems that should be considered:
  • The main problem is that, at least for research fields, thesis/dissertation normally goes linked to your supervisor and the line of research of their lab. Normally, that line of research is relatively private, especially when it comes to new projects, since novelty is crucial when it comes to receiving funding and to intellectual property (patent applications and such). For this reason, most principal investigators would be against sharing their novel ideas so that other people can do it faster or better than them and take their funding and potential opportunities away from them.
  • The constant evolution and competition of the research field would probably make it so it becomes really difficult to keep track of whether there is already other people working on that specific topic and if they have published results on it. A large database may be impossible to keep up to date. However, I can see this working for humanities-related research, for example, due to its different nature.

Could we come up with a system where the creators of the ideas had an advantage from sharing them? Or maybe they could share ideas unrelated to their field of research? And can we come up with a way to mantain such a database up to date and on par with the extreme speed of scientific development?

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic3 years ago
A PI/lab that has the necessary funding and open positions might use this as a way to attract new people into their labs. Once the position has been taken, the platform page would reflect it and the opportunity marked as being worked on.

This way more labs would be dissuaded in pursuing the same ideas
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic3 years ago
Also, people who come up with these cool research ideas wouldn't necessarily be a part of any lab. They might not care about what happens to the ideas afterward. PIs/labs could grab the cool ones quickly, write them up, get funding and get people on them. Everybody wins. The point of sharing is to get them done.

PIs/labs could use the platform as a source of inspiration. The ideators could use it as a place to dump the excess of ideas. They might not be able to execute on them but someone else should because the ideas are cool.
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Manel Lladó Santaeularia
Manel Lladó Santaeularia3 years ago
Darko Savic Well that would be another kind of platform where labs offer positions, and a lot of those already exist. And however, most of these position advertisements never go into detail on the particular project to avoid being copied. Also, I would not take for granted that other labs would be dissuaded from copying you if you say you're working on it. Maybe they think they can do it better/faster than you and get the credit. I've literally had the experience of presenting some preliminary results of my research in a congress and, the following year, having someone else present a project that was literally copied from mine. They claimed to have done what I was trying to do faster than me, but luckily they were full of bullshit. However, this happens all the time. That's why most PIs would be reticent to share their ideas before they have someone working on them and producing promising results and they see a publication in the near future.
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