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Soon, you can attend PhD vivas and pose queries

May 27, 2019 04:14 AM

COURTESY MIRROR MAY 27

Soon, you can attend PhD vivas and pose queries
Mumbai varsity pushes for public vivas or open defence ‘to improve research output’
Rahi Gaikwad@timesgroup.com
TWEETS @MumbaiMirror

Apart from academia, members of the public interested in erudite pursuits will get a chance to ask questions to researchers. In a bid to improve its research output, Mumbai University is pushing for public vivas or open defence for PhD candidates.

“The varsity has prepared an ordinance of rules for the entire PhD process from admission to award of degree based on the UGC regulations of 2016. The university had issued a circular on open defence way back in 2005. Unfortunately, no one really thought about implementing it. Now, a new ordinance has been prepared for the PhD process and the academic council has given an in-principle nod. The ordinance of regulation will be placed before the management council and later sent to the Chancellor of Universities and Maharashtra Governor CH Vidyasagar Rao,” Ravindra Deshmukh, associate dean, faculty of science and technology, University of Mumbai, told Mirror.


Currently, vivas for PhDs are held before a small panel of external examiners and the guide. For public vivas, an announcement of open defence will be put up on the university website and the notice board of the respective research centre attached to it eight days in advance.

“While in principle it means anybody can attend the vivas, we expect only those people who are studying the subject or are involved with it in any way to attend. While open defence viva is the responsibility of the university, if a research centre too wishes to hold it, the university has to send a senior professor to supervise it,” said Deshmukh.

Secondly, the questions asked by the audience will be moderated by the panel of examiners. “One important protocol is that nobody will be able to ask questions to the candidate directly. The questions will have to be given in advance and the chairperson of the panel will decide which ones are to be included. Nobody can make derogatory remarks on the work of the research scholars. With these checks, the process will help improve the quality of research and the research output,” Deshmukh said.

He dispelled the notion that the open defence method will lead to failures or PhDs getting rejected.

“Mere an open defence cannot fail a candidate. The idea is to bring about an interaction with between various people involved in the subject and encourage constructive inputs to enrich the research,” he said.

“Open defence system is followed in some measure, but with the new ordinance it will be followed strictly. Anybody can attend these vivas. There will be an internal referee or a guide and an external referee,” a principal of a city college said.

The University’s Department of Economics, Chemistry and other universities in Maharashtra have been following the practice

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