PhD Reviewer Selection and Rigorosum Senate Constitution
Additional rules for PhD candidates in Computer Science extending the rules for TNF PhD studies
December 11, 2015
The supervisor assigned at the initial registration of a dissertation also normally acts as the first reviewer. The second reviewer should be an internationally recognized expert without any conflict of interest between said reviewer and the doctoral candidate. In academic reviewing processes, conflicts of interests are commonly defined as family ties, previously existing supervisory relationships, or if within the last five years there have been joint affiliations, publications, proposals, projects, etc.
The senate for the examination of the Rigorosum usually consists of the first and the second reviewer, a third colleague, ideally with a background close to the topic of the dissertation, as well as the chair of student affairs (Präses) as a fourth member. All examiners should come from different organizational units (institutes). This is a stricter requirement than the one specified in the common TNF PhD regulations which requires only three examiners.
If, as described above, a conflict of interest exists between the second reviewer and the doctoral candidate, the chair of student affairs (Präses) can request a replacement of the second reviewer or himself by another examiner.
A proposal for reviewer selection and for the constitution of the Rigorosum senate is circulated by the chair of student affairs (Präses) before it is finalized. This allows the whole faculty to comment on the proposal and to suggest potential alternatives. The candidate has to send an unformatted version of the proposal (in ASCII format) to the chair of student affairs (Präses), together with the abstract and the title of the dissertation, as well as the list of the candidate's publications. Upon circulation of the proposal to faculty members, the deadline for suggesting alternatives is set to one week (or two weeks during the semester break).