Are PhDs for Westerners only?

In the world of scientific publishing, Western research and writing gets a preferential treatment. What can be done about this?

Are PhDs for Westerners only?  Professor Anatoli Bourmistrov, Ass. Professor Nadezda Nazarova, Postdoc Evgenii Aleksandrov and A​​​​Professor Anatoli Bourmistrov, Ass. Professor Nadezda Nazarova, Postdoc Evgenii Aleksandrov and Ass. Professor Olga Iermolenko with the famous Saltstraumen bridge in the background. 

​The High North Center at Nord University Business School in Bodø has for several years been working with Russian and Ukrainian universities on research projects and exchange programs for master and PhD students. The most current project is the “Norwegian-Ukrainian cooperation in a field of Public sector accounting, budgeting and finance Research Education” project, called NUPRE. 

Major obstacles​

The goal is to develop and establish a joint supervision of PhD level education. The main idea is to allow qualified PhD candidates from Ukraine to enroll at Nord University Business School, and upon successful completion, receive PhD diplomas from both partner institutions.

Despite the fact that there is currently a harmonization process within the world of education, there are still linguistic and cultural barriers, as well as significant differences in academic writing traditions. These differences are a major obstacle for researchers who aim to have articles published in international and reputable scientific journals. 

The seminar’s goal was to reflect upon how international students can develop and transform their academic writing skills while taking their PhD at Western academic institutions.

Academic differences​

Professor Anatoli Bourmistrov, Ass. Professor Nadezda Nazarova, Postdoc Evgenii Aleksandrov and Ass. Professor Olga Iermolenko are researchers at The Hight North Center. They all hail from East-Europe and have successfully defended their PhD theses at Nord University, where they’ve become part of the Bodø School of Accounting (BSA). This is one of the most influential schools of accounting in the Nordic countries. 

One aspect their PhD journeys had in common was the question about to become equipped to deal with the differences in academic writing traditions and how to start being critical. Researchers say that developing critical thinking is a lengthy process of transformation and (un)learning. This is supported by both the formal and informal aspects of the education that will lead towards a PhD. 

It is therefore important to reflect on these challenges in an effort to help the East-European students understand the differences in academic traditions. In addition, it will also make the university and its partner institutions aware of these issues, so that they can design the PhD program accordingly.




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