The successful completion of a scientific thesis is a challenging goal for individuals seeking membership in the AOS. The Society embraces the requirement of a written thesis as a major component of the membership application and charges the Committee on Theses to fulfill peer review through a fair, equitable, and unbiased process.
These guidelines outline principles that the Committee members should apply during their evaluations and deliberations. This document must be read and endorsed by those considering an appointment to the Committee on Theses.
Charge of the Committee on Theses:
Reviewing, monitoring the peer review, and evaluating all theses submitted each year in service on the Committee.
Provide written comments for each thesis reviewed.
Reporting the Committee’s recommendation to the Council in writing and also verbally.
The Committee Chair should attend a portion of the May Council Meeting to present the report.
Provide a written report for the Transactions and a verbal report at the Executive Session.
Participating in revising the guidelines for thesis preparation on a regular basis (located at www.aosonline.org/thesis-guidelines.pdf).
Composition of the Committee on Theses:
The Committee on Theses consists of 3 active members, one appointed each year by the Council. Committee members are selected on the basis of their ability and dedication to judge the quality of manuscripts in ophthalmology and vision science. Each member serves a term of 3 years, and the senior serving member of the Committee serves as Chair.
The Chair of the Committee on Theses presents a verbal account, submits a written report, and responds to queries, at the Council meeting on the day prior to the Annual Meeting. In the event that it is impossible for the Chair to be present at this meeting, another member of the Committee should be present for these purposes.
The Council reviews the recommendations of the Committee on Theses and is empowered to modify these suggestions prior to recommending selected candidates for active membership.
Members of the Society vote on candidates approved by the Council during the annual Executive Session.
Criteria for AOS Theses:
The impetus and creativity for the thesis are expected to be predominantly that of the candidate although multi-authored theses are now acceptable.
The work is expected to be new, original, and not previously published elsewhere.
Thesis topics vary considerably and may include clinical or laboratory biomedical research, new surgical techniques, administrations issues, and public service projects.
The purpose of the thesis should be stated, typically as a hypothesis that is based on current knowledge and an apt literature review.
The peer review process should be thorough, competent, balanced and confidential.
Committee members are expected to provide an impartial judgment and to work in a collegial spirit.
Theses Processing and Decisions:
Theses are sent to the Executive Vice President (EVP) by disc or thumb drive in publication ready format by the candidate (NO rough drafts). When all required elements are satisfactory for review, the manuscript will be sent to the Chair of the Committee on Theses in the online AOS system.
The Chair of the Committee on Theses assigns one of the 3 Committee members to monitor the manuscript. One or two AOS member ad hoc reviewers in the field of interest of the thesis are invited for peer review and provide the completed review to the Committee on Theses member who adds additional review comments. All reviews should be completed within 2 months.
Peer review comments include those directed to the author and those directed to the Committee. For decision, peer reviewers may select:
Accept with revision reviewed by the Editor only
Minor revision with revision reviewed by the Editor Only
Major revision with revision reviewed by the Chair of the Committee on Theses
Major revision requiring re-review by the specific peer reviewer or the Chair of the Committee on Theses
The Chair of the Committee on Theses receives all the comments and may add additional comments. The Chair combines and enumerates all the comments, removing duplicate or inappropriate comments in preparation for forwarding to the candidate. The Chair of the Committee on Theses provides the final overriding decision and forward to the EVP.
The Editor also provides enumerated editorial comments to each candidate at the same time and forwards to the EVP.
The EVP receives the comments of the Committee and the comments of the Editor and combines them into a document with enumerated comments that are transmitted to the candidate.
Candidates must provide revision within 6 months or it is handled as a new manuscript with complete re-review required (with possibility of rejection).
If the decision is accept or minor revision, the returned thesis is reviewed by the Editor alone, unless the Editor requests additional assistance.
If the decision is major revision, the revised thesis is returned to the Chair of the Committee on Theses who makes a decision about acceptance or additional revision. If comments were major revision with re-review, then the reviewer who requested the re- review must see the returned manuscript to provide a further decision.
If the thesis is returned to the EVP by the Chair of the Committee on Theses as a major revision after 2 prior attempts at revision, then the thesis is rejected by default.
The Editor makes the final decision confirming an accepted thesis. The Editor, in consultation with the EVP, may reject a thesis at a later stage or at any time if the candidate does not adequately participate in the revision process, is slow in delivery, or cannot produce acceptable figures or formatting for publication.
With a rejected thesis, a candidate may submit a new thesis provided there is time remaining on the 3 ½ year window of submission. Alternatively, the candidate may be re-nominated again after a 2-year hiatus.
Once a thesis is accepted by the Editor, the EVP is notified and the candidate is given provisional membership status by the AOS. Council and membership can provide the candidate full membership status following vote at the May Executive Session. IF a candidate has the thesis accepted by December 1 the candidate is invited to the May Annual Meeting and participates in the New Member activities and may present a paper (the deadline for abstract submission is usually first week in January). If after December 1, then the candidate is invited to the following AOS Annual Meeting.
The AOS will establish an Editorial Board for the Transactions consisting of the Committee on Theses for the year, the Council and Officers, and peer reviewers that participated in the process. If a thesis is rejected, then the ad hoc AOS member that reviewed the manuscript would not be listed, lest the candidate identify the member.
The Committee on Theses consists of 3 members who serve for 3 years. The senior member of the Committee is Chair. The term runs from June 1 – May 31. Since the Chair makes the final decision on the contents of a thesis, a smooth transition is required. The Chair is essential to supervising and monitoring the thesis process, with the assistance of the EVP and the Editor.
The entire process uses online submission and peer review set up by the EVP. The Committee on Theses, Editor, and any ad hoc reviewers will be provided a link to the online thesis.
Revised June 20, 2013