Committee on Theses

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 proposals and theses submitted each year in service on the Committee.

Provide written comments for each thesis proposal and thesis reviewed.

Reporting the Committee’s recommendation to the Council in writing and also verbally.

The Committee Chair should attend a portion of the Spring Council Meeting to present the report.

The Committee Chair to 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.

Composition of the Committee on Theses:

The Committee on Theses consists of three (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 three (3) years, and the senior serving member of the Committee serves as Chair. 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 AOS staff.

Council Approval:

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.

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 submitted through the American Journal of Ophthalmology (AJO) editorial system and assigned to the Chair of the Committee on Theses. The Chair of the Committee on Theses assigns the review to one or more of the Committee members. One or two AOS member ad hoc reviewers in the field of interest of the thesis may be invited for peer review and asked to provide comments. Thesis reviews submitted throughout the year should be completed within one (1) month. Reviews of the theses submitted at the beginning of the year may take longer due to the volume of theses submitted by the annual deadline.

Peer review comments include those directed to the author and those directed to the Committee. For decision, peer reviewers may select:

  • Accept
  • Minor Revision
  • Major Revision (requires re-review)
  • Reject

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 through the AJO editorial system, which is directed to the AOS office and the EVP. The EVP may provide additional editorial comments.

The EVP receives the comments of the Committee and includes them with a decision letter transmitted to the candidate.

Candidates must provide major revisions within six (6) months and minor revisions within thirty (30) days.

A major revision thesis is returned to the Chair of the Committee on Theses who makes a decision about acceptance or additional revision and may return the thesis to the original reviewers for comments.

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 EVP makes the final decision confirming an accepted thesis. The EVP, in consultation with the Committee on Theses Chair, 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 three (3) year window of submission. Alternatively, the candidate may be re-nominated again after a two-year hiatus.

Once a thesis is accepted by the Committee on Theses, the EVP is notified and the candidate is accepted as a member of the AOS and invited to the next Annual Meeting to participate in the New Member activities.

The review process uses online submission and peer review set up by the AJO. The Committee on Theses, EVP, and any ad hoc reviewers will be provided a link to the online thesis.

Revised December 1, 2021