As many of my fellow bloggers know, we are constantly sent spam "comments" from people offering their services as dissertation writers, researchers, and editors. As my fellow bloggers also know, 99.9% of these enticing offers look something like this:
Great peace of fact about to done by one of my recent PhD search and explaining,information provided is also brilliant. [link to] Dissertation Introduction
well your Po$t is good and i really like it :). . .awesome WORK . . .KEEP SHARING. .;)[link to] Dissertation Editing Services
I can't say that I have never seen a thesis written like that (alas), but I can't decide if it makes me feel better or worse to think that someone might spend money for writing assistance that looks like that.
Maybe the guys who try to get their spam ads posted as blog comments aren't actually doing the dissertation writing or editing. Let's consider whether someone who writes well in the relevant language(s) could write/edit a scientific dissertation.
There was a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education by someone who clearly writes well and has considerable skills as a researcher. Ethical issues aside, that person no doubt provides value for the money, although none of the examples listed in the article involved writing about the results of scientific research performed by the person hiring the ghost-writer. It mostly seemed like the 'research' involved interpreting the results of literature searches for undergraduate and MS students; i.e., the kind of thing you can write by reading Wikipedia and a few other sources and pulling it all together if you put some thought and time into it.
This requires skills (thinking and writing), but can someone with no significant background in the sciences write a convincing document (dissertation, manuscript, proposal) involving original scientific research?
Some of my students have sought writing help from various on-campus resources or friends who are not scientists. If given a document that already contains the data, equations, jargon, citations, and so on but that needs help with the technical aspects of writing, certainly a technical writing expert can help improve the document if they are generally aware of the conventions of science writing. And such writing support can help a lot with fixing basic problems encountered by those who don't have a lot of experience writing in a particular language. I am all for technical writing assistance where needed.
But can such a person write a good Science dissertation introduction for someone else? Or a discussion? What about the abstract? I am skeptical that a non-expert could write a convincing intro or discussion, but maybe they could write a good abstract.
Or am I delusional about this?
6 months ago