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STEP – Referencing Theses in progress

STEP is an interface for professionals who manage theses in progress in their institution. These administrators record theses undertaken in their institution and in particular validate data concerning the affiliation of doctoral students. This enables doctoral students to log in to the application and add further data.

From the Central theses file to STEP

Theses in progress in those French higher education and research institutions which are authorised to award doctorates have been recorded up to the start of the 2011-2012 term in two different national databases: the Central Theses File (FCT) or theses in Literature, Humanities and Social Sciences, and “Thésa” for doctoral students from the member institutions of the Conference of the Grandes Ecoles (CGE).

These referencing files provide doctoral candidates and supervisors, and the whole of the scientific community, with an overview of current doctoral research and enable them to review works in progress in a research field or discipline.

Since January 1st, 2010, ABES has been hosting the Central theses file (FCT) previously maintained by the University Paris-Ouest Nanterre La Défense. Since ABES took over FCT, the application has been maintained as is without new computer developments. There is no connection with STAR or SUDOC even though the data describing theses in progress is similar to data on submitted theses. For this reason the new STEP application (Signalement des Thèses en preparation, Referencing Theses in Progress) currently under development at ABES will replace FCT at the start of the 2011-2012 academic year. STEP is being developed within the framework of the Theses Portal project.

Continuity and renewal

The steering committee of the Theses Portal project decided that data from the Central theses file will be transferred into STEP, except for theses recorded as having been in progress for over 10 years. As a continuation of FCT, STEP will only cover theses prepared in universities because Thésa covers those registered in the member institutions of the Conference of the Grandes Ecoles.

In contrast with FCT, the coverage of STEP will go beyond the scope of Literature, Humanities and Social Sciences and extend to Life and Exact Sciences. Only institutions with a full or joint authorisation to award doctoral degrees will have their own entry point in STEP. ABES uses the directory of doctoral programmes and research units published by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research to grant these authorisations (Directory of doctoral courses and research units ).

FCT will be replaced by two separate interface systems - STEP et Theses.fr (scope of theses in progress). STEP is the professional interface for administrators in charge of recording theses in progress in their institutions. This staff will initiate the recording of the theses in progress and specifically validate the data about the students' affiliation. Students will also have an authorised access to the application and be allowed to enter additional data. theses.fr (scope of theses in progress) is the public interface that makes available all theses that went through the STEP application. Theses in Thesa will also be viewed in Theses.fr .

Making theses in progress visible

Referencing theses in progress is one of the best practices for promoting the visibility of French research works. It does not guarantee that the thesis subject is protected or exclusive. It is up to the student and the thesis supervisor to ensure that the chosen subject is not similar to a topic that has been already recorded.

ABES acts as a technical operator in the referencing system for theses in progress. It is not our responsibility to approve the academic interest of the subjects recorded.

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