The reporting of doctoral theses

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TEF, data model for theses

The data produced via the STEP and STAR applications comply with the AFNOR TEF - Thèses Électroniques Françaises - recommendation, which aims to facilitate data exchange and dissemination at national and international level. The TEF schema includes descriptive (bibliographic) metadata and management metadata (administration, rights, preservation).

The TEF recommendation consists of the following elements :

  • metadata modeling
  • XSD schema: an exchange format and validation tool that specifies the structure and content of an EFT record
  • schematron: validation rules which express precisely the constraints specific to TEF, in coherence with the regulatory texts organizing the reporting and archiving of electronic theses
A STEF data model has been designed based on the TEF format enriched with metadata useful for the description of thesis topics in preparation.


STAR - Thesis Reporting Archiving

The reporting and archiving of doctoral theses in electronic form defended in France is ensured via the national professional application STAR, which is available to institutions authorised to award doctoral degrees.

In accordance with thedecree of May 25, 2016 - updated by the decree of August 26, 2022 - which sets out the national framework and procedures for awarding the doctoral degree, the use of STAR is regulatory and compulsory in nature.

STAR, a national system

STAR is a central point in the circuit of doctoral theses defended in France, ensuring their exhaustive registration, promoting their dissemination and guaranteeing their long-term preservation.

Each institution has its own collaborative workspace: as the thesis progresses, the different actors (doctoral students, doctoral schools, tuition services, libraries, etc.) are called upon to carry out the tasks that are specific to them.

In order to promote data exchange and interoperability between information systems, the STAR application offers configurations adapted to the organisational modes of institutions. It is thus possible to import the metadata of theses entered in other information systems and to transform them according to the TEF metadata schema, standardised and validated

Features and Services

The following features are available :

  • archiving  STAR is the intermediary between institutions and the CINES  (CAP).
    • automation of file exports and some metadata to PAC
  • allocation of an identifier: each thesis is assigned an NNT - Numéro National de Thèse - identifier, guaranteeing permanent access to thesis records from the search engine
  • management of descriptive metadata
  • metadata conversion in TEF format in different formats:
    • UNIMARC: catalogue feed Sudoc
    • Dublin Core: OAI-PMH STAR tank supply
    • TEI: feeding the HAL theses open archive
  • enrichment of metadata and links to authority data
  • export of theses to a distribution server (CCSD, Abes ...)
  • search: the database can be queried from the STAR environments of establishments
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STEP - Reporting of Theses in Preparation

Doctoral theses in preparation are reported via the STEP. national professional application, which is a good practice for the visibility of doctoral research in progress, as this information can be accessed via the search engine.

Please note : the listing of theses in preparation does not guarantee protection or exclusivity for the subject in question. The scientific interest of a submitted subject is exclusively a matter for dialogue between doctoral students and their thesis supervisor, who will be careful not to approve a subject that has already been registered.


At the disposal of the thesis managers of the defending institutions, STEP proposes different forms for the entry of descriptive metadata of the theses in preparation and of the events concerning them (e.g. date of defence, change of defending institution, abandonment).

Depending on the institution's policy, doctoral students may have their own STEP identifiers, enabling them to enter and complete certain data themselves. In this case, the connection procedures are sent to them by their institution's administrators when they create the descriptive sheet for their thesis in preparation.

In coherence with the information system of the French Ministry of Foreign AffairsAbes for the notification of theses, the STEP application is interconnected with STAR.

In order to accompany the different stages of the thesis circuit, STEP adapts to the institutions' information systems. As such, it allows theimport of data from different local information sources.

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