News - December 19, 2019

Cover Prize 2019: whose was the nicest?

Roelof Kleis

A thesis is all about the content. But appearances do matter too. The Cover Prize puts the nicest thesis cover of 2019 in the limelight. Online voting opened this week.

By the time they finish, most PhD students are delighted it’s all over. Writing up their thesis is a particularly arduous task. And then you have to think about the book cover. You can often see how much thought has gone into that: by no means all covers are particularly apt, let alone attractive. And a book does get judged by its cover – at least as a first impression.

To encourage PhD students to aim for an attractive cover, Resource launched the Cover Prize 11 years ago. And for a few years now, it’s been visitors to Resource-online who decide whose thesis had the most appealing cover this year. To make that a manageable task, the science editors of Resource make a – by definition subjective – selection of 10 theses, paying attention to how the content is visualized, originality and use of colour and fonts.

The harvest of 2019

293 theses were published this year. Just under half of the PhD students (138) were women and a big majority (70 per cent) were international. This year again, the editors were pleasantly surprised by a couple of theses that stood out for the creativity of their covers, but which for practical reasons could not be entered for the online voting. A few 3D covers, which came with the appropriate pair of glasses, were passed over. Fun, but the effect disappears online. But XXXX deserves a special mention for a cover that responds to body heat. Inventive, but another effect that won’t come across in an online poll.