In 538 randomly selected Swedish biomedical PhDs from 2008, 50% of the external examiners came from abroad, most commonly
USA and UK. The sex distribution between candidates was equal, while 17% of the external examiners were women. Twice as many
women candidates as men had women examiners. Swedish PhDs are based on work published in international peer-reviewed journals;
the median number of works per thesis was 4. The Swedish thesis examination system offers a model for international cross-fertilisation.
This longitudinal survey of Swedish biomedical PhDs from 1991 to 2009 found a 2.5-fold increase in biomedical PhD graduates,
especially women, and mainly non-MDs, while the number of MDs remained fairly constant. The proportion obtaining a biomedical
PhD in Sweden in 2006 was two and a half times that in USA compared to population and three and a half times by GDP, but similar
to that of the Netherlands. Female non-MD but not female MD candidates were more likely than men to be examined by female
examiners. Fewer of the non-MD than MD women continued to publish in English after their PhD. The median number of authors
per paper in a thesis had increased by 1 (from 4 to 5) compared with 15–20 years ago. Swedish biomedical research was already
well internationalized in 1991, when 38% of the external examiners came from abroad. This rose to 53% in 2003 but in 2009
had returned to 42%. USA and UK were the most common countries but Australia accounted for 2%. When assessed by connection
with foreign research teams, Swedish researchers were also internationally well connected. Studies in other countries are
needed to assess how generally applicable these findings are. Our findings suggest that the policy and management of Swedish
scientific research systems needs revision to harmonize with the national economic capacity.
A review of 649 PhDs undertaken by Swedish nurses and midwives found no evidence that they stop publishing in English after their PhD. The proportion of 70% for any publication in English was similar to that of MDs. A higher proportion of male than female nurses were high publishers of six or more (52% vs. 23%) and eight or more papers (44% vs. 14%) in a 5 year period. The standard of the PhDs of Swedish nurses was comparable to those of other biomedical PhDs and was consistent in pattern over the past two decades. The gender pattern of external examiners of female nurses evolved in that 1992–94, 75% were men, during 1996–97, 54% were men and from 2000 onwards 46% were men. Nurses were examined by foreign examiners in 20% of examinations. They came primarily from Norway and USA.