Publications in your PhD

I often get asked whether it’s a good idea to publish papers during your PhD. The answer is a bit of a no brainer:  Yes.  You should. But I feel like a bit of a fraud when I give this answer because I didn’t publish very much during my PhD. I was too busy trying to finish it in 3 years and writing papers seemed like a distraction. I wanted people to use my work of course, but I only wrote one paper after I finished then put the thesis in the online repository before I turned my attention to back my job – and building this blog.

On reflection, I wish I had not taken such a laissez faire attitude to publishing during my PhD. Sure, I got my degree quickly, but the chickens are coming home to roost now that I want to get into the grant application game. I think there would have been at least  seven papers in my PhD if I had really tried – seven more than I have now. It wouldn’t have been ‘extra work’ because I could have just used them these papers in my PhD anyway.

In fact, if I had my time over, I would just compose my PhD out of published papers; the so called the ‘PhD by publication’ method. In some countries, such as Sweden, or in some disciplines, such as the sciences, doing a collection of papers instead of a ‘big book’ is a common way to get your PhD. I’m not sure about the UK, but in Australia many universities have a ‘PhD by publication’ stream – but people are usually warned not to enrol in it because it is not a ‘proper’ PhD.

Many people don’t realise there is a difference between doing a PhD with published papers in it and the PhD by publication. There are historical reasons for this confusion in Australia. Before research degrees were supported by government funding in 1999, it was relatively rare for anyone to do a PhD. In many practical disciplines, such as teaching, nursing and architecture, you just didn’t need a PhD to get a job as a university lecturer or to do research (those were the days eh?).

However, as PhDs became more common, we ended up with the curious topsy turvy situation. Some senior members of academic community, who often had very large publishing and research records, did not have a PhD, whereas their younger colleagues, with almost no record, did. With the increasing number of people wanting to a PhD, we needed these senior researchers to be qualified somehow. The PhD by Publication became a kind of ‘recognition of prior learning’ degree. To get one you just put all your published work together and wrote a covering essay, up to about 20,000 words in length.

There has been a fair bit of, in my view, un-warrented snobbery about this mode of getting a PhD. This, in addition to some confusion about how copyright works, has meant that including whole papers in a PhD thesis, which enables the author to graduate with an already populated resume, is not as popular as perhaps it should be. I believe – but check this with your supervisor first please – that anyone should be able to do a PhD which includes publications – in full or in part. I talk about how to do this in some of my workshops and here are the three most common questions I get asked:

How many papers do I need?

This is a ‘how long is a piece of string’ question. The answer I always give is: as many as you can, but not more than eight. At RMIT we set a maximum of 90,000 words, with no minimum. Most examiners will have to read a PhD in their spare time, so I always advise to aim for as few words as you can get away with. It’s far better to have a dense, rich 60,000 or 70,000 word thesis than a 90,000 word one with a lot of padding.

You can have up to eight papers of 7000 word papers in such a thesis with room for a decent introduction and conclusion. But don’t let this large number put you off. If you only have one paper that’s ok – just write the rest as normal. In the introduction you should explain the role of each paper and how they answer questions and / or build and contribute to your argument.

What if I have co-authored the paper, can I still include it?

Yes – although I think it’s preferable if you are the first named author on most, if not all of the papers. In the introduction, where you should have a synopsis of each chapter anyway, include an explanation of your role in the paper and the nature of the contribution from others.

Personally I would be happy to examine a thesis where all the papers are co-authored and some of the papers show the examinee as the second author because I think the conceit of the ‘solo author’ is one of the main flaws of the PhD as a qualification. Demonstrating that you can play well with others is a key part of being an effective researcher, even in the humanities. In the ‘real world’ we all need to work with colleagues – even if it’s only discussing and debating ideas.

However, you need to temper this view with advice from your supervisor. Disciplinary conventions should always be challenged of course, but not too much at once. It’s likely that most examiners would want to see predominately solo authored papers in a PhD. Even I would be uncomfortable if all the papers were co-authored with the supervisor because I would start to wonder how independent the student really was.

If it’s been published in a journal, can I still use it in my thesis?

Yes – but you need to get permission. When you write a for a subscription journal you are essentially giving your work away for free (I’m not going to get into what I think about this system right now, but suffice to say, I’m not a fan). From what I hear, journal editors are happy to give you permission to put a paper in your thesis, but don’t quote me on this. Always check with the journal editor before you sign if you intend to give up your copyright and keep copies of all correspondence. Usually receipt of an email is sufficient, but if in doubt consult the copyright specialist in your institution.

So this is one of those cases where I urge you to listen to Aunty Thesis Whisperer and do as I say, not as I did. Get those papers published! Stick them in your PhD and grow your resume as you go. I could say far more about publishing during your PhD, so feel free to ask questions in the comments section.

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67 thoughts on “Publications in your PhD

  1. Steve Moss says:

    I’m going the publish as I go route and aim to use my published papers as thesis chapters. I have my first already 🙂 My supervisor is really keen on doing things this way, having had students that hadn’t published previously and then found it difficult to write up any of their research. I guess it’s mutually beneficial in many ways, not just for the supervisor, but for the department and university as a whole!

  2. Sandra Fordyce-Voorham says:

    As a PhD candidate in the penultimate year (hopefully) of candiditure, I have been combining the last 6 years of part time PhD study with a full time teaching position. Whilst it may seem that making time to write papers is a long processs (it can take up to a year to write and refine ready for publication) I would highly recommend publishing papers throughout your PhD studies.
    Like yourself, Inger, I questioned the time to write journal articles but now I thank my supervisor who gave me some valid reasons to ‘get published’
    First of all, submit your articles to high quality, high impact journals to endorse your work as a reputable researcher.
    As my supervisor maintains, if your work is published it has already gone through some pretty stringent tests which endorses your work as a researcher once you do submit your thesis (virtually ‘rubber stamps’ it!)
    I have recently had a paper published of the findings of my first study. As a result of that, I have made some valuable contacts of fellow researchers from around the world and now have weekly
    invitations to (ahem) Dr Fordyce-Voorham to present at international conferences.

    Finally, my academic writing skills have improved which means when I do need to write those pesky articles post PhD my skills are already honed!

  3. Jen (@me_udesign) says:

    Hi Inger,

    I really like this post as I’m currently doing my “publication” year in my PhD. When I started doing my PhD my supervisor told me I should publish as it will make the thesis writing process easier. So even from my first year, I was pushed to publish. I decided to allocate one year of my study to concentrating on publications. However, the question that I have is, conference papers vs journal publications. I’m not doing PhD by publication, so I meant in terms of for CV purposes etc. I’ve had people who were pretty dismissive about conference papers. But I do find that doing conferences in itself has been pretty valuable for me. At least, I’ve gotten immediate feedback via the presentations etc… but I’m just wondering, what is the SGR position on this?

    Thank you. 🙂

    • TokenLefty says:

      It depends on the field, I think. For some fields, conferences do full paper review. These carry some weight although not as much as journals. In other fields, there are only abstract reviews, so conferences are more a place to present your work and get feedback.

      • Aubrey Patrick Muswema says:

        I am keen on the PhD by papers route – thank you for this very useful synopsis. I have a series of conference papers that i have been publishing over the last few years (4 to be precise), these were peer reviewed (by a combination of professionals in the field – so technical people such as engineers, and also by some academics) and the abstract and full papers were published in conference proceedings. 1. How much work needs to be done on a journal paper to constitute it being substantially different to the conference paper? 2. Does the title (of the new journal paper) need to be substantially different or could i utilise the same title. or can this be the same or similar?

  4. Kelly Dombroski says:

    I have a thesis composed of five long essays or sections. But I’ve chosen not to do thesis by publications firstly because it IS a thesis — it has a central underlying argument, although each paper can pretty much stand alone. And secondly because in a thesis by papers its really hard to get that depth of reflection because you are in effect writing for five different audiences. (or however many you need). I’ve published two papers during my PhD, and I have another two promised to varying people (one as a book chapter, one as a special edition journal). And I have another two in progress! Crazy, but I do enjoy writing articles — but I’m not so sure I’d do it as a phd. For example, the two pieces I’ve published already were sidelines to my central argument, and it was a kind of fun to be able to write them up and send them off so I wasn’t distracted in my central argument.

    I mostly use articles to test out my chapter theses, first as a conference paper (or papers — I generally present two a year over and over at a several small conferences and one big one ). In fact my thesis started off as a paper that just blew way out and I realised it was a thesis!

    I also think doing it by publication could take longer. If you have problems with reviewers etc.? Not that I can talk — my thesis is taking forever but that is more from having babies during it and fulltime jobs!

    My supervisor has one student who recently submitted in this way, and the 20,000 words was really painful – -she had to show that she had the depth of understanding of a sustained piece of writing on one topic in a really short piece, since her articles didn’t really go so deep theoretically.

    I’m now pleased I’ve done it by thesis, as I think I have a book here if I add in a couple of chapters — I’ve written the proposal already even!

    But I also think publications during your PhD is a great way to get recognition and feedback on your work in what can be a long long process.

    • leadershipliteracies says:

      Hi Inger and Kelly,
      Great topic Inger, thanks.

      Like Kelly, I have been publishing and presenting along the way and so have some publications. Like Kelly, I saw this as an opportunity to rehearse the arguments for my thesis, especially those in my lit review.
      Now I’m grappling with how to best represent the thinking/ideas/arguments that were published now that they are in the thesis. I’d be interested to know if others are doing this (I’m sure Kelly and I are not the only ones) and how you represented these. I’m thinking that I’ll probably footnote them along the lines of “the argument for this section was rehearsed in [name of pub/presentation], rather than saying that in the text and it getting in the way of the flow of the argument in the chapter.
      Any other ideas about not to fall into the self-plagiarism trap…..

      • ingermewburn says:

        That’s an interesting question Heather – I am sure you and Kelly are not the only ones grappling with this. Did you have a read of the comment by @girlinmaths? It seems like a well accepted practice just to rework the paper and note what changes were made. I would be interested to hear what others are doing.

  5. M-H says:

    This is a tangled and contentious area, and it (not this post – the discussions that are held around the idea!) demonstrates a lot of the muddled thinking around what a PhD is and what a thesis is. At the HERDSA conference recently, a roundtable session on ‘Thesis by publication’ revealed a lot of confusion. Firstly, at some institutions there is no rule, and no-one knows what is allowed and what is not. How many papers? Should they have to be written during the PhD, or can things that you published before you enrolled form part of your final thesis? Do they have to be only submitted for publication, or should they have been accepted, or even published? Does the student need to be first author? Does there need to be an exegesis (i.e. an explanation of how the whole things works as a thesis?) One very astute comment that was made was that all of the discussion was focused on the project and the thesis, and no consideration was being given to the PhD as an entity that is bigger than either of these things, and how the ideas of PhD by publication might affect the process of getting a PhD.

    And here’s a thing in response to your comment above, Sandra. Say you are examining a thesis, composed of papers that have been published, and you have serious problems with one paper – or worse, more than one – that is in it. (No examination, BTW, is a ‘rubber stamp’; thesis examination is not the same thing as peer review for publication – although it is a related skill). Are you going to ask for a rewrite? What if the student wasn’t the main author on that paper, and you think there are serious weaknesses in it, in the light of the whole thesis? Should it be removed and replaced with something more suitable? That could be a lot of work you are asking the student to undertake, but you may feel that the thesis isn’t passable without that. I have in my thesis a book chapter, which is the text of a conference presentation I did at the end of my first year of enrolment. It hasn’t been peer reviewed by anyone (unless you count the book editors who simply picked it up on a google search and through it fitted their theme), and I did a lot morter work on it before I put some of it in my thesis – having had it published at the beginning of my thinking process didn’t mean it was suitable for the final document.

    Unless you have clear conversations which show you that you supervisors have a really good understanding of the difference between a collection of papers and a thesis, and that they will help you mould your papers into a thesis that examiners may smile on, I think that students are putting themselves at risk by opting for this method of writing a thesis in Australia at this point. There is still too much confusion around the idea, and there is no guarantee that the examiners will understand what you are attempting. Publish out of your thesis, sure, but be aware that those journal articles mightn’t form chapters as they stand.

    You may not agree! 🙂

    • ingermewburn says:

      I agree entirely – hence my comment about disciplinary conventions and not pushing them too far. Thanks for this Mary-helen – it raises a lot of points I was planning to put in a second post – which now I don’t have to do!

  6. TortoiseMum says:

    Thank you thank you Inger and to everyone for their comments. This has given me lots of food for thought and areas to question in more detail.

    One of the reasons that the idea of thesis by publication appeals to me is that I am struggling to shape my thesis around one central idea. I do have one key contribution of course, but that’s a different thing. I have struggled because I think the research applies to a number of different areas and I don’t want to artificially prune my findings so that they cohere. I want to fully explore and develop those different directions and I think publications can do that.

    For example I’m writing an article about some events that took place during my fieldwork. It’s a reflexive piece in the autoethnographic tradition. It doesn’t fit into my thesis at all as it is currently conceived, but it’s an interesting piece with relevance for the discipline. Thesis by publication gives me the scope to explore these directions without feeling like I’ve got an undisciplined (literally) thesis.

    Although I study at an Australian university, my work is built upon that of scholars who are almost all based in Europe and it’s likely my thesis will be examined by European scholars. Do you think this makes them more likely to accept the thesis by publication approach?

    My understanding is that it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for my supervisors to contact potential examiners and ask them how they feel about thesis by publication before formally offering them the gig. That would help too.

    I personally find articles MUCH easier to write than the thesis. I wrote two out of my honours project and have another one that I tinker with from time to time (and I could get a fourth out of it but I have to move on). I have three articles so far arising from my PhD that are in various stages of completion. I like that articles are discrete tasks. I like that they are assessed by different people each time. When I submit an article and get feedback, I learn something new every time. I have done my undergrad, hons and now PhD at the same institution and have been working with the same five or six academics for the last ten years. I like getting new ideas from outsiders. I like testing myself against people who don’t know me personally. In a small department where the lines between students/staff/friends/colleagues are very blurry, it helps to know that my work stacks up with strangers (or doesn’t!).

    My supervisor is very supportive, in fact it was her suggestion. Knowing nothing about it, my first instinct was to think it was a bit of a second best option but now I’m feeling much more confident about it and thinking it could be the go for me 🙂

    Inger, I still think there’s things you could talk about in a second article. Perhaps you could do an “interview” style post with one or two people who have submitted a thesis by publication? I’d love to read that!

    Thanks again for posting this and the comments have been very useful as well.


  7. girlinmaths says:

    This is indeed an interesting point, because in our country/field (netherlands, maths) there is really no other way than phd by papers. You are absolutely expected to publish a few papers during the phd period, although the review process can take a few years and so they will not all have been actually accepted and published. And almost no students have solo-authored papers, and this never gives a problem. The only way this could be a problem is where to phd students coauthor, and they both want it in their thesis, but even then you can split or significantly rewrite to make if work.
    There are varying degrees to which people rework the articles, from not at all to almost completely. This is all fine, as long as it is clearly stated what’s what. And I have never heard anything about having to ask permission to a journal to use your paper.
    So I think this might definitely work, as long as everyone knows what is expected. It works perfectly for everyone in our field, and I think it is a good way to already have some feedback and build a name for yourself during the phd. Without it there is simply no hope for finding a job. One small point is that it should not be expected that every paper went through the review process, as this would mean that you would have to have your research done at least two years before graduation because of the long duration.

    • ingermewburn says:

      Thanks for writing in @girlinmaths – I knew that this approach was standard in some northern European countries, but it’s good to hear an ‘on the ground’ perspective about what it means in practice.

  8. CarlosEMF says:

    Good points.
    I recently helped with the mock viva of the thesis of a colleague who submitted a PhD by publication in Life Sciences (yes, you can do it in the UK). There were 7 papers in it, including the conclusion (a piece on interdisciplinarity). He got through with no corrections at all – most papers have been published or accepted for publication – but it still looks quite weird to me to have a PhD which does not read as a wholesome piece. I understand your advice is good, but I don’t think I could do it, it clashes with my internal construction of what a PhD is. Now, I am doing my best to publish doing the research – I aim at three publications by submission time – but I will submit a “classic” PhD.

    • jose says:

      hi, where do i find info about that route in the UK. It feels like it’s a backdoor route and a subject people don’t talk about openly.

  9. Lesley Morrell (@BioScienceMum) says:

    The publish as you go along route is becoming increasingly common here (UK) and in my field (biology/ecology). When I started by PhD, my (Scandinavian) supervisor said “So, do you want to do this as a series of papers, which you staple together at the end, or do you want to write a thesis?” The first follows the Scandinavian method, while the 2nd is the traditional method. For me, the benefit of writing papers as you go along has many benefits: firstly, when you finally submit, some of your work has already been peer reviewed and published, thus fulfilling the ‘novelty’ and ‘publishable’ criteria for a PhD. Secondly, when you apply for postdoc positions, you have established your ability to write publications, and increasingly, those without publications, no matter how good the thesis, will struggle to find a postdoc position in competition with those that have proved already that they can do this. Thirdly, writing papers really teaches you how to write in a compact style, particularly as the reviewers/editors comments often come back with ‘make this 10% shorter’ as one of the key comments that needs to be addressed. This means that it becomes easier to write up the rest of the thesis (the non-significant stuff that you can’t get published but spent 6 months on, the general intro and discussion, the stuff that hasn’t got through the review process yet).

    It is standard in my field for PhD students to publish with their supervisor as a co-author, without compromising the independence of the research. I’d expect published PhD chapters to be first authored by the student, with the supervisor as lead (last) and anyone else who deserves it somewhere in the middle. Now, as a supervisor, I encourage my students to publish. It’s good for them, and it’s good for me. If I am investing 3-4 years of my time getting a student from nowhere to PhD, then I want (and need, for REF and for grant applications and for getting a new job) publications to emerge from that research in a timely manner. So, even though it takes longer for something to move from thesis-worthy to publishable, I do think this is worth the investment for both the student and the supervisor. I don’t want to spend all that time supervising a student for them to leave me with nothing but a hefty tome at the end (“I’ll use it to light the sauna”, said my supervisor – the UK thesis being hardbound A4 over an inch think, the Scandinavian one being the size of a novel).

    For what it’s worth, my understanding is that the ‘thesis by publication’ route is different from the ‘thesis which is mostly published’ route. The first implies to me that the author has drawn together a selection of publications from multiple years of work, perhaps in industry, and submitted this together with the covering essay. The second implies that the student has worked full time for 3-4 years on a cohesive project, and has chosen to take advantage of the opportunity to publish as they go along.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hi… Interesting. I think I am coming from the other side. I am feeling increasingly my own pressure on myself to get out the publications – but don’t know how to breach the subject with my supervisers (both very supportive – but the general theme in meetings seem to be – get the research done – worry about the publications later).

    There seems so much pressure to get on / get the publications out – especially general chats other PhD students. and against the ticking clock of UK funding…Just wondering if anyone else is experience similar problems?

  11. bitter lemon says:

    I’m doing a PhD at a European university, one of the oldest in the world, in Europe. My supervisor has been consistently nudging me in the direction of PhD by publication, and recently I have almost fallen in step. But I still have misgivings, as only today a Prof said “Ah, that sounds almost too easy” on being told about my plan. Added to that is the fact that the faculty PhD regulations just have 1 sentence on the topic “It is permitted to achieve a PhD through publication”. There are no requirements whatsoever.

    In recent public discussions within the discipline, in educational journals and such, the consensus that has emerged is that there should not be ANY requirements given for such a PhD. The rationale is that this way each PhD is examined on its own merits rather than being bound by external “rubber stamps”. Also this is intended to discourage the rush to publish in mediocre journals, or low quality articles as a way of chalking up the necessary “points”. So at the moment the position is that even a manuscript of a single article, even if it has merely been submitted, is sufficient to obtain a PhD. The requirement of submission (instead of publication) is because of the time necessary between completion of research, review and publication. Any co-authors, other than the supervisor are required to give a written permission for the article to be included in the thesis, additionally the student has to declare their contribution to a co_authored paper.

    The unwritten consensus that is emerging in the faculty is to have a minimum of one published article in a peer reviewed journal plus one submitted, accompanied by an exegesis of max 50 pages or so. My supervisor has decided that we should plan for 4 publications, including a couple of book chapters. I already have the one published journal article, and the 2 book chapters are almost done. But I am still uneasy as academia in this country treats anything newer than 20 years as a passing fad. As I intend to stay in academia, having a degree that sounds “weak” could become a liability. So I might still decide to chicken out and make it a mostly published dissertation. Just this morning I was planning to have the diss printed with black binding with gold letters, and thick paper to make it look as conservative as possible. So I’m really apprehensive, and very much in the thick of all the questions flying around on this page.

    Thanks for the article, it has again brought my dilemma to the forefront, and I should perhaps finalize my decision.

  12. Jo VanEvery (@jovanevery) says:

    The “thesis by publication” does exist in the UK for similar reasons to what you outline for Australia. I have only heard of it being used by existing academics. Also disparagingly referred to (by an experienced and well published academic who chose to remain without PhD) as the “kebab method”.

    I also know that in some disciplines, like economics and psychology, a PhD is considered to be 3 publishable papers. I’m not sure if they publish those before or after the PhD is awarded or a bit of both, but the sense that a thesis is necessarily one coherent book-type thing is not consistent across disciplines.

    I also advise people to publish during their PhD but there is no reason to publish everything before you submit. A PhD is by definition publishable work but the form in which you publish it can vary. You may also find that there is material that didn’t make it into the doctoral thesis that can be written up into an article afterwards.

    In terms of time, I think that writing up material as conference papers, and possibly as journal articles, can give you manageable goals within the bigger dissertation writing process. The key to publishing while still a student is to publish things you want to be writing for the dissertation anyway, rather than writing extra things.

  13. M-H says:

    Jo, you talk such good sense. I think there’s confusion between a ‘PhD by Publication’, which usually seems to mean that you publish some articles, then submit those articles pretty much as they are (sometimes tied together with some kind of exegesis) for examination for the degree of PhD. That is clearly appropriate in some disciplines. The other thing that people are talking about is publishing as you go along, then including material from those publications, in a slightly or radically different form, in your PhD thesis, which seems to me to be perfectly acceptable – even admirable.

  14. Emma says:

    Thank you for such an interesting discussion so far.

    I’m very new to this, so please forgive the dumb question, but what is the difference between; a) completing my PhD in 3 years without publishing, then focusing a year on publications (presumably as developments from my completed PhD thesis), and; b) taking 4 years to do my PhD, including approx 1 year spent producing publications at the same time? Either way I end up with a PhD and publications (hopefully!) at the end of 4 years, don’t I?

    I can see a difference from the perspective of my supervisors (as highlighted earlier by Lesley) for whom it would be better to be involved as my supervisors while I’m publishing, but from my student perspective, I can see advantages in getting my PhD qualification completed first to be qualified sooner, then using more thoroughly-developed writing from my thesis as the start of my publications. I also feel I’d prefer to focus on one thing at a time.

    Any thoughts?

    • ingermewburn says:

      There’s two good reasons in my opinion, which others here have mentioned. It can take up to two years to get an article published, so doing them in the ‘shoulder period’ just as you finish wont help you on the job market immediately post PhD. Plus the working through of ideas with the help of expert peer reviewers is invaluable and gives you confidence going into examination. Examiners like to hear that you have published – they can tick that off their rubric.

      I wouldn’t wait to get going if I was you, but I can totally understand the distraction factor. Which is why I think it’s easier just to include the papers in the PhD rather than see the two activities as separate. That being said – it wont suit everyone.

      • Mary-Helen Ward (@witty_knitter) says:

        I see what you mean about the ‘shoulder period’, Inger. But I’m not sure that examiners are necessarily impressed with publications per se. And not all unis provide a rubric for examination – ours provide guidelines, and they don’t mention publication at all. For ECRs, including postdocs, submission for publication is included in DECRA applications, ARC funding etc. So you don’t have to have the publications ‘in print’ as soon as you’ve graduated.

  15. huma says:

    i will use a thesis I have composed of five long essays or sections. But I’ve chosen to do thesis by publications on open access publishing as articles — it has a central underlying argument, although each paper can pretty much stand alone. And secondly because
    I’m going the publish as I go route and aim to use my published papers as thesis chapters.

  16. huma says:

    i really wnt to get strted always wanted to do Ph.D also sent in my regitration working full time..dont kno whether i will be able to keep up. 🙁
    i have essays and articles.. whr to begin what to do the best simplistic way out! anyone?!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Seems there is a further layer of confusion between PhD by publication vs by supplication. As I understand it so far, by publication involves a coherent planned research sequence (as usually does the traditional PhD) and is in some institutions *explicitly* considered the equivalent in effort and rigour, but differing in format. Whereas by supplication is a post hoc gathering of articles already written and so does not demonstrate the planned and sustained sequence of study. In my own corner of the world, by supplication is only available to long term staff who have proved their research skills already but never got around to the formal qualification, and crucially unlike the other forms, by supplication is not adequate to enable PhD supervision of others. Would be interested to hear other points of view about distinguishing between the three PhD types.

  18. lesley says:

    This is quite an interesting discussion. my supervisor just asked my to do a PhD by publication after successfully completing my Mphil studies. I have been asked to submit a proposal to that effect but ido not know how to structure it. can someone kindly assist?

  19. skysenshi says:

    I wish I had stumbled upon this blog before. It’s only now that I’m going to conferences and only after I graduated (got my PhD) and resigned from my full-time job as a video game producer (I wrote that resignation letter right after I had finished my defense). I had been envious of my classmates who would go to various countries and present their papers…all this while doing our PhD. I graduated first (in 4 years, as fast as I could despite the weight of my full-time industry job) but it doesn’t seem to be much of an accomplishment compared to their experiences publishing papers and hopping from country to country.

    Now I’m struggling with converting my dissertation into a conference paper and deeply regretting that I was not able to turn into journal articles all those papers I wrote during my coursework. – Sigh –

  20. Dashti says:

    Hi all
    I am in my First Year of Ph.D and I have written a few chapters. Does anyone have any idea how to publish my work. Does anyone know any Journal or Website which publish thesis chapters. Regards

    • gawbul says:

      I guess it depends on your topic/area, but there are pre-print archives available at arXiv and PeerJ that might be relevant? I remember reading about a self-archive site for PhD theses, but can’t seem to find it (I forget it’s name), though I did find this, which looks quite cool.



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  23. Christopher says:

    Not encouraged to do the Ph.D by publication? In my experience it is the complete opposite. I have been to 3 Australian universities (2 Go8) and all want students to do this and it is seen as vastly superior to a regular Ph.D.

  24. Larry Dickens says:

    As a first year Ph.D. student in the USA, I’d like to see some suggestions on first steps, such as, what journals might be best for my concentration (Global Leadership), how to get sample copies, and submission procedures. I’ve looked at a few journals and almost none of them give instructions for submitting an article/research.

  25. Sarah says:

    nice points,
    now i think that both system is kind of acceptable in our university.It has passed two years and I almost had no enough time for doing labwork alot (busy with enormous credits!). the worst point is that people are supposed to finish in 3years preferably with published paper! I already submitted my results to an average journal but there is also opportunity to make it patent (takes time even beyond my graduation that I wont be working in that lab anymore) and be graduated without any paper. I already have two papers from my previous master. I dont really know which one is a wise option to take. would it be more prestigious and handy in finding academic jobs later showing u have patent?will jury give you excellent mark without showing them any paper? what will be the benefits for the student to have a patent?or article is better?????

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  27. kavita says:

    I would like to know if work published in open access peer reviewed International journals are considered as publication papers or not

  28. Anonymous says:

    I would like to know when i decide to publish the chapter of my thesis or some part of my research, do i need to rewrite the whole chapter for the publication again or can i publish it as it is in the thesis without any changes?

    Many thanks

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