Anyone done/doing a PhD by publication?

Avatar for sneaks

Or knows people that have/are doing this?

If so how many publications are expected? do they have to be the first author on all of them? and do you have to put it together in some kind of thesis?


Hi Sneaks,

At my Uni you need 5 publications, all of which you need to be first named author on! They're then put together as a new style thesis, i.e. each paper done as a chapter, with a main introduction and conclusion to the whole thing.
My supervisor offers this to a lot of the technicians in our lab, although never follows through with his promises!

Avatar for EV

I have the option of doing my PhD by publication. At my uni we need three 1st authored articles (I think some people have even got away with submitted and not necessarily published articles too!)

Avatar for sneaks

That's interesting! My uni seems to have a vague paragraph, saying some people can do it as long as they have the school's permission, but no real info on how many publications and what standard is expected.

I'm just wondering because I have my 1st article going into submission this week and am writing my next two up as we speak. I realy don't see the point of re-writing them in thesis format - seems a little silly if I can get away with tagging an intro and discussion on the end!


Hey Sneaks, my supervisor has recommended that I do my PhD by publication, although not all of her students are doing it this way. She reckons that I should get stuff published as I go along because she 'likes my writing style', is confident that we can get the papers published, and says there's no point in writing stuff up for my thesis and then writing it up again for publication at a later date (which I completely agree with). Apparently all that is required is 3 publications, but I already have three papers submitted (two accepted so far and one under review still) and am aiming for four results papers and a discussion paper on top of this (I'm currently working on the first 2 results papers). I will be first author on all of these, with my sup second. However, I did speak to my chairperson last week who was really happy about what I am doing, but did say that basically I am doing enough for 2 PhDs, so certainly this number of publications is not required. But basically I will write an introduction section and a discussion section and put all of the publications in between- or at least that's the plan. By the time I am writing up it is unlikely that all of the papers will be published or in press, but they should at least all be submitted. I think it's a really good way to do a PhD if you enjoy writing papers, and especially if you want to get a post-doc. My chairperson said based on what she has seen of my work I should have no problems getting a post-doc afterwards, which is encouraging but I am still well aware of how tough it is and am not banking on it being easy to find something. Still, the publications will help! Best, KB

Avatar for sneaks

Thanks Keenbean.

I have 1 paper going to submission this week. I am writing my second one up now and have my third one (all data collected) ready for write up - a lot of the lit for this is alerady written so its just re-organising it. I also would like to write up a methodology paper, which I'd have to do anyway for a thesis so thought I might as well publish! If I could get all of them submitted by August I would be super-pleased! I guess its just making sure they go to journals that a) are noteworthy enough for a PhD and b) have a quick turn around time.

Although I have a sneaky sneaks suspician that my sup will let me put in the chapters as stand alone articles with an overall intro and dicussion anyway - even if they aren't submitted.