At my uni there was no expected number of publications that you HAD to have to get your PhD (this is in the sciences). However, it was sort of expected that you would at least try and get one paper published in a peer-reviewed journal (or at least submitted to a journal) before the end of your PhD.
There are a few reasons for this:
1) It makes your viva easier - some of your work has already been peer-reviewed, so your examiner doesn't need to review it a second time (in theory!)
2) Work that is of a good enough standard for a PhD is good enough to be published - therefore why not publish it? If you get published early on in your PhD, there is some of the hard work done for your thesis already. I simply rewrote my published paper for a chapter in my thesis and put at the end "also published in XXX journal 2012".
3) Future employment - if you want to stay in academia, you NEED to have publications under your belt. To get a post-doc, I would say you need at least 2 publications in peer-reviewed journals to be even vaguely competitive. Posters/talks at conferences are also a bonus, the more the better.
4) If you want to work in industry, peer-reviewed publications are less important. For my job (in healthcare communications) they wanted to see that I had a variety of skills, so I needed oral presentations, posters AND peer-reviewed papers to make my CV stand out. Presentations at a number of different conferences (particularly in different countries) also look impressive.
There's no magic formula that universities/employers look for, just do the best you can. In my field (sciences), 1 paper is good, 2 is excellent. More than the number, however, it's the quality of journal you are published in... 1 high impact journal paper may be better than 4 in low impact journals for example. I agree with Smoobles- published papers make life easier in your viva (supposedly) and show your work is the required standard and national and international conference proceedings also look good. That said, I know PhD students with excellent theses which had no time to publish and they had no problems in their viva. My advice would be to relax, don't worry about perfect publication numbers and do your best. This will be reflected in your viva.
Hi, here in Austria there is the possibility to submit 3 peer reviewed papers (and some explaining text, but nothing more than approximately 20 pages extra) instead of a whole written phd thesis for your viva. I know some people who managed to do that in their 3 years (some within 4 years) of phd work,
Most people put out one or two papers during their PhD, some three (UK model). Whether this is as a first or corresponding author, or as a co-author does not seem to be an issue.
Putting out two or three conference presentations is usual too (and a few posters where you stand and look pretty too).
I was listed as a first author on one paper (though was not corresponding author) and a co-author on a second before my PhD was submitted. A third paper was put out with me as a co-author just after my PhD. I managed two conference presentations and three poster presentations, plus contributed to a conference presentation by my supervisor and a further by another colleague during the PhD period too.
However, publications are everything as said earlier and the level of data produced during my PhD allowed for more papers to be published. I managed over the next few years to first author (as corresponding author) a further six papers. My supervisor also asked me to co-author a book chapter based on my PhD work and being the main contributor, ended up first author on that too (there wouldn't have been a book chapter had they not included me as they'd taken on too much work - it also help me as I was unemployed at the time after a bad second post-doc at another Uni.). There is also a further freely distributed document on the internet not quite up to journal standard.
The point of the above is if you want to make the most of your PhD and improve your chances of obtaining post-doctoral positions, you should try to get as many papers out of your PhD or other work as possible. I published my data with this in mind, however, as my current job is in the real world my efforts have not benefited me directly. However, it does strengthen my hand should I try or have to return to a research or academic position.
In humanities it isn't normal to publish during the PhD, whether full-time or part-time. It's more than enough to manage to finish the PhD. However if you are aiming for a post-doc then publications will help. But it's not expected, or assumed that it will happen.
If we don't "publish", how do we proof the validity of our work? In my mind, if I could at least publish the work(s) in a peer-reviewed conference proceedings, then I may be able to convince the examiner that the work has "some" validity (may not be true of course).
Also, I heard these days that a publication in a conference proceeding may be equivalent in prestige as a journal publication?
*This is probably a daft question; if the paper is accepted in a conference, would it be automatically accepted in the conference proceeding?
Thanks Ian. Very useful. Coinciding with my minor corrections, I've squeezed out several publications which maybe suitable publications. Examiners were also pushing me to publish which I hope is a good sign! :) I'm hoping publishing these articles will improve my prospects!
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