How many publications?


Hi Everyone,

Just wondering how many publications people tend to get during their PhD sudies? I have just finished my first year and feel like I am the only one who has nothing in the pipeline in the way of publications. Other people in my office have either worked on other projects before with publications or are being encouraged to publish something already and I was wondering whether this is normal? Whenever i mention this to my supervisors they say just to get the PhD out the way then worry about publications. But is this true or do i need to be worrying? How many journal articles do others publish before they complete their PhD?

Thanks :)



======= Date Modified 23 Sep 2010 15:41:18 =======
What discipline are you in? It varies by subject. In humanities it's common not to publish during a PhD, but focus on the thesis instead.

That said I had 2 single author peer-reviewed papers during my humanities PhD, but I was part-time, and studying forever (well 6 years - it felt like forever!), so had a bit more breathing space.


i've got a big fat 0 :$

my project was a car crash from the start. There's a chance i could publish in the journal of s*** science one day, but that would come AFTER the PhD is done & viva'd up. It is common to have 1 or 2 in my field though (biology)


Don't worry Sarahlouise, everyone is different! i'm just at the end of my PhD with my viva next week and I have no publications relating to my own work. I have potential ones, but concentrating on your actual thesis is much more important. If you can get both then obviously that is great, but it's not the end of the world!

In some countries, such as Norway (?), then a requirement of the PhD is to have a specific number of papers and these are collated to make up the thesis, however in the UK a thesis is all you need to get your PhD. Publications do however prove originality of research and contribution to knowledge, but they are not essential so do not freak out.

I know how it feels though, people around me have publications and it can feel quite disheartening, but it does not mean that your research is any less valuable, and I know plenty of students who have just finished and passed who have none either.

Just concentrate on the thesis and papers will come as a byproduct.


I didn't publish during my PhD either (I did a mathematical subject). I changed direction quite drastically after my first year so didn't really have time as I was too busy trying to get results and develop on those. Having said that every time I speak to my main supervisor he always says "Are you planning on publishing anything...". The answer is always no (I work in prviate sector now and have no plans on returnining to academia so it's not a problem).

I would say my last point is something to consider on - if you're planning a career in academia it's good to be published. If you're using it as a platform to elsewhere, don't worry so much about it.


My papers were very much a by-product. One was my writing up a case study I worked on, which automatically translated into a paper, and my sup said I should send it in to a journal. And it was published, with virtually no changes. And then I was able to rework it into my final thesis.

The other was a short opinion piece about historical archives which came out of talks I gave over several years to trainee archivists. So again very easy. I didn't plan to publish, but one of the archivists organising the training said I should give it a go, and it took very little time.

I wouldn't have gone out of my way to publish though, and certainly wouldn't have spent time that would be better spent focusing on my thesis. The thesis was my top priority throughout.


Hey Sarahlouise! It does vary from subject to subject. I'm in psychology just at the end of second year and I have four papers submitted with about another four to write and submit before the end of third year. That sounds like a lot but basically everything I write, I write for publication so that I can get lots of stuff published along the way to make it easier to get a post-doc etc. Everything I publish will go into my PhD too, so it's like writing the thesis along the way. In my subject publications are really important and most people have a 1 or 2 by the end of their PhD because it's evidence that you can produce good quality work, and you wouldn't get a post-doc without them. But I understand in other subjects it's quite normal not to have any publications, and wouldn't neccessarily be expected to publish until after your PhD, so don't stress too much if you're doing one of those subjects! Best, KB


I don't have any and I'm at the end of my third year. Hasn't stopped me getting a couple of interviews and in my postdoc interview yesterday then didn't even ask about publications (then again maybe they save those qs for someone who's got them!). I'm hoping to get a couple this year from my PhD but my results aren't very groundbreaking so not sure whether they'll be good ones!

and I don't know many people who were published in their first year, unless it was for work done during masters where they were not first author on the subsequent publication.


I've just started my 3rd year (well officially will next week lol) and I'm preparing my first paper for publication, I'm hoping it will be published either this autumn or in the spring. There is nothing else in the pipeline right now for 'proper' academic journals although I have been asked to write a paper for publication in an organisation's journal next summer (with the possiblity of writing one a year for them for 4 years....) but then that was part of the agreement for an award they gave me - ie they get a copy of the finished thesis and I also write an article for them.

As everyone else has said a lot depends on the discipline but its certainly not uncommon to not publish at all during your PhD or if you do then its later on when you actually have something to say. In my first year I only wrote up my lit review (now vastly different) and my sources and wouldn't have had a thing to submit, no arguments, no findings, nothing - that came later!


I'm in social sciences, and have 5 papers published, and will finish soon. 4 of these were co-written with my sup. In my area, it's really essential to publish as much as you can, otherwise I'd have no chance in the job market. Still, take your supervisor's advice.


None. This is something I really regret now. Problem is none of my PhD in Education classes had the opportunity for me to write up a good paper to submit for publication. Plus I was too pre-occupied with trying to get my comp exams going. I would have used my comp exams (which were supposed to be 30-page answers to three specific questions in my field of study) to submit as possible articles in journals, but alas, I never reached that stage (explained in a thread I posted recently). I do believe PhD students need at least one published document before they graduate.

Avatar for Mackem_Beefy

======= Date Modified 13 Sep 2011 16:03:34 =======
When the PhD finished, my supervisor had put out two papers in my name with a third in progress.  Sinnce then, I've put out five papers as first / corresponding author with one last one currently up for refereeing (I expect this one to need major corrections as this is the tale end of my data).  I also collaborated with my supervisor to produce a book chapter, making hopefully a total of ten publications separate from the thesis.

I made up my mind to publish as much data as possible (each adding some new information not in the thesis) rather than all the work just gather dust on a shelf.  However,  each paper requires a lot of time to get right and it's no surprise that many don't get more than one paper out maximum.

I'm also listed as a co-author from a post doc year on a further three papers.   As regards how this looks on my CV, I have to say it depends on what kind of job you're applying for as even with academic jobs you can come across as over the top.

Problems during my post-doc year mean I can't really use all this information to sell myself.   As I'm in the real world again now, it doesn't really matter.