Hello all :)

Now that everything with my PhD is finalized (received official letters from my university and submitted hardbound PhD thesis), I'm moving onto publishing my PhD work. I've managed to squeeze various papers out of my PhD thesis (3 empirical studies, several articles on my new measures and various other theoretical and evaluative discussions on my PhD topic).

I would contact my supervisors in the first instance, but my main supervisor recently retired and my other supervisor moved to America. All in all, I'm feeling a little lost as I'm not sure where to start with the publication process. Both my examiners were very positive and are strongly encouraging me to publish (unlike my supervisors who seem to have cut all contact with me :( )

I've selected journals of interest and looked though previous journals which contain publications similar to my PhD work.

I would really appreciate any advice!


You don't need your supervisors at this stage, and should be able to cope on your own. I did, and have had 5 papers published as a single author (normal in humanities).

The key thing is to follow journal submission guidelines to the letter, and target your papers carefully. You can choose to aim for more ambitious journals that may e harder to be published in, and then if that isn't successful try further down the list. Or you could play it safe and go for an easier journal first. It's your choice, that only you can make. Sort of depends on how quickly you need to be published.

I would not recommend submitting too many papers at once, lest you need to do revisions on multiple ones, and get overloaded. Also do not be dejected if a journal rejects your paper. That is very common, for even the most experienced and successful academics. Alternatively if you are offered a revise and resubmit, even with sometimes harsh referee reports, take it: you have a good chance of being ultimately successful.

For more advice I would recommend getting hold of a copy of Rowena Murray's book full of advice in publishing journal papers. It is well worth reading.

And good luck!


Oh and one more tip: don't spread your work too thinly. I think it's better to have a smaller number of higher quality more substantial papers than a large number of lesser pieces. Also be careful that your papers do not overlap too much. And when you look at approaching journals start with your more ambitious papers first, hopefully those you are most proud of. Then gradually work down the list.


Hi , I echo what BilboBaggins has advised. Pineapple, did you publish anything during your PhD ? I do not understand why you feel your supervisors should be involved now. They are undoubtedly very busy people and also the PhD viva marks the transition from a student to an independent researcher so you should not feel the need to involve them. There is no harm in submitting to a journal and being rejected - this is part of the whole process Sometimes it is very beneficial if the paper goes out for review and is rejected because you receive crucial feedback. Until the paper is all set in print it is always to be thought of as a work in progress. I suggest you consider which journals are your target journals and make sure you tailor the articles to their specific requirements - choosing the right paper category to submit to and the style is appropriate for the journal etc. I published throughout my PhD on both related and unrelated topics to my thesis - I am wondering why you are not using this opportunity now to submit the PhD as a monograph - this is what I am currently doing as a book is worth much more than papers on an academic CV and if you publish from your thesis, you may not be able to use the same material if you do decide to turn it into a book in the future.

Avatar for Mackem_Beefy

Bilbo Baggins sums up what you need to do quite nicely. I ended up publishing six extra papers myself without supervisor involvement. If I hadn't, most of my data (I feel some of the more useful data) would have been sitting in the thesis gathering dust and forgotten.

Be succinct in your writing style, don't leave the paper too thin on the ground, but don't overload it either and don't do too many at once in case of multiple corrections. For your first few papers, revise and resubmit is probably your best outcome for the simple reason you learn what is the right level of detail or approach for a paper in your field. That said, different reviewers have different ideas. I myself have been a hard reviewer, though have got my butt kicked back too (quite rightly with my very last paper, which was way too long).

Paper size should be 10 to 20 sides (if you're approaching 30, you've done too much) of A4 and not a thesis, so keep introduction / literature review to directly relevant literature (including your own) and don't launch into a complete history of your subject. That said, ensure there is sufficient review to provide a rationalle for your paper. Methodology and results should keep to the data set or area your are examining in the current paper only. The discussion should additionally comment on how your data contrasts with other literature (where it adds to, complements or contradicts it), but keep statements simple at a couple of sentences at most. Conclusions should be snappy bullet points with perhaps a sentence or two (again no more) on what direction further work might take.

It's amazing how quickly you fill up 10 to 20 pages, especially if there's graphics or tables included.

Finally, don't be disheartened by any knockbacks as Bilbo Baggins says, as you will learn from them. Think simple and snappy.

Ian (Mackem_Beefy)


The only thing I'd add to Ian's comments is that length and style of papers varies a lot by discipline. So you should do whatever is appropriate to your discipline.

In mine a journal paper is typically 8000 words long, and can be longer. That's not always including footnotes or endnotes. My husband (scientist) boggles at how long history papers are! And we would never use bullet points, ever. Sentences and paragraphs only!

So do what is right for your discipline. Read the relevant journals to get advice. And follow the submission guidelines to the letter. Make the editor's job easy for them, so they are more inclined to look kindly on your paper.


Thanks for the advice everyone. Very useful! No publications submitted during my PhD, but I've got several papers which my examiners said I should publish (ie literature review papers, several evaluation theoretical papers, papers on my new measurement tools and three separate empirical studies).

I'm writing these publications independently from my PhD supervisors, but I was checking to see how other PhD graduates worked though the publication process. Finding it all very daunting and a bit isolating! I'm more than happy to work independently from my PhD supervisors though as I work much more effectively without having to cope and deal with dynamics from previous supervisions.

On a more positive note, a Professor at one of the divisions within the British Psychological Society who I met with just after my PhD viva voce is extremely interested in my PhD publications and wants to meet with me shortly, so I'm hoping this will improve this publication write up stage. I'm really not used to such positive and supportive feedback re my PhD work, so feeling super motivated at the moment :)

Thanks for the support :) Much appreciated!