Publishing thesis as a book or articles


hi all..

would you publish your thesis as a book or a series of articles?

all along, i had decided that on completion, i should publish my thesis as articles. partly because my thesis was on the kind of area that is dynamic - it keeps changing. a book would quickly lose relevance. secondly, i thought that publications would add to my publications record. i should at least be able to get three decent publications out of my thesis.

however, my boss (HoD at the University where i teach) has been insisting lately that i should publish a book. he's never seen my work. he just believesn all phds should be published as books.

which way do you think i should go?

i don't feel motivated enough by my thesis to concentrate on coming up with a whole book (as in redoing the thesis to make it a book). there is also an issue of marketability. i approached a publisher who thought my thesis area was too specific and that a book would do better if it were more general. i actually agreed with this publisher and decided to proceed on publishing articles after my 1 year break post-phd - which starts next January.

i have written two draft books on subjects am teaching. am just not that passionate about academia (my phd thesis especially hehehehe) - i guess - to write a book on my phd that haunted me for six years. at this point in my life, am happy just being a 'teacher'. after 6 years of research, the last thing i want is a big project.

my plan is to publish my chapters as different articles.

should i feel bad about this - as opposed to publishing a book that will only add one publication to my CV?

please advise?

Dr. J.


I published mine as articles. It was the easiest way to get publications out quickly and I needed to add to my cv to get a job (like yours mine would have needed a lot of revision to be viable as a book). However, it depends very much what sort of institution you are teaching in - I have a very conservative HoD who clearly doesn't rate me because I don't have a book. So it can come back to hurt you in terms of promotion. How safe is your job and how much do you need to be seen to take his advice?


Personally I can't see the sense in all PhDs being monographs. I read one recently that was very poorly edited and read exactly like a PhD thesis, which it shouldn't do. I'd do what you think best, personally. I plan to try and write two books partly based on my thesis, but with big chunks removed and big chunks added.


@bewildered - in terms of job security, i have a permanent and pensionable position - so my job is quite secure. my HoD isn't that influential when it comes to getting promotions. all the HR need to see is three publications and three years of teaching since appointment.

ps: am so encouraged to hear am not the only one not publishing a book on my phd.


@docinsanity - thanks. i think i'll do what i think is best not what everyone else thinks i should do. its my 'academic' life to live..


I asked my examiners for advice on publishing at my viva. They recommended publishing as articles, because it's quicker, easier, and requires much less rewriting. I've since been doing just that, and am getting published as a single author (very common in humanities) in the most eminent journals out there. Result!

Monograph publishing is very much in decline in humanities. I sometimes see people whose books have been "published" by the quasi vanity press like German "publishers" out there. Avoid this like the plague. Publishing with them doesn't give you any kudos, and will not be well regarded for career/promotion purposes by academics with any know-how. In fact it's likely to make you look really daft, and will backfire. If monograph publishing go with a proper university academic publishing press, or nothing. But personally I think articles are fine.


Oh and if you want to get your research "out there" it's far more likely to be read in the form of a series of journal articles than as a monograph which virtually no-one will read. Not least because of the cost of those monographs, which academics would have to shell out for themselves, whereas at least their universities will normally subscribe to the relevant journals. Just a thought :p

Avatar for Pjlu

My university's recommendation is to publish a series of articles from your PhD. It is more relevant, will cover a broader audience, and suits the general thesis more than necessarily trying to 'convert' a thesis. This seems to be the current trend over in Australian university's-my previous university and Master's supervisor also promoted the publication of articles from thesis chapters. You know, even back in the nineties, in my first undergrad degree, I don't remember professors saying this. It was more like 'well some people manage to get a book from their thesis, but in general, most theses don't suit this type of publication.....etc.


It all depends on whether a PhD student should publish his/her thesis as a book of a series of articles. If a student takes an initial broad approach then a book will be fine, otherwise he/she should resort to articles, bearing in mind that if these articles are based on thesis chapters then it needs to be rewritten to ensure that each article is self contained and can be read and understood on its own. It is also better to identify potential book/article publishers because articles have to be submitted based on the publishers in house style. In my case what I did is to send my revised chapters for publication to get a valuable feedback on how they can be improved and it has helped me a lot. As my thesis is broadly based, I have decided to publish it as a book next year and I have a publisher already lined up.