Share thesis before publication?


Hi everyone,

I found this wonderful forum about a week ago and have posted bits and pieces here and there, but now I'd like to take this chance and ask for your opinion.
I submitted my phd thesis 2 weeks ago and will hopefully defend it in December. So far I have only printed 2 softbound copies for the two examiners and one for myself. My supervisor only has an electronic version of it. Since submitting the thesis I have attended a conference and visited several people who have helped me in the process (research participants and agencies), and many have asked for a full copy or a print-out of single chapters. Most of these people are non-academics, but now a university lecturer has also asked me for a full copy. I met her at the conference and discussed ideas about a possible postdoc with her. She said she would greatly appreciate a copy of my thesis and discuss things further.
Now, I don't know what to do. Talking to these non-academic friends, they understood that I would like to wait until I have defended it and completed all corrections. Even with that I think I will still feel bad giving away copies before my work is actually published, but I can see that they are eager to read it. With the lecturer, however, I don't know what to do. She could be a key person for my future career, and I have got to know her as a very reliable and honest person. Is it a good idea to send her a copy?

Thanks very much for your opinion.


Hi Lexica, I would send a copy to the potential post-doc lady, with the clear explanation that it is pre-viva and so might change slightly. I probably would be more cautious about sending it out to other people who are just interested, perhaps prepare an overview of it that you could give interested parties instead? Best wishes with the viva!


Lexika, I share happyclappy's view. It's quite normal for an academic considering to appoint a post doc candidate to request for either the candidate's PhD thesis or published materials/articles from her/his thesis. This enables the academic to assess the quality (depth and breadth) of the candidate's work. Just be aware that some academics would 'steal' ideas from unpublished materials and hit journals with it, and by the time one considers publishing the work, it's already out there in one form or another. So, I'll personally have to satisfy myself that the academic in question is not reputable for publishing her/his students' works without any references to them -- such cases have been reported elsewhere on this forum.


I share the same view with happyclappy and patseya.

You may also delay the sharing until your paper is published or under review... Keep your supervisor informed too...


Thanks for your answers, guys, that really helped.
In the end I offered the lecturer lady to either attach an electronic copy or post her a paper copy, emphasising (as happyclappy suggested) that it is pre-viva. I was hoping she would get the hint and she did, she just emailed back saying that she is happy to wait until after the viva :)
Regarding other people interested in the thesis, I will tell them that I'll be happy to give them a copy after the final draft is approved.
Thanks again for your opinions!


Lexika should read the thread on
"Plagiarism In Academia - University Response"


Thanks for pointing me to that thread, MeaninginLife, i just read it.
As I said, I haven't sent it to her yet, but I do understand that, as people said in the thread here, that potential appointers will want to see some of my work. In this case it has to be my thesis, as the postdoc would be an extension of my phd. It's a bit of a dilemma, and probably one will have to weigh several things, or rely on one's judgement of other people. Knowing her from the conference, I wouldn't think that she would be capable to plagiarise, firstly because of her personality, and then also because she works in a different field, which would be combined with mine in a potential postdoc. My phd would not be of much use to her and would not fit her research profile/list of publications. But of course, this could be naive and I can be mistaken about her..


Actually, I did send a soft copy of my thesis to a professor. However, my supervisor, Prof A, was worried...

In addition, I also sent a soft copy of my conference presentation to another professor. My supervisor, Prof B, commented that "Hopefully, your work will be acknowledged". Anyway, nothing happen so far. But it can be unpleasant to simply ignore the request.