Viva with no journal Publications

Avatar for EV

Hi All,

I have my viva in a couple of weeks and as well as all the typical things to be worried about, I am worried about defending my thesis with no journal publications (sciences). My PhD has been long and protracted (10 years ahem) and due to both technical (experiments taking way longer than anticipated) and personal reasons (being a full-time carer for several years and then suffering a bereavement) and then working full-time for the last 3.5 years. Anyhow, I finally submitted a thesis and with the viva upcoming, I am worried about my lack of publications. I have a few conference papers from the early years of my PhD but I have never even submitted a journal paper. The problem isn't a lack of originality as my supervisor and I have identified several aspects of thesis which would be worthy of publication (in our opinion). I didn't have time to publish whilst working, commuting and completing the PhD part-time and honestly since submitting I just needed a bit of a break. I have established a successful career outside of academia which I am content with and which does not require me to publish. My question to you all is how much of a problem is this likely to be in the viva? I could come up with a publication plan with article names and target journals. I could probably even begin to prepare a paper so that I could claim to have one in preparation. What do you guys think?


Hi EV,
I think you worry too much about it. Most PhD graduates do not have journals. As you already know, journals and conferences also have ranks. It also depend on the subject. If you have a coherent thesis and 2 or 3 conference papers, this should be enough. Papers help to "shut up" the examiners in case they claim that thesis lacks novelty. nevertheless if you have done original research and have a coherent thesis without a single publication, this could be enough for graduation.
Making a plan for publication for them would attract their attention to the point. Again, you have enough publications. You do not have to explain something about it. Defend your original research regardless of your published work and in case you need, use your already published papers in your defence.
You will do fine. Be confident. All the best.


I wouldn't worry about this. And I definitely wouldn't worry about trying to prepare papers in advance of the viva - that would possibly be stressful and time consuming. I would just say what you have in mind for papers to come out of it - that should be sufficient! And if they are saying you should have submitted / published papers then they are by default saying that your work is novel enough! If they ask why you haven't, tell them you are planning to / in the process of it (one or two target journal names should be enough to satisfy them that you have thought about it). It sounds like yours has been a long slog... not long now! All the best for the viva!