Advice please: PhD by Publication through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership


Hi everyone!

A request for some advice please. In the final recruitment rounds for a KTP in a research area I love in building physics (can't say any more than this), but I am hugely conflicted as I really wanted my next career step to be getting a PhD full-time through a studentship.

To resolve this conflict, I want to go with the KTP but do a PhD by Publication alongside this, but while there are lots of people who've done PhDs who I can explore experiences with, I'm yet to come across anyone who's done a PhD by Publication who can offer advice.

The clear pros are that:
- I would get a PhD much sooner (30-month KTP project with a short writing up period after);
- way more cost effective as a salaried role provides more income than a studentship;
- still in control of the research due to the definition of KTP Associate roles;
- get to progress my publishing agenda

I can't really see any cons, unless PhDs by Publication are in lower regard (are they?). Obviously I am not able to define the project (but the KTP project is perfect for my research interests and studentships are typically defined anyway) nor devote my full time to the PhD (and I predict a small extra workload).

Main concerns are the risks: that is slippage on getting published which would delay getting the PhD plus the writing up period (I think six months post-KTP, is this realistic?). Also have questions around how many publications people typically contribute: I would envisage 6 distinct publications being included, plus some content from previous publications.

Very grateful for any responses!

Avatar for rewt

Hi J202,

I don't think there is any stigma attached to either KTPs or thesis by publication, the latter is sometimes held in higher regard. Usually a thesis by publication requires at least 3 publications but I think it depends on the length of the publications as well as the overall contribution. You might be held up by journal delay but you can submit papers during your PhD so you have most of them in print by the time of write up. If not, you can say that the paper is "under review in X journal" or "prepared for publication in X journal. Also a standard thesis by-publication normally requires less write-up as you only need introduction and conclusion chapters and maybe a chapter linking them. I tried changing to PhD by publication but wasn't allowed but nearly of all of my results chapters are copied and pasted from published papers but with some additional data to strengthen on point as well as a massive literature review. I would just be concerned about the data restrictions the company might want as I know some people who couldn't publish anything because the company was overly sensitive.


Hi Rewt!

Thanks for your message and your perspective on how PhD by publication is viewed. I didn’t realise you could submit that few publications, but the KTP would be very research active (I can’t say any more about it as it wouldn’t be fair) so would be well over this amount. Journal delays still a risk of course but the project is very keen on publishing and isn’t with a commercial body (so no restrictions on publishing or sensitivity for commercial reasons). The university it would be with only requires an integrating chapter to introduce the thesis, not a conclusion.