Expected PhD Timeline

08-Apr-17, 06:15
edited about 8 seconds later
Avatar for serena91
posted about 6 months ago
I just started my PhD a few months ago in experimental psychology, and am wondering what the usual timeline is for students in my field in terms of publishing. This is a 3 year degree.
I am hoping to collect enough data for one or two papers in my first year, but due to the structure of my lab I will only be able to finalise data collection at the start of my 2nd year. Is it worrying that I will not publish within my 1st year? If so, should I be working on a collaborative review or some form of meta-analysis so I can publish something in my first year?
Also, what is a reasonable number of papers to expect for a good thesis? I am aware the minimum at my department seems to be 3, but was hoping to aim for 5 or more. Does anyone have any advice on how to pace myself throughout the degree in order to accomplish these goals?
Thanks for the advice / help!
10-Apr-17, 11:47
edited about 3 seconds later
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 6 months ago
I'm in Biology and if anyone gets a publication in their second year, that's considered very good. Most people don't publish until their 3rd or 4th year.

If you get three papers from your thesis, that's considered good. Again, many people don't get that. I've got four papers from my PhD, one review and three data papers.
10-Apr-17, 17:07
edited about 35 minutes later
Avatar for ZaoRazor
posted about 6 months ago

I wouldn't worry too much about it. I'm a 2nd year PhD in Psychology (psychobiology/neurosciences). Out of the 8 PhDs in my cohort, only one (also in her 2nd year) has managed to publish something from her first year experiments, and only because her studies are done online. She can run 3 experiments at the same time and collect all the data she needs within 3 hours of putting it online.

It depends on your project, I guess. To be honest, publishing something in your first year is extremely rare unless you've been working on that project before starting your PhD. Data collection and writing-up a paper always takes longer than what you expect. Also, most good journals (APA) will make you jump through hoops to get things published. With the recent reproducibility crisis it is very likely that they will ask you to replicate your findings before considering publishing it. It's a long and tedious process...

My supervisors (even before the PhD) have always told me to focus on quality rather than quantity. Don't think about how many publications you need to get - focus on publishing studies that are highly influential. No-one is impressed by a bunch of studies published in low-quality journals.. Meta-analyses are VERY time consuming - I would go for a literature review instead...

Hope that helps!

10-Apr-17, 17:24
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 6 months ago
Useful ZaoRazor!
11-Apr-17, 01:12
edited about 24 seconds later
Avatar for serena91
posted about 6 months ago
Thank you all, this is really helpful! I was getting a bit anxious about how long this might take me but it seems normal.


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