turning phd into published form


I had been told by my external examiner at my viva voce that I should publish my thesis as a book or salami it up as a series of journal articles. Great, I thought, but how do I do this? My viva was not the time to ask and my soon afterwards requests to my external, then internal advisors and then supervisor for the how's, when's, whom to contact have fallen on deaf ears. Can anyone offer me guidance?

First, figure out which is best for your immediate career, a book or some articles. In most fields, it will be the articles, so put together a list of those journals in your field where your articles might fit. (Your reference librarian can help here.) Look in recent issues for submission information.

Some people will send articles directly to the editors with no prior contact, but others will call or email editors with brief proposals. This pre-submission contact may reduce the time wasted by sending articles to the "wrong" journals. Of course, this is no guarantee that the article will be published.

Hi, Anon,

Interestingly you and I are considering the same issues at the moment.

I just got the results for my Ph.D thesis a few days ago. Thankfully, I got very good results and now I too am pondering the issue of publishing aspects of my thesis. So I will be very interested in reading the responses from more experienced academics who have successfully published work.

My thesis is about 110,000 words. So there is a lot there to consider. For example, which aspects of this thesis are worth publishing; turning chapters into article; and to which journals I should send them too.

My supervisor and I will be meeting shortly to consider these issues. Even though I am in Australia, I really would love to have some work published in two British academic journals. My thesis has a connection between Australia and Britain. I have researched these journals to get a feel for their politics and to determine what type of articles they may accept. There are also Australian journals that my supervisor has mentioned.  

One thing I did notice (and I really do speak as a novice here) is that if you know someone who is connected to a journal it may make things easier. My supervisor is a very senior scholar and has been an editor on many journals. So I think he will definately offer some helpful guidance. I also know a retired editor whom I asked to proofread my thesis before I submitted it for examination. She indicated to me that she can seen many articles that could be produced from my thesis. So I will be definitely consulting her as well.  

If your supervisor has not been so helpful in this regard then how about seeking the advice of other scholars in your field of study? They may be more forthcoming with assistance.

I wish you every success in the pursuit of publishing. As I said, I am just starting out myself and I feel both excited and apprehensive at times, because I know the road ahead is not going to be easy. I am forever reminded of: "Publish or Perish"!

Good luck to you!


new author:
After being encouraged by colleagues that my thesis was a "good" book, I felt that the work to publish with a good university press was easier than finding a way to re-craft chapters into articles. My 115,000-word thesis became a 90,000-word book. I am also writing a separate journal article on methodological issues.  

I highly recommend two resources which could help your decision and, especially, provide loads of tips on how to approach editors and re-edit your thesis: William Germano, Getting it Published; Beth Luey (ed), Revising Your Dissertation.  

Good luck!


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