Creative Education
2012. Vol.3, Special Issue, 1101-110 7
Published Online October 2012 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 1101
To Publish or Not to Publish before Submission? Considerations
for Doctoral Students and Supervisors
Jacqueline H. Watts
Faculty of Health & Social Care , The Open University, London, UK
Received August 20th, 2012; revised September 1 8th, 2012; accepted September 30th, 2012
Postgraduate research education is multi-faceted incorporating the teaching of a range of skills and study
behaviours. A key skill for doctoral students is that of scholarly writing that Aitchison (2009) argues is
often difficult to teach, with students unclear about the standards required for doctoral work. One bench-
mark of standards of academic literacy is published outputs, with Kamler (2008) pressing for greater
pedagogical attention to be given to writing for publication within doctoral education. However, the case
for pursuing publication as part of doctoral research experience is subject to a number of variables. This
discussion paper debates some of these variables to consider writing for publication within diverse doc-
toral education. Features of difference will be discussed to reveal that the choice of whether or not to
“publish as you go” (Taylor & Beasley, 2005: p. 130) is influenced by the personal, disciplinary and in-
stitutional context that frames the doctoral undertaking.
Keywords: Diversity; Doctoral Education; Ph.D. Thesis; Publication
Introduction and the Changing Nature of
Doctoral Education
The growing diversity of both doctoral programmes and
doctoral students within a globalised competitive higher educa-
tion environment, seen as contributing to the building of a
knowledge and innovation economy (Halse & Malfroy, 2010;
Lee, 2011), is now well documented (Pearson et al., 2008;
Thomson & Walker, 2010). Diversity in doctoral education is
part of the wider changes in UK higher education that in recent
years has been transformed from an elite to a mass system, with
a much larger proportion of the population participating. The
increase in participation, termed by Sankey and St. Hill (2009:
p. 125) as “massification”, has led to an expansion of enrol-
ments in doctoral programmes of all kinds accompanied by the
increased autonomy and potential variation among higher edu-
cation institutions offering doctoral study (Morley et al., 2003).
The traditional “research” doctorate is now just one form of
doctoral education alongside taught (incorporating elements of
advanced coursework) and professional doctorates as well as
the Ph.D. by publication. Cumming’s (2010: p. 25) description
of the contemporary doctoral interface that he sees as positioned
at “the points where education, training, research, work and
career development intersect” illustrates the changing goals and
purposes of doctoral education. Miller (2010) see s these intersec-
tions as part of the wider skills acquisition model of all higher
education that increasingly has “employability” as its focus.
Whatever its form, the Ph.D. text (usually 50 - 100,000 words),
as the principal research product, is required above all to make
an original worthwhile contribution to knowledge (Dinham &
Scott, 2001). This carries the implicit assumption that what is
worth researching or exploring is worth disseminating. How-
ever, the dissemination of research findings, as new knowledge,
has both disciplinary and temporal dimensions that point to the
issue of when and where to publish as complex and subject to
the specific circumstances of the student’s candidature.
Ambivalence on the part of students and supervisors about
the place of publication in doctoral education remains a con-
tested issue. Lee and Kamler (2008), for example, argue for the
tasks of writing and publication to be more systematically in-
corporated within doctoral pedagogy. Kwan (2010), however,
writing in the context of Hong Kong, notes that publishing
during the course of doctoral study is experienced as additional
work beyond the central task of thesis writing. That aside, De-
lamont et al. (2004: p. 171) take the clear position that “gradu-
ate students and their supervisors have joint interests and re-
sponsibilities towards publication in the promotion of the re-
search itself and sponsorship of the student”. Wellington (2010:
p. 139) adds a further moral imperative arguing that it is un-
ethical to do research, especially if this involves human par-
ticipants, and not disseminate their “voices” and the research
findings to a wider audience. Accepting there is a responsibility
to publish, with advice about the mechanics of this as a primary
duty of supervisors (Dinham & Scott, 2001), the subject of this
commentary is the timing of publication activity, particula rly in
light of the best interests of the student.
Against a background of increasing pressure to publish dur-
ing and after Ph.D. candidature (Lee & Kamler, 2008; Kwan,
2010), the discussion below considers a range of factors that
may influence different approaches to publishing during the
course of doctoral study, highlighting some of the complexity
of both the doctoral student experience and the multiple ele-
ments of the Ph.D. process (Hawley, 2010). Discussion begins
with a focus on diversity highlighting the different types of
both doctoral programmes and doctoral students, particularly
the variation of experience between full and part-time students.
Different research traditions across disciplines are also consid-
ered. The next two sections develop ideas that frame a recon-
ceptualisation of a “publish as you go” (Taylor & Beasley,
2005: p. 130) approach in terms of instrumental and strategic
outcomes. The discussion highlights that one of the key bene-
fits to the student of publishing is a stronger grounding in the
processes operating within a wider externally facing research
culture. The article closes with a call for more empirical work
on this topic that, hitherto, has received only scant attention in
the literature.
The rhythms of doctoral research vary according to different
disciplinary research paradigms, the composition of supervision
teams, the working relationship between the student and super-
visor(s) and the culture of the institution. There are also diverse
purposes of doctoral research and Gasper (2010) identifies three
common types: theory-oriented, situation-oriented, and policy-
oriented and highlights that, in practice, these are not always
discreet categories with some overlap often occurring. One
example is that much policy-oriented research is situation fo-
cused with only limited claims for generalisation.
Diversity in supervision practice is a further element that
Yates (2010) contends is often shaped by the supervisor’s own
experience of doctoral study. One aim of the broader quality
control agenda for postgraduate research education is to try and
standardise protocols to bring greater transparency and uni-
formity to supervision practice (Yates, 2010). Two further ele-
ments influential in shaping the experience of doctoral study
are the personal position of the student as well as the particular
nature of the research project in which they are engaged
(Wisker et al., 2003). Differently located students will have
differing opportunities. Where, for example, there is disruption
due to changes in the supervision team or lack of continuity
through illness and absence, it can be challenging for students
to maintain their study motivation and momentum and remain
on course at all (Ives & Rowley, 2005). In these circumstances
writing for publication is not a realistic option.
The practice and process of the Ph.D. is thus subject to mul-
tiple variables that can structure approaches to writing for pub-
lication as a doctoral student and discussion now turns to three
aspects of diversity that are particularly significant in influenc-
ing students’ publishing behaviour. The first concerns the dif-
ferent forms of doctoral programmes now widely available, the
second is the differing experiences and opportunities for full
and part-time doctoral students and the third is the varied disci-
plinary context for doctoral education, with discussion in this
section including brief consideration of publication practices
beyond the UK.
Differentiated Doctoral Programmes
As noted above, the pattern of doctoral education has
changed in recent years to broaden the routes to a Ph.D. Taught
and professional doctorates are now widely offered alongside
the conventional research Ph.D. with these delivered through
diverse teaching methods ranging from face to face individual
and group supervision to distance learning and a blend of both
(Thomson & Walker, 2010). Servage (2009) points particularly
to the proliferation of the professional doctorate that is rooted in
specific practice contexts such as those of education, social
work, nursing and business. Students are attracted to this type
of doctorate because of motivation to extend knowledge and
improve practice and engage in advanced learning in their pro-
fessional field (Bourner et al., 2001; Watts, 2009). Practice-
based Ph.Ds. can potentially involve a wide mix of outputs
such as project reports, portfolios as well as artefact disserta-
tions and experimental innovation. Such plurality of outputs has
led some commentators to argue that the practice-based doctor-
ate is undertaken at the margins of the academy (Evans, 2010: p.
67). The extent to which a practice-based doctoral research
culture differs from “traditional” academic research cultures, in
terms of which questions are posed and the nature of the
knowledge produced, has yet to be fully explored (Barnes et al.,
2012). That aside, it is the practice-based doctorate that has
emerged as the main alternative to the conventional appren-
ticeship-type Ph.D. for graduates who have a professional
rather than a scholarly focus and who are intending to pursue
non-academic careers.
Seddon (2010) sees one impact of this changing provision as
a shift in the character of doctoral education that increasingly is
becoming oriented towards employment and policy objectives,
particularly in respect of workforce development. Specifically,
Seddon (2010: p. 220) identifies differences between what she
terms as “old and new learning sites” that potentially position
traditional and professional doctorates in different academic
locations. For the award of a professional doctorate, the devel-
opment of working practice skills and knowledge is increas-
ingly privileged. Tensions can thus arise in the knowledge crea-
tion process associated with accountability to professional in-
terests beyond the academy that, for some, may raise concerns
about whether there are standards common for all doctoral de-
grees. Students on professional doctorate programmes cut across
established practices in doctoral education because they have a
dual focus on the domains of research and occupational practice.
Their position is not one of a clear-cut doctoral jurisdiction due
to the necessary cross-boundary interaction between their work-
place, the university and professional practice communities.
Added to this, “questions concerning relations between knowl-
edge and practice, where knowledge making (research) is un-
derstood as a form of practice and practice as a kind of knowl-
edge” (Lee, 2011: p. 153), have led to uneasiness on the part of
some about the scholarly nature of practice-based doctoral out-
puts. One consequence has been that the criteria that govern the
award of “doctor” are now seen as “somewhat slippery” (Sed-
don, 2010: p. 220), with transparency over academic achieve-
ment becoming increasingly blurred.
The “slipperiness” discussed by Seddon (2010) has arisen
because of the increase in enrolment on doctoral programmes
of students who do not fit the stereotypical image of a doctoral
student (young, full-time and aiming for an academic career) or
where doctoral education does not follow the laboratory-based
physical science model that, hitherto, has been privileged
within research communities. Implicit is the aspersion that con-
tributing new knowledge to domains of occupational practice
for the development of workplace skills may be less academi-
cally rigorous than knowledge that extends applied theoretical
understandings. Johnston and Murray (2004), whilst arguing for
more diverse provision away from the traditional Ph.D., high-
light the continuing neglect of quality issues across all types of
Ph.D. provision. Such reflections reveal how knowledge is
cultural production and the way in which academic discourses
are mobilised according to specific contexts and traditions, with
students learning “the forms of inquiry and habits of mind par-
ticular to their field of study” (Barnes et al., 2012: p. 315).
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Full versus Part-Time Study
Another key variable highlighted in the literature is the dif-
ference in experience between the full and part-time student.
Full-time doctoral students are likely to be part of an enhanced
research culture and participate in a wide range of learning
activities such as seminars, faculty conferences and writing
workshops as part of a broader skills development programme
(Thomson & Walker, 2010). They are also, as a result, likely to
develop a more strongly articulated research student identity
with the doctorate as their key life focus.
This full-time role that draws on a model of academic re-
search apprenticeship often incorporates elements of peer stu-
dent encouragement to foster a sense of membership of a re-
search community. Collaborative learning relations help de-
velop confidence in the doctoral undertaking within a wider
developmental network (Baker & Lattuca, 2010). Sharing ideas
about potential seminar papers or journal articles, possibly as a
function of a journal club (Golde, 2010) or writing group
(Aitchison, 2009), positions publishing as a feature of the or-
ganic intellectual development of the doctoral student within a
community of scholars. This is commonly experienced in the
engineering and experimental science disciplines where full-
time students are likely to be members of an established re-
search team and their project clearly defined within a broader
programme of work. Yates (2010) comments that projects in
these disciplines commonly have significant resources (both
financial and human) to support long-term research agendas.
The pressure on project teams (often in large scale laboratory
settings) in these disciplines to publish results in peer-reviewed
journals as quickly as possible is accepted as routine practice
(Delamont et al., 2004: p. 172).
The position for part-time students, however, is radically dif-
ferent with the doctorate fitted in around the competing priori-
ties of paid work and family responsibilities, and the opportu-
nity to engage with other students generally very limited (Watts,
2008, 2010). Such reduced participation in a research culture
can lead to “intellectual and social isolation” (Taylor, 2002: p.
137). The focus on finishing is usually the priority (Nettles &
Millet, 2006). With this goal to the fore, Rugg and Petre (2004)
suggest that too strong an encouragement to part-time students
to publish may act as a distraction from the main task of com-
pleting the thesis. Other commentators such as Phillips and
Pugh (2000) suggest that a focus on getting published can be
seen as a misuse of thesis time and can serve to distance the
doctoral student from writing the thesis, with this especially the
case for part-time students. A further consideration is the po-
tential delay to completion arising from the demands of writing
for publication that may also have financial consequences re-
lated to a prolonged candidature. The guidance of the supervi-
sion team as a function of a “high-trust working relationship”
with the student (Unsworth et al., 2010: p. 871), to take account
of a range of personal circumstances, is key.
Variati ons across Discipl i nes and Conte xts
The connection of the student’s research with that of their
supervisor(s) may also influence the emphasis on approaches to
publication, with this a function of a common research practice
and shared research objectives shaped by different disciplinary
traditions (Franke & Arvidsson, 2011). Thus, although institu-
tions set the broad procedural framework for doctoral studies
and prescribe the major “hurdles” of doctoral education (Barnes
et al., 2012), they have historically usually been undertaken
within a single academic discipline, though as Taylor and
Beasley (2005) note, this is changing, with some doctorates
now supervised across more than one discipline. Gasper (2010:
p. 53) discusses the concept of disciplinarity as community, a
highly organised intellectual field and as a set of habits result-
ing in highly protected intellectual domains, most with clearly
defined boundaries. Barnes et al. (2012: p. 313) echo this view,
highlighting the distinctiveness of disciplinary communities
with these likened to tribes and territories. The result is the
“existence of areas of deep and organised knowledge” (Gasper,
2010: p. 53) governed by accepted academic codes to produce a
type of disciplinary ontology characterised by the sense that
“this is the way we do it”. The academic department is thus the
primary socialisation agent at the doctoral level (Gardner, 2007,
These genre differences are powerful but not necessarily
fixed such that Yates (2010) comments on the changing ap-
proach to the design of doctoral projects within the humanities
and social sciences. He argues that the traditional freedom on
the part of students to design their own study may become a
thing of the past, with pressure growing to tie their work to the
research strengths of a supervisor or department. This would
align Ph.D. study in these disciplines more closely with the
model used in science that usually is part of a lab-based re-
search group characterised by Golde (2005: p. 677) as a “small
solar system with a faculty sun”. A further point of alignment
noted by Yates (2010) is that today in the social sciences Ph.D.
students are likely to encounter pressure to publish earlier in
their candidature than previously was the case. This trend is
indicative of change towards all doctoral education assuming
the characteristics traditionally associated with the natural and
physical sciences. In particular, research productivity, quantifi-
cation and proxies are prioritised, all of which can affect the
funding that flows to the department and the university. Num-
bers of publications, external impact and the potential for
commercial applications are some examples.
The contribution to knowledge, as a mark of scholarly qual-
ity, is pivotal in the award of a Ph.D., but what exactly consti-
tutes new knowledge is culturally determined as well as being
subject to disciplinary influence (Seddon, 2010). New knowl-
edge may be constructed as methodological innovation, as
theoretical development and also as the codifying of experience,
particularly within social enquiry and professional practice
communities. It is possible to make an original contribution in
different ways and often in pragmatic contexts (Wagner, 2010).
Trigwell (2010), for example, points to the different research
orientations between science and engineering and the arts and
humanities, suggesting that originality will be measured
through a discipline-specific epistemological lens. Whatever its
form, knowledge is always “contextualised through knowledge
politics” (Seddon, 2010: p. 221). Traditional doctorates are seen
to contribute knowledge that is well suited to academic contexts,
whereas taught and professional doctorates offer new under-
standings of other contexts.
Approaches to doctoral publishing also vary from country to
country. In Scandinavia, for example, there is a requirement
that all or part of the materials presented for doctoral examina-
tion have previously been published (Taylor & Beasley, 2005).
This is in contrast to the position in the USA with regard to
publication from social work doctorates that occurs at very low
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 1103
rates (Green et al., 1992). Lee and Kamler (2008) note that in
Australia, whilst publication of findings prior to submission is
not mandatory, doctoral students and their supervisors are fac-
ing new pressures (particularly in the social sciences) to pro-
duce a range of peer-reviewed publications by the time the
thesis is completed.
The above discussion of diversity in contemporary doctoral
education serves to highlight the plurality of purposes, practices
and outcomes of the doctoral degree that Thomson and Walker
(2010) characterise as an intellectual journey involving risk and
discontinuities. The concept of risk is taken up in the next two
sections that consider instrumental and strategic approaches to
decision-making about the form and timing of doctoral pub-
lishing, particularly in relation to the possible impact on the
outcome of the doctoral assessment process.
Instrumental Approach
Although writing is an integral component of doctoral re-
search (Lillis & North, 2006), this aspect of the Ph.D. under-
taking continues to be challenging for many students (Hunt,
2001). Given the inherently stressful nature of the Ph.D. (Watts,
2009), it is reasonable to explore what benefits there may be for
students in pursuing getting published during their candidature.
The extent to which, for example, publishing can contribute to a
‘de-stressing’ of the assessment process, particularly the viva
element, is one consideration. Wellington (2010) identifies both
extrinsic and intrinsic motivations to publish. Extrinsic factors
include improving the CV, gaining credibility within the re-
search community and starting to become known in the field.
Intrinsic motivations centre on more developmental aspects
such as the opportunity to clarify ideas, build confidence and
self-belief and reap personal satisfaction from seeing your work
in print. Barnacle and Mewburn (2010) suggest that this can
result in the student feeling more strongly confirmed in the
identity of doctoral candidate.
The particular merit of having a journal article published is
discussed by Rugg and Petre (2004), who argue that this is
usually viewed as a sign of being a fully-fledged academic. The
opportunity to engage in a dialogue with reviewers can provide
insight and different perspectives on doctoral work that may not
emerge in supervision. Through the critical exchange of ideas
and receipt of challenging feedback, this instrumental approach
to publishing has the potential to shape the thesis and the gen-
eral direction of the research in creative ways. Despite the po-
tential benefits, writing journal articles is a risk-laden activity.
Academic journals act as gatekeepers to specific disciplines and
are thus expected to be rigorous in the way that they conduct
their intellectual business. It is, therefore, not surprising that
most articles are rejected (Rugg & Petre, 2004) and the major-
ity that are published undergo significant revision before ac-
ceptance. Students need to be made aware of this and with ad-
vice from their supervisor(s), should carefully balance the risk
and opportunity of taking their work forward in this way.
Where a paper is rejected, careful consideration should be given
to the opportunity/cost of refashioning the paper for submission
to an alternative journal, as this can become extremely time
consuming, with no guarantee of success.
The leap from non-peer reviewed to peer-reviewed outputs is
great and, although as Wisker et al. (2003: p. 388) note “bad
news should lead to development”, this often can act in reverse
in the case of Ph.D. students. Receiving highly critical com-
ments from reviewers may cause in students emotions of defla-
tion and loss of confidence in both their abilities and the integ-
rity of their work (see Morrison-Saunders et al., 2010). Wisker
et al. (2003: p. 386) also comment that verification and testing
the credentials of doctoral work through publication is one way
of avoiding a thesis that is “only a work of deference and syn-
thesis”. There are, however, other ways in which to sharpen the
research product such as conference presentations, seminar
papers and peer evaluation from other students.
Rugg and Petre (2004) draw particular attention to the value
to doctoral students of presentation of their work in the public
arena of conferences and seminars. This activity, they argue, is
useful in a number of ways, especially the opportunity to “test”
the emerging product that is the Ph.D. thesis in its developing
stages through debate with experts in the field. As work in pro-
gress, feedback on research design, method, ethics, theoretical
framework and preliminary findings is valuable as much for
confirmation of being on the right track as it is to signal where
some re-thinking might be appropriate. As the doctoral project
gets fully underway, students are expected to take intellectual
responsibility for their work including interrogating and refin-
ing ideas so that they begin to find their own academic or
scholarly voice (Yates, 2010). Conference papers have the fur-
ther benefit of helping to establish networks through placing
students’ work in the public domain that often includes a listing
on the internet, with this as initial dissemination and sharing of
new knowledge.
Strategic Approach
Most of the literature on postgraduate research education fo-
cuses on elements of process in relation to doctoral study. Is-
sues connected to the form and style of supervision, academic
and pastoral support, dealing with critical feedback, writing
protocols and the development of an academic identity are all
topics that have featured in recent journal articles. The issue of
assessment of doctoral work, however, has received relatively
little attention in the literature, this despite ongoing concerns
over the transparency and independent rigour of elements of the
assessment process (see Watts, 2012).
Although in the UK “there is no rule that publications are
required for a Ph.D. degree” (Phillips & Pugh, 2000: p. 96),
they are an added bonus and critically position the thesis as a
work of scholarly substance. Of particular value is the status of
the peer reviewed journal article that Rugg and Petre (2004: p.
85) state derives its credentials from the “exclusive and dis-
cerning” nature of peer review journals. It could thus be argued
that students and supervisors setting specific publication objec-
tives is a legitimate strategic approach to ensuring a successful
outcome at the viva. In short, if a student has some conference
papers and a couple of articles in reputable journals, it becomes
almost impossible for an external examiner not to pass the can-
didate (Watts, 2012). Publication of their work indicates “this
work has made a contribution to knowledge”, which is central
to the award of a Ph.D. (Mullins & Kiley, 2002). If publication
is achieved in a high status academic journal, this is of particu-
lar credit. Wellington and Torgerson (2005: p. 35), however,
urge caution about this strategy, as the labels of “eminent” and
“high status” are contested and subject to interpretative criteria.
Other published outputs such as book chapters, for example, are
also of value but the intellectual quality control in respect of
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
edited books can be variable as these are not necessarily subject
to peer review (Rugg & Petre, 2004).
Developing the theme of strategic benefit, there is a case for
students to embark on their publishing career by submitting
papers jointly authored with their supervisor(s). Kamler (2008:
p. 283) argues that supervisors co-authoring publications with
their students is a significant pedagogic practice that should be
accorded a higher priority as a strategic approach to “scaffold
doctoral publication”. Delamont et al. (2004), however, com-
ment that patterns of joint publication are largely shaped by the
conventions and traditions of particular disciplines and note that
this practice is not necessarily the norm. In some disciplines,
such as science and engineering, supervisors co-publishing with
their Ph.D. students, is a routine occurrence. This is a function
of what Golde (2010: p. 107) describes as habituated practice
within a particular field. These practices, termed by Shulman
(2005: p. 59) as “signature pedagogies”, operate as boundary
markers between disciplines to create accepted and expected
ways of doing things. All too often these disciplinary differ-
ences are overlooked in commentaries on doctoral education.
A further matter related to publications co-authored by stu-
dents and supervisors debated by Delamont et al. (2004) con-
cerns the intellectual exploitation of the doctoral student as the
junior partner in the collaborative process. They explain that
culturally specific views about the nature and interpretation of
collaboration operate differently across disciplines. Instances of
supervisors having their names on a student’s paper as co-au-
thors by virtue of their position, rather than due to their direct
input, do occur. The potential for the perceived exploitation of
students may influence a supervisor’s preference to avoid the
practice of co-publishing altogether. Rugg and Petre (2004)
take a more positive stance, arguing that jointly authored arti-
cles can add to the rewards for supervisors of this demanding
work that often can spill over into ‘non-work’ time due to the
competing demands of teaching and management tasks. Taylor
and Beasley (2005) comment further that wider strategic ad-
vantage accrues from co-authored doctoral publications that
reflect well upon the supervisor, upon the department and upon
the institution as well as on the funding body sponsoring the
Whilst the timely completion of the thesis is clearly the first
priority, Kwan (2010) discusses how doctoral publishing can be
influential in helping to secure employment upon graduation,
especially in a tenured post within academia that has become
increasingly globally competitive. Kwan (2010: p. 59) specifi-
cally argues for “strategic management of thesis publishing” to
include publishing internationally during and beyond the doc-
torate. As acknowledgement of both the stakes and difficulties
involved in high-level publishing, Kwan (2010) advocates for
instruction in research publication to be accorded some priority
across all doctoral programmes, but also questions how effec-
tive this might be. She concludes that there is a lack of empiri-
cal data on this topic that remains largely under-addressed in
the literature.
As doctoral educators we are increasingly required to con-
sider the best interests of our students that includes offering
them strategies for success, particularly in the developing mar-
ket culture of higher education (Molesworth et al., 2009). The
increased diversity of both doctoral education and doctoral
students means that there can be no standard approach to doc-
toral pedagogy in preparing students to participate in research
cultures. “One size” does not fit all and this points to the im-
portance of the relationship between the student and supervisor
that underpins “the mutually constituted and continuously
evolving nature of doctoral practices and arrangements” (Cum-
ming, 2010: p. 25) to produce a model of progress to suit the
student as individ ua l.
The balancing of personal goals and circumstances with
product development in the form of the thesis can give rise to
tensions over process, with writing for publication just one of a
number of tasks facing the student during their candidature. The
transformative experience of undertaking a doctoral research
degree often involves a complex set of dynamics (Lee, 2011),
but getting the thesis completed should be the first priority and
this is the approach I take with my students. That aside, because
a requirement of successful doctoral study is the development
of new knowledge, it is not unreasonable to expect that dis-
semination of research findings should be seen as one compo-
nent of doctoral study, either during the candidature or in its
aftermath (Dinham & Scott, 2001). Lucas and Willinsky (2010:
p. 352), putting it more strongly, argue that, “scholarly pub-
lishing is a matter of public value and public good”. Making
students aware of potential publishing outlets, particularly
relevant journals, is an important, but often overlooked respon-
sibility of supervisors. Guidance about rejection rates, review
processes and the likely timeline from submission to publica-
tion is valuable, as “graduate students can turn out to have
rather vague understandings of the whole process of academic
publishing” (Delamont et al., 2004: p. 174). This is particularly
important for doctoral graduates intending to take up a career in
Making new knowledge available to advance research
amongst the disciplinary community in the subject area is, I
would argue, an important responsibility of the doctoral gradu-
ate. It appears, however, that publishing from the Ph.D. is not
universally the case such that much doctoral research goes un-
reported in the public domain in part, at least, because many
students do not receive adequate mentoring or support to pub-
lish from their research (Kamler, 2008). Supervisors encourag-
ing a more explicitly outward-looking stance on the part of
students towards writing beyond their thesis for a wider audi-
ence, is suggested by Lee and Kamler (2008) as one pedagogic
strategy to increase publication rates from doctoral degrees.
Where such encouragement is required post-doctoral award, in
the face of other pressing demands, it may not be realistic to
expect supervisors to maintain contact with doctoral graduates.
The in-depth focus on diversity within doctoral study pre-
sented in this article contributes to the educational dialogue
about doctoral publishing and is intended to offer a conceptual
frame for further empirical work on this topic. Given the pau-
city of literature on the impacts of publishing as part of the
doctoral pathway, there is a need for more empirical research in
this area to strengthen understanding of the ways in which su-
pervisors can guide students to appropriately incorporate realis-
tic publishing goals within their study. One area of particular
interest is the extent to which a “publish as you go” (Taylor &
Beasley, 2005) strategy for publishing, results in a more fa-
vourable outcome at viva. Another concerns the ways in which
publishing before submission materially impacts on thesis de-
velopment in both temporal and substantive terms. Because of
the increased focus by both universities and funding agencies
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 1105
on research outcomes, completion rates, public engagement,
contributions to esteem and bidding for funding, research in
this area has the potential to change institutional policies on
publishing in the doctoral context. However, any future em-
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nary research traditions that, as the discussion above outlines,
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