The PhD process involves producing publishable research. However, does that also imply that one should publish before submitting the thesis? There are a growing number of reasons to do so:
- Most university guidelines themselves encourage publications based on the undergoing PhD work. Certain universities make this requirement fairly explicit. In any case, a published work sounds like a decent proof of publishable work!
- Presenting one’s work is good for confidence and can encourage one to take on more challenging research.
- Peer review by specialists in the sub area can give detailed feedback and can greatly complement one’s supervisor’s comments. This is useful in understanding criticism, refining the ideas and improving the presentation. It may be helpful to take the suggestions on board rather than wait for the examiner to say the same thing.
- If one is going for a research job right after the PhD, many employers are looking for the right publication in the right places. If the PhD work is yet to be published, this could be a drawback.
- Presenting at different venues helps one meet people from other countries with the same research interests. This helps to foster a sense of community and can lead to exchange of ideas and collaboration.
- If there is a chance that some one else may come up with a similar result sooner rather than later, it is sensible to publish the result and not hold on to it.
- Timely dissemination of results may give new research opportunities.
If you have other reasons for or against publishing before the PhD, let me know and I’ll add to the list.