Should you pubish your work during your PhD? Or after you have finished and got the viva out of the way? What are benefits of publishing? What is stopping you?
You’ve heard it many times. Publish or Perish is a common phrase in academia. What does it mean? It refers to the pressure that academics are under to quickly publish their work. You have to publish before someone beats you to the punch. If he does you’ve wasted your time and efforts. It’s too late.
To get promoted you have to publish consistently over a sustained period of time. Under intense pressure you may be tempted to publish rubbish work. Don’t go there. Poor work published is like cancer. It will destroy your reputation. Quality is the key word to when making your decision to publish.
“There is no such thing as talent. There is only pressure” – Alfred Alder
What prevents you from publishing?
1. Your work is mediocre in quality and depth, it isn’t novel or is incomplete.
2. You are working on a project for a government organisation such as the Ministry of Defence or is industry funded and the sponsors won’t let you divulge the research done.
3. Your work has significant commercial potential and to exploit that you need to apply for a patent first. This is common in industry. University are now becoming more commercially astute.
4. You are afraid of the paper being rejected. You’re too scared of failure or criticism.
5. Lack of experience or confidence in writing, submitting the paper to a peer reviewed journal.
“Those people blessed with the most talent don’t necessarily outperform everyone else. It’s the people with
follow-through who excel.” – Mary Kay Ash
What are the benefits of publishing?
It’s a great feeling to see your paper in print. I remember when I had my first paper publish. I felt line I owned the world. I was shaking with excited. I was proud and couldn’t wait to show off. It seemed like the greatest achievement in the world. I was King Kong.
What does having a published paper mean?
1. It generates excitement, elation and improved confidence about the quality of your work.
2. It demonstrates academic talent and increasing influence.
3. It gives positive publicity if it is good work. It brings you to the attention of scholars, funding bodies and your university. The paper can be useful in getting more funding because now you have a track record.
4. Encouragement and desire to publish acts as a motivator for higher quality research and impetus to complete a study.
5. Your chances of getting a good job in academia and industry increase if you have published a number of quality papers. My supervisor always said you should only publish something if you can be proud of it.
6. Publishing gives you feedback on the merits of your work. As a student if you have published a peer reviewed paper then your supervisor and examination team are likely to be more confident about your defence of your PhD in a viva.
7. You will feel like a celebrity when you get invited to present at a prestigious conference.