How to Turn Your Dissertation, Thesis, or Paper into a Publication

By Camille Gamboa, SAGE US PR & Conventions Assistant

 Part 1: Where do you go from here?

In our first “How To” post, we provided steps for how to get a publication-ready paper in a scholarly journal. With some help from experienced academics and authors, now we’ll talk about how to turn your thesis, dissertation chapter, or simply a stellar paper that you’re proud of into a publication.

So you have invested weeks, months or even years into researching a topic and developing your analysis. You’ve come up with something that you now consider your magnum opus. It’s only natural that you have trouble letting it go, and it makes sense that you try to maximize all of the benefits from your efforts. Publishing your work just may be the key to helping you take the next step in your scholarly journey. Below we’ve provided some key points to consider as you decide whether the publishing option is right for you and if so, what form it should take.

To publish or not to publish? – While it’s always a good idea to look into the publishing option, Dr. Charlotte Frost, an experienced academic and founder of the blog phd2published, reminds us that publishing a pre-written thesis or dissertation is not easy, and in some cases it may take just as much effort as writing something new from scratch. Furthermore, no matter how much effort you may put in to transforming your work, it will be difficult to hide the fact that it is a revised thesis or dissertation. Sarah Caro, author of How to Publish your PhD, writes that this type of publication will rarely give you as much credit as an original piece of work.

Here are some questions to consider when deciding if it is worth it for you to put in the effort:

  1. Are you committed to a career in academia? If not, Caro states that it really isn’t worth it for you to put invest so many extra hours into your project.
  2. Would anyone (besides your professor or thesis chair) ever buy or even read your paper? Frost suggests looking at reading lists for courses on a similar topic. Could you see your future book or journal article on that list? If not, it may not be worthy of a publication.
  3. Is it too specialized of a topic to be of interest to a wider academic audience?
  4. Are you sick of your topic already? If so, you’ll be terribly ill by the time your work is published.

If after reflecting on these questions, you still feel that the publishing option is right for you, the next step is to decide where to publish. Keep in touch with SAGE Connection as we continue to provide tips on publishing your hard work.

Check out parts 23 and 4.

For more tips and help, check out the phd2published blog, or Caro’s book How to Publish your PhD, (published by SAGE).

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