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How to publish

how to publish

Publishing your work is an essential part of research life, and choosing where to publish is therefore an important consideration. Your choice will be influenced by traditions and preferences in your scholarly community, and by requirements and policies of funders, authorities and your host institution. Your institution, and funders like the Research Council of Norway, encourage you to publish open access, or to archive your publications in an open repository.

On this page you will find information about

  • journal articles, and how to choose an appropriate journal
  • books (monographs and anthologies): which publisher to choose
  • conference papers and posters: where to present
  • publishing your dissertation
  • open research archives
  • online networking

Journal articles

Scholarly journals are mostly peer-reviewed periodicals. Exchange of information through journals has a long history as one of the main modes of formal scholarly and scientific communication. Journals differ widely in scope, topic and perspective, usually with different emphasis on methodological, theoretical or topical aspects within a given field of research. Your supervisor, or other senior colleagues, may be able to advise you on your choice of journals in which to publish your PhD work.

There are numerous aspects to take into account when looking for a journal in which to publish your work (see box below). An important aspect is whether or not the journal publishes articles open access and/or allows archiving some version of the paper in an open repository. The organization funding your PhD research, or your host institution may have recommendations or requirements regarding this.
Read more about open access and the various open access mandates on our open science tab.

How to identify a relevant journal?

Questions to consider when looking for a suitable journal:

  • Is it a peer-reviewed journal?
  • What is the subject area of the journal?
  • Is it aimed at the audience you want to reach?
  • Is it open access?
  • To what extent does it allow self-archiving?
  • Do you yourself read articles from this journal?
  • Will it help you make your work read and cited?
  • Is the journal ranked in the Norwegian Scientific Index?
  • How quick is the process of acceptance and publication?
  • What are the copyright policies?
  • What are the journal’s ethical profile and aims?
  • Are the editor and members of the editorial board respected researchers in your field?
  • Predatory journals: Where not to publish open access

Books

When it comes to book publishing, the most likely scenarios if you are a PhD candidate, at least in the social sciences or humanities, are

  • to revise your dissertation from thesis to published monograph
  • to write a monograph separate from the dissertation
  • to contribute a chapter to an anthology or edited book

If you are contributing to an anthology, you probably do not have to worry about choosing a publisher. But if you are planning a monograph, your initial job will be to identify the publisher most relevant to your research field. Today most academic publishers have a diverse publishing profile and will publish books in many disciplines. It may be smart to identify a book series that is likely to have an impact in your field.

Some publishers offer open access options for authors to publish their research. If you are planning to publish your book or your book chapter open access, you should check if it is possible to apply for funding at your institution.

What do you look for in a publishing house?
  • How many titles have been published in your field, and how many are published annually?
  • Are you familiar with the authors and editors cooperating with this publisher?
  • Are you familiar with researchers cooperating with this publisher?
  • Do they have a section for your discipline?
  • Do they publish relevant book series?
  • Is the publisher or the book series ranked in the Norwegian Scientific Index?
  • What are the copyright policies?
  • What are the publisher’s ethical profile and aims?
  • Do you regularly read books from this publisher?

Conference papers and posters

Conferences are excellent venues for meeting research colleagues from around the world. The networking at the conferences can provide valuable feedback for your research and help you find opportunities for collaboration. Conference participation can take several forms. The most important ones are:

  • Posters: These tend to be the first published efforts of a budding researcher.
  • Papers: These usually take the form of an oral presentation. You may be required to submit an abstract before the conference, or in some cases a full paper.
  • Proceedings: You may be invited or required to submit a full paper for publication in the conference proceedings. The proceedings may also contain abstracts and posters from the conference.

There is also a new and growing arena of subject-specific social media where online conferences are established. Once you have identified an interesting conference, sign up to receive notifications on abstract submission and registration deadlines, etc.

How do you find relevant conferences in your field?
  • Participate in discussions with colleagues about relevant conferences
  • Search the Internet for conferences in your field
  • Sign up for newsletters from associations that regularly host conferences
  • Read the programme of past conferences; are the topics relevant for you?
  • Who is organizing the conference? Is it an association or institution that has an impact in your discipline?
  • Has the conference been held several times?
  • How often does the conference take place?
  • Is it an international or national conference?
  • Who are the participants and keynote speakers at the conference?
  • Beware of ‘predatory conferences’: Think. Check. Attend. is an international initiative that aims to guide and assist researchers and scholars in choosing trusted conferences to attend and present their research.

Publishing your dissertation

As your PhD work is drawing to an end, you will put the finishing touches to your dissertation. Dissertations in medicine, natural sciences and some disciplines in the social sciences are mostly article-based, while in the humanities, dissertations are commonly presented as monographs.

An article-based dissertation is required to include an introductory section to link the articles together. Some universities have guidelines on how to structure this kind of dissertation, see the guidelines for the University of Oslo for an example.

The articles you have published, or are about to publish, must be reprinted in the dissertation. The rights for reprinting the articles in your dissertation have to be cleared with the journal publisher. Your dissertation will be published by your university and made available either in print, online or both. If you choose to make it available online, this will ensure a permanent link to your work and give your readers ready access.

Open archives

Most universities and research institutions maintain an institutional repository: an in-house open research archive. Such archives function both as archives of published works for the institution, but also as publishers. If you deposit a work in an open research archive it is to be considered as published. If it is a previously unpublished work, placing it in the archive may prevent later publication by a publishing house. If the work has already been published, the original publisher may retain the rights, in which case you can not redistribute the work through an archive. However, the archive will provide you with an online copy for easy distribution and you will have a permanent link for the work.

You are strongly encouraged to publish your dissertation in an open research archive. Although there might be some restrictions regarding the articles, due to journal copyright policies, most journals will still permit a post-print of your articles (green open access publishing).

There is increasing acceptance in research communities of online self-archiving of manuscripts and papers, and of publishing in online pre-print archives. As a result, you can find a number of subject-specific open research archives online. One of the larger online pre-print archives is arXiv.org. This is an open archive for scientific papers mainly in the fields of mathematics, physics and astronomy. RePEc is an example of an online archive for research papers in economics.
Consult the global directory of open access repositories (OpenDOAR) for an updated list of repositories, and read more on the process of publishing in our page on open archives.

Online networking

Sharing your research online is becoming more and more important, and participating in online networks may provide useful feedback and help you develop ideas. A good way to start is to create an official researchers’ (employee’s) web page at your institution. This can function as a hub for all your promotional research activities. For instance, your publications as documented in Cristin should be found here.

In addition, blogging is a useful tool for reporting from conferences and from your reading. You may also use it to discuss questions of methodology. If you are blogging about your research, the blog can be linked from your institutional home page.

An increasing number of scientists use Twitter or similar micro-blogging services to share thoughts and ideas. Active use of micro-blogging will give you an online network ready to respond to your questions or ideas.

Social media can help you stay in touch with peers globally. Keeping a sober academic profile in your use of social media reduces the risk of information misuse. Concentrate your energy on those services you find both useful and easy to maintain. Social research networks like Academia.edu, ResearchGate, Kudos, Mendeley, etc. are often used for sharing articles. It is good practice to ask your co-authors before sharing an article, and beware of copyright issues and the open access policies of the relevant journal.

Useful resources

Think. Check. Attend. helps you avoid ‘predators’

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