The question “should I publish my thesis” is a bit too generic and requires some clarification. We may want to start from understanding what do you mean by “publish” and continue with “where”, “when”, “with who” and “how much it costs”.

First of all, publishing a thesis is not synonymous with releasing the thesis in open access. Open access refers to the idea to make your thesis publicly available on the web. Publish a thesis refers to use the content of your thesis for building a scientific publication and submit it to a peer-review journal or conference.

In the case you are considering making an article in a blog or in LinkedIn, that does not still goes in the category of publishing. However, it deserves special attention and I will write an article about that later.

Should I Publish My Thesis?

As you may already understood that this activity will require extra work, sometimes a lot of extra work. Consequently, we may want to understand what are the benefits (if any) in your particular case. What follows are a set of generic suggestions/ considerations, however you should be aware that each case is different and you may want to think critically before taking on board these suggestions.

What are the benefits of publishing a thesis?

Lets see them point per point, a publication may:

  • Differentiate you from the crowd
  • Position you as a (young) expert
  • Shows that you are capable of think critically and scientifically
  • Good addition to have in your CV
  • Improve your chances of passing a selection for a PhD fellowship

Some of these benefits may be interesting you. If that is the case you may want to consider the extra efforts and decide accordingly.

Is the work that I have done publishable?

Let’s be very honest and direct. If you are doing a bachelor thesis, the chances are very low. If you are doing a master thesis you may have a few more possibilities. You may want to be very open and direct with your supervisor and have their opinion on board. If this was your intention since the beginning (see make the most of your thesis) you may want to make it clear during one of your first meetings. If you are maturing this idea while writing the thesis you may want to ask their opinion during one of your sessions. My suggestion is to be humble and consider the fact that building a publication will take an extensive amount of time. At the same time, maybe you are working on an existing thesis and/or your supervisor has existing material that could be combined with your work. This is one more reason for speaking freely.

Also, be aware that some thesis are just not designed for been published. Maybe you are doing it in conjunction with an internship, maybe the work that you are doing is just at the beginning or simply it will require too much additional work for making all the additional extra attentions that you need for publishing. If that is the case, just move forward to your next adventure. The alternative will be to publish it alone and the chances that you have all the expertise required are very low. Probably it will result in a lot of work for you and a rejection by a publisher in the end.

When should you publish the thesis?

This is a easy one. Strictly after the submission of the thesis. Your main goal should be obtaining a master degree and not to publish a scientific article. You are going to have limited resources at your disposal so, use them wisely and focus on what should be your main priority: graduate, possibly with a good grade.

Where should I publish the thesis?

Ask your supervisor. If your plans are not to continue to study you want to limit the additional work required to the minimum and focus on a venue of acceptable quality but not too thought. After-all there is never a guarantee when you will submit your work. Been rejected is part of the game.

With who should I publish the thesis?

As already mentioned, clearly with your supervisor as you have been mentored the all time. Your supervisor may also have additional work that could be combined with what you are doing and may have a few colleagues that could contribute to that work. In other words you may want to ask to your supervisor to take the lead of this task. In general authorship or co-authorship, position of author is an intricate topic and each community of scientist have a different approach to the question. I will probably write a dedicated post about that and you can consider this answer as the short version.

How much does it costs to publish and article?

It is relatively expensive. Conferences require a participation fee and your presence. Journal may be free (unless open access) but may require considerable additional amount of time. In general, this is yet another reason for involving your supervisor. The university usually have funds allocated to publications and, if this is the case, you do not have to worry about these aspects.

Summary: Should I Publish My Thesis?

I do not think that a general answer to this question exist. However I hope that you will use this article for reflecting about your particular case and been able to figure out your specific answer. Independently to what you will decide, focus on your thesis first and keep your supervisor in the loop and ask for his opinion and support on this task.

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This article (Should I Publish My Thesis? The Good, the Bad, the Ugly) is part of the miniseries on how to do a good thesis, you can see the full list of post at the following links:

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