9. Supporting candidates to disseminate their research

  • Full: Required
  • Associate: Elective

Giving that completing a doctorate involves making and original contribution to knowledge and understanding, it is vital that the outcomes are made available to the disciplinary and/​or professional community for scrutiny and the advancement of research in the subject.

One responsibility of supervisors is to support candidates to disseminate their research findings.

Typical Examples 

  • Setting expectations at the start of the candidacy.
  • Modelling the process of publication.
  • Encouraging candidates to publish as they go.
  • Co-publishing.
  • Establishing a post-doctoral publications plan.

In some countries, prior publication is a condition of the award of the doctorate but in other cases it is not mandatory or undertaken voluntarily with the result that many theses and dissertations are left, to quote a supervisor cited by Walker et al (2008: 79) ‘…like John Brown [to] lie mouldering in their literary graves’.

Failure to publish often reflects, as Kamler (2008: 284) has put it that ‘…for the most part, doctoral candidates appear to be left to their own devices to sort out how to publish their research… with poor results’. Many are daunted by the mechanics of publication in terms of identifying key journals and preparing appropriate submissions (see Cuthbert and Spark 2008, Lei and Hu 2015) and are discouraged from sending in papers. But even those who negotiate these hurdles often send in papers which are unsuitable for publication (see Paré 2010).

One way of encouraging publication is for supervisors to indicate to candidates in induction meetings right at the start of their studies that they will be expected to produce papers, and this may form part of an induction check-list or learning agreement.

Another is to model the process by, for example, supervisors showing how they themselves went about publishing a key paper, including targeting an outlet, responding to requirements, and where appropriate taking on board the comments of referees prior to final publication. 

Candidates may also be encouraged to publish as they go. i.e. write up their research as journal articles and submit them during candidature. This has can have disadvantages (see Paré 2010) but can enable rapid dissemination and provide convincing evidence of publishability to examiners. 

As several studies (see Kamler 2008, Can and Walker 2011, and Jiang et al 2015) have suggested, perhaps the most effective way of assisting candidates to publish is for supervisors to write a joint paper with them for publication and take them through all of the stages from initial conception through to the appearance of the paper in print or electronic form. 

A final possibility, particularly if no publications have resulted during the period of doctoral study, supervisors may support their candidates to devise a publications plan setting out what they intend to publish, which outlets might be appropriate, and a timescale for submission. 

  • What is your approach to modelling how to publish? 
  • Have you supported candidates to publish during their doctoral programme? How did you achieve that and what were the challenges?
  • Have you co-authored research papers with your doctoral candidates? How did you approach that?
  • Do you use a dissemination plan’ with your candidates? How do you go about negotiating that with them?

Example Application Content

References & Bibliography

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