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Doctoral Support Network: Online Resource Access, Research Tools, and Strategies

Intended for MCCC employees who are themselves pursuing graduate studies.

From Dissertation to Book

Here are a few resources to help you understand the process of reworking a dissertation for publication as a monograph:

MacPhail advises first-time authors by sharing her own process of turning her dissertation into a book.

​Abstract: An increasing number of higher education institutions worldwide are requiring submission of electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) by graduate students and are subsequently providing open access to these works in online repositories. Faculty advisors and graduate students are concerned that such unfettered access to their work could diminish future publishing opportunities. This study investigated social sciences, arts, and humanities journal editors’ and university press directors’ attitudes toward ETDs. The findings indicate that manuscripts that are revisions of openly accessible ETDs are always welcome for submission or considered on a case-by-case basis by 82.8 percent of journal editors and 53.7 percent of university press directors polled.

Introduction: A common concern about openly available electronic theses and dissertations is that their "openness" will prevent graduate student authors from publishing their work commercially in the future. A handful of studies have explored aspects of this topic; this study reviewed dissertation-to-book publication patterns at Carnegie Classification R1 academic institutions. METHODS This study analyzed over 23,000 dissertations from twelve U.S. universities to determine how frequently dissertations were subsequently published as books matching the original dissertation in pagination, chapters, and subject matter. WorldCat and several other resources were used to make publication determinations.

From Dissertation to Scholarly Articles

Here are a few resources to help you understand the process of reworking a dissertation for publication as a journal article:

Abstract: Many first-time authors use the research conducted as part of their PhD or even Master’s thesis as a basis for a journal article. While that’s a logical step, the requirements for a thesis differ from those of a paper in a peer reviewed academic journal in very significant ways. Ensuring that you are familiar with these can prove the difference between acceptance and rejection

Abstract: The dissertation and a peer reviewed journal article are rather different entities, and although there are similarities, each has their own requirements and audiences. This paper provides guidelines to assist a doctoral candidate in educational psychology to write up and publish journal articles based on their doctoral dissertation. The task of doing so requires thought and structured preparation to ensure that the draft article is in the appropriate format and is ready to be considered for publication in a peer reviewed journal. There are multiple benefits for publishing peer reviewed journal articles. Apart from making a scholarly contribution to the collective body of knowledge, it represents the possibility of making public and celebrating the voice of the research participants and/or service users, and so influencing practice and, potentially, affecting service provision. In addition, within a highly competitive job market, there may be potential employability advantages for psychology of education graduates in having evidence of your work contributing to theory development or to practice in your chosen profession or specialism. A range of recommendations and suggestions are offered here to assist with the transition from an academic thesis to a journal ready, publishable paper. These relate to the preparation required in advance of writing the journal paper (an area which is often ignored), as well as issues relating to selecting an appropriate journal, decisions about which parts of the thesis may constitute the paper, and a variety of other issues associated with the writing up and the publication processes

Abstract: A structured, analytical approach to manuscript preparation is offered. It emerged from the author's mentoring experiences guiding fellows and junior faculty in their first forays into academic writing. The purpose of the manuscript, its optimal audience(s), and other factors first lead to a decision on publication outlet. Then, the voluminous "memoir" of the research endeavor is trimmed to manageable size through a series of "bullet point" tests that optimize relevance, conciseness, and cohesiveness. Bullet points making the final cut then are organized into an easy-to-follow writing template. This approach to academic writing has shown value beyond helping fellows pare down dissertations to journal manuscripts; at our institution, it has also generally become a popular method for preparing manuscripts and grant applications.

Copyright Information

Under current US law, you do not have to provide a copyright notice on your work to receive copyright protection. However, if you are making your work publicly available, you may want to.

Putting a copyright notice (the copyright symbol (©), the year of publication, and the name of the copyright holder) on a work tells the rest of the world that the work is protected by copyright. If the copyright holder later sues someone for infringing her copyright in the work, she can point to the notice to show that the defendant is not an “innocent infringer," which can lead to higher damages. A copyright notice also lets others know whom to contact if they would like a license to use the work.

Registration of copyrights is not necessary under current US law. However, you may want to register it anyway. For instructions and forms, visit the US Copyright Office website. If you have any questions regarding copyright registration, the US Copyright Office has a toll-free help line at 1-877-476-0778. You may register a work at any time while it is still in copyright (Attributed to University of Michigan under the Creative Commons).

Please note: The information presented here is intended for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have specific legal questions pertaining your university, please contact their Legal Counsel Offices.