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Completing a PhD by publication: a review of Australian policy and implications for practice

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There is increasing impetus for higher-degree-by-research students to publish during candidature. Research performance, including higher degree completions and publication output, commonly determines university funding, and doctorates with publishing experience are better positioned for a career in softening academic labour markets. The PhD by Publication provides a pathway for candidates to foster and demonstrate their publishing capabilities. It also provides existing academics a means of achieving doctoral status while managing the ‘publish or perish’ milieu endemic to their work. This paper clarifies the precise nature and significance of the PhD by Publication pathway in the Australian context and discusses the associated benefits and problems, enriched by personal experience. It summarises factors pertinent to assessing the pathway's suitability. The review of current policy suggests institutional guidelines in universities nationwide are inadequate for producing theses of comparable quality to conventional dissertations and capitalising on the pathway's significant benefits.
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Keywords: PhD; doctoral education; publication; research student; thesis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Business and Law, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia

Publication date: June 1, 2013

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