How to publish your thesis? Making the transition from thesis to published paper

case taking2Making the transition from thesis to published paper: A supervisor’s note to her student

Navjeevan Singh
Department of Pathology, University College of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

There are good reasons why you should publish a paper of your thesis. Science progresses in small steps; a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. You have put in several months of painstaking work with your thesis and taken that first small step. Sharing your work with the larger scientific community is essential to the progress of science. Your thesis may be read only by a handful of people besides you and your supervisor; or it may languish in the oblivion of the shelves of your institutional library. If institutional policy and resources permit, it may lie unread in an online repository. On the other hand, a paper published in a PubMed indexed, peer-reviewed journal has far greater potential to be seen as credible work which can be subjected to critical review and be cited by other researchers.

Publishing your work in indexed, peer-reviewed journals is considered the acme of academic achievement; a pinnacle you scale successfully every time your research is so published. When your first paper is published, your status is elevated to that of a “peer.” By reading the literature and building your research on the work of others you stood on the shoulders of giants; by publishing your work you become a giant yourself.

The best opportunity to write your paper is immediately after submission of the thesis. At this time, your mind will be brimming with ideas and if you get it right, you could carry a reprint of your published paper to the MD examination! If you fail to capitalize during this brief window period, the next chance may not come until after you have taken the examination. By then your precious work will have turned stale and you may have to redo large portions of it to account for the additions to the literature while you dallied.

Never underestimate the value of your work. If you have been meticulous and thorough with your research, the discerning reader will see it. There will be flaws, as indeed there are in most published work. [1] By publishing you generously allow other researchers to discover those flaws and enable them to design better studies; that is what progress in science is all about. It is unethical not to publish your research because by doing so you deprive the scientific community and those who benefit from its efforts, of the fruit of your labor. [2]

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