Quick Tips for Turning Your Dissertation into Published Journal Articles

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“Publish or perish” is a familiar saying in academia. While the situation is not quite that pressing, postdoctoral professionals do start to feel the pressure to publish early on because it establishes their credibility and fleshes out their resumes. Since your dissertation is based on your own original research, there is nothing holding you back from getting some extra mileage out of it by turning it into a series of journal articles.

For further information and best practices to help guide you through publishing your dissertation, the Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching (CIRT) offers a Dissertation to Publication online training program.


Ideally, you will start planning your articles soon after successfully defending your dissertation, or perhaps even beforehand. Consider which chapters or subsections would be best suited to find new life as independent papers. Write a list of academic journals you would like to submit to. Since you have just spent a significant amount of time buried in academic journals, you could probably do this in your sleep.

Creating an Editorial Calendar

Once you have got the basic framework of a plan in place, it is time to start a new spreadsheet document. Fill in the fields with your paper topics, the journals you will submit them to, and your deadlines for completing them. Ambition is a great quality, but do try to set reasonable deadlines, especially if you are simultaneously working your way up in your chosen industry. Some articles will practically put themselves together, while others require long, intensive writing and editing sessions. Do not sacrifice quality in the name of speed.

Checking Publication Guidelines

Doctoral learners are encouraged to include a copyright page in their dissertations, and to register the copyright. This avoids any potential problems with breach of copyright. Most journals will not mind publishing papers even if they were previously published as part of a dissertation. You should always check the applicable policies, however, especially if your dissertation has been published online. It is good form to communicate with the journal editor about any possible issues before spending hours rewriting and formatting the paper.

Avoiding Salami Slicing

Vegetarians may cringe at this reference, but salami slicing has nothing to do with deli meat. It refers to the “slicing” of a large research study into a series of papers, each of which is dependent upon the information presented in the others. Another way to define salami publications is that they are multiple papers derived from the same research questions, methodologies and populations.

For example, the first journal article may review findings from comparing Group A with the control group, and the second article may cover Group B compared to the control group. Salami slicing is considered an unethical practice, although many doctoral learners may inadvertently commit this faux pas without realizing the ramifications. There is an easy way to avoid salami slicing. Make sure that each journal article you compose from your dissertation can stand on its own, without drawing on data from any other article. It should make its own unique contribution to the field, and have its own key element.

The College of Doctoral Studies at Grand Canyon University is pleased to offer academically rigorous degree programs to help our students pursue their career aspirations and contribute to their chosen fields of study. Click on the Request More Information button to begin your journey on our supportive, faith-based campus.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.