Graduate Student Publishing

Thom Brooks, The Postgraduate’s Guide to Getting Published.

This is a very helpful guide to getting published as a graduate student. For some commentary on it, see Leiter Reports.

Students should also be cautioned not to publish too much too early. If they publish lousy work, it will haunt them for the rest of their career. Even good work is going to count in their favor only if it’s published in the right places. Ideally, if a piece is good, it should be published, and it shouldn’t matter where. But things are not so simple. For readers don’t have the resources to determine the quality of every article. Hence, they often decide what to read and cite based on where it is published, especially when the name of the author is otherwise unknown.

Students should be aware that where they publish is at least as important as whether they do, especially if they aspire to a job in a research institution. In my experience, search committee members pay a lot of attention to journal (and press) names. Articles in good journals are big plusses and articles in decent journals are plusses, but articles in journals that are not considered “good enough” are minuses. Students should be aware of this when deciding where to submit.

Unfortunately, the solution is not to inundate J. Phil. and Phil. Review with submissions. Most of those will be rejected, probably without an explanation. Students need to search for journals that are right for their work.


  1. Anonymous

    I can see faculty do not have time to read all that is published, hence use a heuristic in which they evaluate individuals on the basis of where articles are published rather than on an actual reading of articles. How then is it that the lousy articles hurt so much, if they are not really read that often?

  2. Carlotta

    in your opinion, how important are publications in order to get post doc positions in the USA? I know that in UK, graduate students applying for jobs usually have already a good set of publications. but here in the USA, I was told that, also because of the different graduate educational system, other considerations come first (good teaching records, for example). do you agree?

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