Should research results be published during Ph.D. studies?

An overview of the advantages and challenges involved in publishing research results during a Ph.D. programme.

Published - September 23, 2023 01:12 pm IST

It is necessary to publish the results of research and make them accessible to the scientific community for continued research by others.

It is necessary to publish the results of research and make them accessible to the scientific community for continued research by others. | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Registration for a Ph.D. comes with the intention of carrying out research in an unexplored area and contributing to the scientific repository with new results on the identified topic. The first stage is the identification of the need for research on defined topics. This is established through a survey and review of existing literature, which identifies the gaps and sets the stage for defining the area of research. Since the researcher has to embark on a hunt to frame the research problem, it is necessary to publish the results of research and make them accessible to the scientific community for continued research by others.


Let’s list some benefits of publishing research results in journals and conference proceedings, before submitting the thesis for the award of the Ph.D.

Collaboration and network building: The main advantage of presenting research papers at national and international conferences is the possibility of networking and collaboration. The second is the legitimate use of resources and efforts to achieve a combined result, thereby avoiding ‘re-inventing the wheel’ by many and in many places.

Critical feedback: Whether it is a conference report or a journal publication, the paper gathers critical feedback during the review process. This enhances the quality and rigour of research, promotes critical thinking, and contributes to the researcher’s growth and development.

Increased citations: Publishing in reputed journals allows increased research citations and wide recognition. Citations indicate that other researchers are referring to and relying on the published research, demonstrating the impact and influence of the publication. This will be reinforced as researchers from around the world publish collaborative papers.

Career opportunities: Publishing research findings during doctoral studies can improve career prospects, as this demonstrates the candidate’s ability to carry out independent research, communicate results effectively and contribute to the academic field.

Gaining credibility: Finally, an unpublished research work that goes only into the dissertation loses its credibility and ends up only on library shelves.

Institutional credits: The rating and accreditation agencies of institutions around the world assess institutional merit with weightings of 30% to 40% in the overall rating system.

Challenges and limitations

Despite the many advantages, there are also limitations and potential disadvantages to consider:

Time limit: Researching, analysing data and preparing a document for publication takes time. The added responsibility of preparation and submission can be stressful and may hinder progress.

Possibility of rejections: The peer review process can be challenging and several refusals may lead to demoralisation. This may negatively impact the scholar’s motivation and confidence.

Difficulty of contrasting results: The publication process may be biased in favour of positive and quantitative results. Ph.D. scholars may find it difficult to publish findings that counter existing literature.

Ethical and confidential aspects: Some research projects may involve sensitive data or information that needs to be kept confidential such as defence-related problems or for a private company that requires confidentiality of findings.

Intellectual Property Rights: Some findings might lead to highly valued patents, in which case the publication of research in open domain could be restricted to protect the intellectual property with commercial values.

Lack of cooperation: In some instances, collaborative research projects may involve several authors or researchers. This requires the contributors to cooperate and decide issues such as author order and identification of corresponding author.

While the process may be laborious and not all research conducted during a doctorate may lead to publications, healthy discussions with advisors and peers will help advance the Ph.D. programme effectively.

The writer is the Vice Chancellor, Hindustan Institute of Technology and Science, Chennai

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.