Strategic publishing


In the past, and still in some disciplines, it has been common to wait till a PhD has been awarded before publishing journal articles or a book from the finished thesis. However it is increasingly common to publish during candidacy, with some theses consisting almost entirely of published articles brought together to create a “thesis by compilation”. Others may include a smaller number of published articles as chapters or appendices in the thesis.

Whether you choose to publish as part of your thesis or after your thesis is awarded, it is a valuable exercise to check how others have approached their PhD. In the early stages of your research, finding theses in your subject area can assist with your literature review - you can build on the work that others have done. As you write up your work, seeing how others have written up their research can be a useful guide to possible styles for your narrative.

To find sources of Curtin, Australian and international theses please go the Library theses webpage.

You can also get invaluable information and inspiration from the Thesis Whisperer blog.

Thesis by compilation

For those of you starting out, it may pay to think of future journal articles and work this into your strategy as you compile your thesis. Consider a thesis by compilation (previously known as a thesis by publication) or a hybrid thesis. Get publications on your resume before you graduate your PhD – be ahead of your competition! See Section 3 of Guidelines for Thesis Preparation and Submission [PDF, 174kB] for more information.

Consider the following points:

  • Plan your publications as early as possible – ideally for Milestone One.
  • What journals should you aim to publish in?
  • Find quality journals in your discipline - check our guide to quality journals.
  • Journals that publish monthly are more likely to publish your work than those that only publish one or two editions a year. Use Ulrichsweb to explore publication patterns.
  • What is the typical turnaround time for the journal you have chosen? Can you publish all the papers you need in the time available to you?
  • Understand your copyright obligations.


Curtin Guidelines for Thesis Preparation and Submission [PDF, 174kB]


Thesis by compilation
An August 2021 presentation by Professor Christopher Reid, Dean Graduate Studies, on the current guidelines for a thesis by compilation at Curtin University. The presentation includes the supervisor perspectives of Professors Kliti Grice and Charlie Ironside, as well as the student perspective of recent graduate Rene Forsyth. The slides from the presentation are available below.

Your thesis in espace

Research students are required to submit a digital copy of the final version to the Library. Where possible, an open access version of the thesis will appear in:

See the Guide to espace for more information on submitting your thesis.


Please note that having your thesis available in espace does not equate to publication. Most ethical publishers recognise that repositories such as espace meet university and funder requirements for open access and should not refuse your publication for commercial publication on the basis that that is has been previously “published”. Refer to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) Best practice guidelines on thesis publishing for more information.

Publishing your finished thesis

As the owner of the copyright of your thesis, it is important to consider how you might disseminate your research findings to a wider audience. Even though your thesis will become publicly available through Curtin espace on completion, in some cases after an embargo period, consider reworking your thesis into a book, a book chapter or a series of journal articles.

Consider the following points:

  • Be aware that a thesis is not a book and will need considerable work to make it into one.
  • Consider other publishing possibilities - a book chapter, journal articles or even a blog post or documentary.
  • Do you have datasets that might published and used by other researchers?
  • Are there copyright implications you need to know about? Some of the images or other materials used in your thesis may need to be removed or reworked for commercial publication.
  • Beware predatory thesis publishers and “thesis mills” - any approaches by commercial publishers to publish your thesis as is should be treated with caution. Learn more about predatory publishers here.
  • There are some circumstances in which you can apply for an embargo on your thesis appearing full text in Curtin espace. Read more here.
  • Consider open access – this could give your book an audience and reach it might not otherwise achieve


How to turn your PhD into a book, Thesis Whisperer