Question
Asked 22nd Jun, 2014

How many publications should a PhD Student have by the time they graduate?

With limited positions at universities available, is there a number of articles to aim for or is hiring based on other metrics, such as ability to run studies, receive funding, teach courses?

Most recent answer

17th Oct, 2021
Ari Happonen
Lappeenranta – Lahti University of Technology LUT
I also think the question how many one "should have", but
a) what is the requirement of the institution
b) national ministry of education requirements
c) post doc goals of the stuednt
and so on.

Popular Answers (1)

22nd Jun, 2014
Marcel M. Lambrechts
Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive
Accepting that unpublished knowledge is lost for the international science community, at least two publication per defended PhD thesis would be nice. Many thesis manuscripts handle very similar topics also presenting similar introduction and theoretical frameworks. Why not publishing multi-author books that bring together information from different defended thesis manuscripts dealing with similar topics?
6 Recommendations

All Answers (41)

22nd Jun, 2014
Marcel M. Lambrechts
Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive
Accepting that unpublished knowledge is lost for the international science community, at least two publication per defended PhD thesis would be nice. Many thesis manuscripts handle very similar topics also presenting similar introduction and theoretical frameworks. Why not publishing multi-author books that bring together information from different defended thesis manuscripts dealing with similar topics?
6 Recommendations
22nd Jun, 2014
Reiner Creutzburg
Brandenburg University of Applied Sciences
The exact number cannot always be clearly specified, but I think it is good to publish 2 articles in respected journals and at least 5 conference papers. Usualy, it isi fast easier to publish in conferences, for journals you need much more time to get the papers accepted.
3 Recommendations
22nd Jun, 2014
Demetris Christopoulos
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
What about arxiv.org publications? Or what about RG publications?
Or, more general, what about the formal type of a publication?
Does the work insied matter or does the 'publisher status' matter?
As you know there exists a whole big industry about publications and the question of what is or what is not a publication is very wide.
For example, see my question:
***Let's suppose that we have two PhD students: One (the Rich) and Another (the Poor).
The Rich one pays for example $600x2=$1200 and gets 2 publications/
The Poor one does not pay and gets 5 rejections.
But, the Poor one has many publications (in arxiv.org, RG and other non payable publications)
Who will take his/her PhD faster? The Rich or the Poor student?***
What do you think?
Thank you.
4 Recommendations
22nd Jun, 2014
Marcel M. Lambrechts
Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive
Dear Reiner,
But then you assume that each PhD student attended at least five conferences/workshops before the end of the PhD project. There is also the potential problem of publishing the same information twice, i.e. the same information found in a scientific journal and a conference publication.
3 Recommendations
22nd Jun, 2014
Reiner Creutzburg
Brandenburg University of Applied Sciences
Dear Marcel, very often conference papers are written by a team of researchers, of course not all of them can attend all conferences, but at least one or two representatives should appear at each conference and every researcher should attend some conferences during his Ph.D. work to get the "wonderful spirit of research conferences".
4 Recommendations
22nd Jun, 2014
Nageswara Rao Posinasetti
University of Northern Iowa
Though there is no specific number, we would normally like to have at least two peer reviewed journal papers as a sure way to complete the Ph D. The attendance at conferences is a great way as others have said, the problem is the economics. If the student is supported through a project, then he/she is likely to attend more conferences than the one self-supporting.
3 Recommendations
22nd Jun, 2014
Nishant Kumar
Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur
In India Two publication is stander requirement.
But this Two, must be from SCI Group or IEEE Transaction... etc
2 Recommendations
22nd Jun, 2014
Antonis A Zorpas
Open University of Cyprus
Nothing is enough  . Depends on the system, on the requirement(s), on the need(s) (in the specific moment). There is no any specific Number. On the other hand I cannot accept a PhD student (sorry if that is strict) without at least 1 publication and 1 citation. You never know or we will never know, or we will never realize the impact of those publications. For example what if 1 publication “break” a significant theory.. can we says that is not enough ? …. From my point of view we must aim higher on quantitative and qualitative publications and as much as we can (or as much as PhD students can) is better… 
2 Recommendations
22nd Jun, 2014
Michael B. Wells
Karolinska Institutet
Antonis--some amount must be enough to get employed. But quality vs quantity of papers certainly should be taken into consideration as well, as you pointed out.
Granted, there probably isn't a hard and fast standard, but I just wondered what your university requires when trying to hire in a young (assistant) professor?
2 Recommendations
23rd Jun, 2014
Serge Grabtchak
HalTecHub Consulting
I'm a bit surprised to notice that a transition from a Ph.D. position to an Assistant Professor position is taken for granted without any intermediate steps like a postdoc. It allows a student-no-longer 1) to widen a scope of his/her research; 2) get additional skills, 3) see what it takes to do a higher level independent research as oppose to what he/she was doing during Ph.D. work, and of course 4) get extra publications. What about all this?? Yes, I do see Ph.D. students jumping directly to an academic chair but this is rather an exception from the rule than a standard, at least in North America.
4 Recommendations
23rd Jun, 2014
Demetris Christopoulos
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
I did not find any answer to my, not so hypothetical, example of the two PhD students, the Rich & the Poor. Why?
2 Recommendations
23rd Jun, 2014
Michael B. Wells
Karolinska Institutet
Serge -- I agree with you: a post-doc position is important and perhaps an industry standard around the world.
That's why I posed this question--what factors (especially publications) are needed to by-pass completing a post-doc and move on to being an assistant professor?
It seemed like many people are saying two publications should come out of your PhD, but few people have mentioned how many are needed (on average) to secure an assistant professor position?
Maybe a better way of framing the question would be--how many publications does the average assistant professor have when they are hired into that position? And what other qualifications do they have in order to get that position?
2 Recommendations
23rd Jun, 2014
Demetris Christopoulos
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Dear Michael, I thought that our main objective function what to receive our PhD diploma, but I see that you probably have already passed that stage, so good luck!
1 Recommendation
24th Jun, 2014
Serge Grabtchak
HalTecHub Consulting
Michael,
The plank will be different for different universities that fall under top-10, top-50, top-100 etc. I'm trying to be as general as possible and not targeting a specific country. The higher you want to jump, the tougher the competition is. It also depends on a discipline, for example criteria for engineering and science can differ. A ranking of the university you're graduating from plays an important role as well. Keep in mind that you have to compete with graduates from schools that may have a better reputation that yours. With all qualifications being equal (# of publications, excellent reference letters, perfect match to the field, demonstrated research potential), candidates from those schools will have a definite advantage. What you can offer to beat them is really an open ended question...
The perfect answer to your question would be some statistical database with numbers, disciplines, Universities. I'm not sure it exists but you may try to post a question about it. Who knows, you may get lucky!..
3 Recommendations
14th Nov, 2014
Rashed Noor
Independent University, Bangladesh
I noticed in Japan that they prefer at least two publications during the Ph.D tenure in peer reviewed journals (with impact factor minimum 1 each).
2 Recommendations
31st Mar, 2015
Anh Pham
University of Arkansas
My adviser told me 3 journal papers is typical, but at the same time it varies from area to area.  
2 Recommendations
26th Jan, 2016
Ashwin Raut
K L University
 Its quantity vs quality....i have seen some student claiming more than 10...but what about quality? I agree with some of comments that we should have at least 2 or 3 top notched journals....but still if u can get more its better....but go for quality.
1 Recommendation
26th Jan, 2016
Demetris Christopoulos
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Of course all above are applied to universities and countries where the dogma of
  • "I am the supervisor and Me is the person who will decide about when you are ready to recieve your Diploma"
is not dominant.
Sorry, but in Greece the above dogma is the answer to the question.
There exist people who took their PhD without even one publication.
3 Recommendations
31st Jan, 2016
Nader Fallahian
Ministry of Health and Medical Education
What else should a PhD Student do, instead of publishing papers and attending conferences?!!!!
2 Recommendations
1st Feb, 2016
Demetris Christopoulos
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
In Greece? He/she must be the loyal 'puppy' of his/her Excellency, the Professor, in a few words, my friend Nader.
What about your country?
3 Recommendations
21st Jun, 2016
Ly Tan Nhiem
Dongguk University
@Kirtimaaa: Could you clarify the terms "significant paper" and "low quality paper". As i know we have no criteria to qualify the papers
1 Recommendation
13th Dec, 2017
Gulam Dastagir Khan
The University of Newcastle, Australia
Hi
I am about to complete my Phd and i do have 8 journal papers. Could some please tell me my chances to get a post doctrate position in any of top 100 uni.
Kindly provide me with your views and comments so that i can do self assessment.
1,2. in Journal of Franklin institute.
3.Applied Mathematics and computation.
4.Optimal control applications and method.
5.Ieee/caa journal of automatica sinica.
6. Systems and control letters.
7,8 in IEER transactions of automatic control.
2 Recommendations
13th Dec, 2017
Michael B. Wells
Karolinska Institutet
I don't know your field, but I am at a top medical institution, and 8 is sufficient. Not outstanding, but definitely not bad. Then it comes down to fit.
I had 7 when I graduated at got a postdoc, because they wanted to hire someone with my skillset....so it was a good match.
While I outperformed many peers (most had 3-4 publications during my PhD), being at one of the top 20 medical institutions in the world put me on the lower end--a lot of my postdoc colleagues had 12-14 publications when they graduated.
1 Recommendation
14th Dec, 2017
Gulam Dastagir Khan
The University of Newcastle, Australia
Thank you Michael.
I am from control engineering domain.
1 Recommendation
22nd Jan, 2018
Haitham Hmoud Alshibly
Al-Balqa' Applied University
Good question and Informative answers thank you all
1 Recommendation
3rd Mar, 2018
Hassan Alrehamy
University of Babylon
This question is as relative as Time. you may publish 10 journal papers, 8 pages each, and get null citations. you might publish only one 50 pages paper and get +25 citations during PhD.
You should focus on Quality not Quantity, and the metric to measure a PhD candidate's performance should be citations, not number of publications.
To this end, your goal is to graduate, so you should focus on publishing papers that can directly fit as thesis chapters.
I am currently in thesis writing, I published only four papers. With solid introduction, three ready-to-go chapters, and concluding chapter, I hope to graduate smoothly,
See you in 6 months.
Edit:
and smoothly graduated :)
4 Recommendations
6th Nov, 2018
Thai Son Chu
Western Sydney University
My supervisor said 2 quality papers are good for the thesis.
1 Recommendation
8th Nov, 2018
Béatrice Marianne Ewalds-Kvist
Stockholm University
Beror på landet och universitetets bestämmelser. I Kina skall man ha en artikel publicerad i en journal med impact factor 2 + andra artiklar. I östra grannlandet 4 artiklar numera + "kappan" som täcker ämnesområdet.
30th Dec, 2018
Debanjan Borthakur
University of Toronto
@ H. Alrehamy I think citation is also a relative concept that varies from subject to subject.
1 Recommendation
7th Jan, 2019
Konstantinos Karampelas
University of the Aegean
Interesting question.
I agree with the replies which imply that it is difficult to precise. It depends on the area of study I think.
19th Mar, 2019
Michelle Hand
George Mason University
I have generally heard that a minimum of six to eight publications are anticipated in the social sciences. Still I agree with several respondents above; it largely depends on the area of study and the positions of the hiring universities. I hope this helps.
1 Recommendation
21st Mar, 2019
Erick Amombo
Mohammed VI Polytechnic University
I think it varies with discipline of study. In Molecular Biology for example, a single project may take a substantial proportion of your PhD time to finish, hence most students will defend with only one published paper, so in this case novelty matters a lot.
2 Recommendations
21st Mar, 2019
Solomon Sackey
Kyungpook National University
It depends on the field of study and the quantity doesn't matter but the quality does. But before graduation publishing in at least one quality journal is enough
9th Jan, 2021
Kiprotich Kiptum
University of Eldoret
Though this is a requirement by many institutions. I feel the quality of the thesis is important. So if someone has a very good thesis he should be allowed to graduate as he awaits to publish in quality journals. This is because the review processes of some high impact journals takes long.

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