How to Convert Your Thesis into a Journal Article?
Research Writing

How to Convert Your Thesis into a Journal Article?

Deeptanshu D
Deeptanshu D

Table of Contents


“Congratulations, your Thesis has been accepted!”

Upon submitting your thesis, when you hear this statement, your heart must have felt complete feelings of joy and pride. You must be in a self-boasting mode where you finally feel that you have sent your baby to the outside world. However, as time passes by, you will gradually get to know that: the majority of the researchers only prefer to read a 10-15 page paper about the most revolutionary part of your research rather than digging through 500 pages of your book-style thesis.

Welcome to the harsh reality, now. After completing the gigantic task of writing, submitting, and defending your Ph.D. thesis, you get to know that it was not enough. The next pragmatic step you must adopt is converting a few parts of your thesis into a journal article.

You can easily create a few journal articles by scouring through your manuscript. While skimming your thesis manuscript, you will be able to discover that a few chapters can easily be segmented and converted into a journal article. These segmented chapters and the research material you gathered during the research phase can provide you with enough materials to create a few journal articles.

There is much confusion around the conversion of the thesis to a journal article. These confusions range from “what is the need for the conversion of the thesis to an article,” “whether it is legit to do so or not,” to “is converting a thesis to a journal considered a plagiarized source, specifically self-plagiarism?”

Even you must have got these questions. So, let me answer and clear off the doubts over these looming questions contesting within you.

Why Publish Articles from Thesis?

It is pretty well known that a research paper asserts much credibility to the author. So, the easiest way to create your first research paper is through your thesis or dissertation. Besides, you will come across many benefits once you have published the first article from your thesis. These can include:

1) Career Boost

A mere bullet point mentioning you have authored a journal article will be an outstanding achievement and addition to your CV. It generally takes a year or two to complete a thesis. Since you have already done the research, you do not need to conduct new research or collect facts. This way, you can save a significant amount of time and publish your research.

Also, like a cherry on a cake, you can create multiple research papers from your thesis. In this way, you will be way ahead of your peers as by the time they will be able to publish one or two articles, you will already be carrying multiple journal articles in your name.

2) Greater Outreach

What happened to your thesis after submission? Probably nothing more than becoming part of your institutions’ archives. It is the usual case with every thesis in most institutions worldwide. However, if you transform that into a journal article, it reaches a far greater audience, surpassing your institution's internal corridors.

3) Self-satisfaction

You have spent a lot of time and effort in creating your thesis. So why not reward your efforts by transforming your thesis into a journal article that can provide a more significant readership, credibility, and praise for your work.
Just put in a last-mile effort and convert your thesis into a few journal articles; you can quickly achieve higher recognition and reputation for your work and even yourself. Also, it can help in enhancing your academic and research writing skills.

Is creating articles from a thesis or dissertation legit?


There are a lot of concerns and misconceptions that cloud scholars when it comes to publishing articles from theses. For example, scholars usually get thoughts like if journal publishers accept something that has already been a part of a thesis or dissertation or creating articles from a thesis might come under the purview of a duplicate submission, self-plagiarism, or copyright issues.

I will not say that these questions are entirely baseless or of fault, but publishing articles from a thesis varies in different contexts. What I can frankly say is that publishers are not entirely against publishing articles that have been generated from a thesis. Follow-through below mentioned reasons to understand this:

i) Theses are not formal publications

Most academic publishers do not consider theses or dissertations as formal publications. Theses are published at the institutional level only for internal scrutiny and a little circulation among fellow scholars.

However, if your institution has published your theses through its online channels, then it is prudent for you to inform the academic publisher about this. Staying transparent about the origin of your manuscript with your publisher is the best way to stay away from any unethical practices. The best solution here is to create a citation article for your thesis.

You are the copyright owner when it comes to your thesis. So, when you publish an article from your thesis, there will be no copyright infringement issues. You can register yourself as a copyrights owner if extra protective. In such a scenario, you can create as many articles as possible, and academic publishers will publish them without worrying over any copyright violation.

iii) Duplication and Self-Plagiarism can be easily eliminated

A journal article can be generated easily from a few thesis chapters. Therefore, a journal article that has originated from a thesis or a dissertation is a part of it and not a copy. Additionally, it undergoes a rigorous peer-review process, bringing many differences between an article and your thesis. No one can charge you for duplicating your thesis for a journal article.

Similarly, you can avoid the traps of self-plagiarism by simply citing your thesis/dissertation in the journal paper. Moreover, you can take advantage of quote blocks in sections where you have directly used the same content verbatim as your thesis.

You should inform the publisher that the article has been scoured from your thesis in all of these cases. Moreover, you should furnish them with a copy of your thesis with all the information, such as where and when it was first published, etc. Staying transparent and open about these things with your editor can turn to your advantage as they may help you understand the procedures to be followed to avoid any ethics violations you may not know at that time.

Tips on How to convert your thesis to a journal article


Before mentioning the tips on generating a journal article from your thesis, it is crucial that you first understand a few contrasting aspects of a journal article and a thesis.

First and foremost, the audience or the readers are very different for both the journal article and the thesis. In the case of a thesis, the audience is the institutional committee that evaluates if your thesis is of quality or not. Whereas, for the journal article, the readers are the scientists or scholars of the same domain looking for theories backed with facts and evidence.

Additionally, a thesis is created to serve the educational purpose of achieving a degree. On the other hand, an academic paper/article is published to achieve professional goals like attaining credibility, reputation, and recognition in the academic domain.

A thesis is presented or the format is quite different from a journal article. Like everybody else, you too must have included all that you knew about the topic in your thesis. The purpose of a thesis is to present all the known facts and evidence to manifest your knowledge about a particular subject. Whereas, in the case of journals, you have to manifest your knowledge about the topic in a shorter and precise format.

While creating your first publication, you must be careful to ensure that it includes a concise literature review, calculated methods and methodology section, only the relevant findings and evidence, and a condensed discussion section.

You must draft your first paper after understanding your audience and their questions once they choose to read your article. Simply put, you must know your audience and the answers they will be expecting from your article.

To create your first article from your thesis, keep the above-discussed points in your thoughts and follow through the below-mentioned elements that you revise and amend as per the publication’s requirements.

1) Words limit

Quite pronounced and known to all that a journal article is of much shorter length than a thesis. While a thesis can be 8000-10000 words covering over 200+pages, a journal article can maximum go up to a few thousand words spanning over 5-7pages. Additionally, this length also varies from domain to domain and topic to topic.

Therefore, you must shorten each section very accurately. You need to trim the paragraphs so that the true essence should not get lost, and there should not be any redundancy, too. You must select the key important topics and include them in your academic paper.

2) Abstract

The abstract is the entry point of your academic paper. Therefore, you need to include and present the exciting points of the topic here but briefly. You need to curate it according to the instructions provided by your target journal. You must enquire and ensure whether they require a structured or unstructured abstract. Moreover, there is a growing trend of graphical and video abstracts.

3) Introduction

While writing the introduction, you must present the gaps in your chosen topic that led to the research. Next, you need to write a concise literature review to bring forth the past works and the new results that you aim to find out. In this section, you must specify the research problem and a background check over that topic.

4) Methods

You must have extensively provided details about your chosen methods and methodology in your thesis. However, you can not do the same here. You need to narrow it down to the methodology section, especially the experiments, surveys, and more you have adopted. You are not supposed to present a detailed discussion around the research methodology approach in the journal articles.

5) Results

You must be aware that a thesis must contain the details of every result with considerable discussions, whereas a journal only contains the result of the main findings. Therefore, while creating the result sections, ensure that you include the results or the findings that directly answer the research question. Also, you must provide hard evidence to back your results. Moreover, strict adherence to the standards of reporting results has to be followed.

6) Discussion

The discussion section of a journal article is meant to provide a brief interpretation of the results to display your understanding of the topic. Ensure that you keep the discussion section of your journal article clear and cut to the point. Be aware that by providing a discussion section, you demonstrate your interest and speculations in the future direction the research topic will adopt.

7) References

Do not just copy-paste the reference or citation list from your thesis to the article. You need to provide the relevant reference and citations you sought when conducting the research. You must ensure that the reference list you are putting here should be relevant to the topic. Sometimes, the academic publishers limit the number of references you can include, so properly enquire beforehand only over the number of references.

Final Words

Publishing articles from the thesis is nowhere prohibited. In reality, if you discuss this idea with your peers, they will encourage you to do it. Just keep in mind the concept of thesis and journal articles, their differences, and the purpose each serves in a different context; you will be able to publish an article from your thesis easily.

The above tips are intended to provide you with a direction to publish articles from your thesis. If you feel overwhelmed by the publisher's requirements or get confused and seek answers, you can come over to the SciSpace (Formerly Typeset) Community. Just submit your questions there, and you will find answers pouring in from experts all over the world. Even now, if you feel that there are certain aspects that this article did not cover, feel free and post your question in the SciSpace Community, and I will make sure that you get your answers ASAP.

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