How to extract articles from your dissertation

When I finally got around to writing my dissertation (that’s another story), I realized that its organization easily fell into several relatively self-contained chapters. Once I defended, I needed to convert as much of the dissertation to publishable articles as I could, for the “hound of tenure” was fast on my heels.

I realized that I had written each chapter with a possible article based on it already in mind. In philosophy one often takes on positions articulated by others, and seeks to attack them in a way that makes one’s own view more plausible and defended against those who would, or should, attack it. So, I “carved” the dissertation into three chunks and wrote them up as independent articles. I sent them to the same journals that had published the articles I was attacking, and they were accepted (usually subject to some revisions). Hence, my first three publications, followed by a fourth when one of my attackees sought to defend himself in print. Those, plus a couple of short pieces, secured a tenured appointment.

How to turn a seminar paper into a publication

The Director of Graduate Studies for your department has made noises about “the professional turn,” namely, writing for publication and not merely to demonstrate to the professor what you know. While you had a vague idea of what was meant, this is the first indication you have that you may be in the turn. What do you do now?

Your first stop is a meeting with your professor. Ask where it is likely to be publishable. And ask what else needs to be done to the paper to make it able to pass review.