Publish a dissertation
Those who earn a doctorate must submit a dissertation—also known as a doctoral thesis or doctoral dissertation—at the end of the doctoral procedure. To be awarded a doctorate, the dissertation must be published as the final step in the doctoral process. The publication options you have depend on the type of dissertation.
Monographic or cumulative dissertation?
There are two types of dissertations:
- the monographic dissertation, which is written and published as a complete work, and
- the cumulative dissertation, which integrates several individual essays (usually journal articles) submitted for publication or already published during doctoral studies into a coherent body of work.
In the social sciences and humanities, the monographic dissertation is more common; in the natural and life sciences, a cumulative dissertation is much more common. The type of doctorate chosen is usually decided at the beginning of a doctoral procedure.
For individual doctoral procedures, the individually applicable guidelines and regulations, especially the doctoral regulations, are always decisive. This should be taken into account in the partially generalised information given here.
Publishing a monographic dissertation
There are basically two ways to publish a monographic dissertation: You can publish it via the publication server of your university or as a monograph in a publishing house.
A publication server (also known as a repository) is the much faster way to publish and the dissertation is freely accessible there, permanently referenceable, and archived for a long time. The right contact for this is usually the library of the university where you are doing your doctorate.
However, publishing the dissertation via a publication server is not always an option because, for example, this method of publication is not respected in a subject discipline and then does not bring with it any renown for an aspired academic career. In this case, you will aim to publish your dissertation as a monographic book with a publishing house. Three aspects, in particular, are important here:
- Choice of publisher: Which publishers are eligible and which one do you finally choose? You may be open in your choice of publisher, but it may be that only one or a few publishers come into question (e.g., for technical reasons, because of quality requirements, personal preferences, or because of a series in which you would like to publish). Ideally, obtain offers for the publication of your dissertation from various publishers to compare services and costs; these sometimes differ significantly.
- Open access: Should the dissertation be published as an open access book so that it is accessible to everyone and can achieve greater visibility and reach? By now, most publishers offer the option of open access publication; however, there is a wide spectrum in the publishing market in terms of cost, quality, and implementation of open access. There are pure open access publishers, whereby with some you can publish completely free of charge under certain conditions (mostly university publishers, such as BerlinUP). Furthermore, some conventional publishers offer open access as an option—although the costs vary greatly depending on the publisher.
- Funding: What funds are available to you for any publication costs you may incur? Particularly, funding within the framework of doctoral funding, from research projects, or directly from research funding institutions (in the form of publication funds, material funds, or publication grants) as well as open access publication funds from your own institution come into question here. Additionally, funding or grants from a chair and institutes or faculties may be considered, as well as prize money and comparable funds.
The decisions regarding these aspects usually influence each other and can be weighted differently depending on individual requirements. Good research and expert advice in advance are therefore important.
We would be happy to advise you on these aspects and answer your questions! Our advice is independent of BerlinUP's offers.
Publishing a cumulative dissertation
The special nature of a cumulative dissertation makes it necessary for you to think about the publication of the individual essays already and thus not only come into contact with questions about publication at the end of a doctoral process. Most of the time, the essays will be articles that you submit for publication in journals. The following tips will help you here:
- Check relevance and quality, and aim for open access: Select journals that are relevant in terms of content and subject matter as well as reputable journals for your articles. Publish the articles as freely accessible as possible (open access) by submitting them to genuine open access journals or researching the possibilities for open access in advance.
- Secure republication rights: Before submitting an article to a journal, clarify what the situation is in terms of the rights necessary for later integration and republication in the dissertation publication. Basic rule: Do not transfer exclusive rights of use to a publisher, at most simple rights of use, so that you retain full exploitation rights to your article. Again, emphasise this: Check out the options for open access. After all, freely accessible articles that appear under an open access-compliant Creative Commons licence can be republished quite easily.
- Self-archive if necessary: If you have not been able to publish an article freely accessible, check the possibilities for a second publication (so-called green path of open access), and make the article freely accessible in this way.
The publication of the cumulative dissertation, that is, the final coherent body of work, usually takes place via the publication server or repository of your university. This makes the dissertation freely accessible, permanently referenceable, and archived for the long term.
We would be happy to advise you on these aspects and answer your questions!