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I am a PhD student works in theoretical computer science(Algebra). I have been working on my PhD project from last five years. I am very much interested in my work. During my Ph.D there were not collaborator were there other than my research supervisor. I struggle a lot during my Ph.D as problem finding was very tough, solving also and then writing. I even did not find the course work which I did any helpful. I was also not allowed to work outside my university I don't know why. Now at the end of my Ph.D I come to know the value of collaboration.

I have studied most of things in Ph.D. at my own. I come up with results and written those with the help of research supervisor. I have worked very hard in my Ph.D. despite of that I am not publish a single paper in top tier. All of my research paper are in low tier. I will be graduating soon.

According to my research supervisor, PhD is to train a student not to publish something in top tier. This is true for all of his Ph.D students that they publish in low tier.

I am worried about post-doc and Job after my Ph.D as many of the students in my field are publishing at top tiers. I can publish research paper at my own but not in top tier.

Question : Is it okay to publish your entire work of PhD in low tier?

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Back in the old days, it was quite common for mathematics and theoretical computer science PhD students to graduate with zero publications. Their research contributions, while valid, were not significant enough to be published. This isn't so true now, principally because there are many more low-tier conferences and journals to publish low-significance results, so the bar of significance to be published has gone down.

As far as the goals of a PhD are concerned, as long as you have done enough research, it's a valid PhD.

However, the job market is not so friendly. It's useful here to bring out the sports analogy. Getting a permanent academic job is like getting to play on a major league baseball team (or a first division football team). Getting a PhD is like becoming competent in a minor league (or lower division) team. Not everyone who starts out playing professional baseball (or football) makes it to the top, and you need talent and luck as well as hard work.

Most people who finish a PhD don't have the right combination of talent and luck to land a permanent academic job, just because there are fewer jobs than people with PhDs.

In the current job market, in order to land a permanent academic job where research is a significant portion of your duties, you need research results that can be published in a higher-tier venue. If you don't get them as a grad student, you might get them as a postdoc, and it even happens that people get them doing research nights and weekends while working at a non-academic job, or a teaching-only academic job.

But, just as the sports analogy suggests, while there are things you can do that will help your chances of making it to the major leagues, there is nothing you can do that will guarantee (or even make it highly probable) you make it to the majors.

  • I am not interested in joining industry despite of that I will join some college. – I_wil_break_wall Oct 13 at 15:06
  • Back in the old days, it was quite common for mathematics and theoretical computer science PhD students to graduate with zero publications. — The old days must be really old. When I got my PhD in theoretical computer science in 1996, finishing a PhD in theoretical computer science with zero publications was already rare, and getting a faculty position in theoretical computer science with zero publications was already impossible. — the bar of significance to be published has gone down — I don't think this is true at all; fruit was much closer to the ground in the Old Days. – JeffE Oct 14 at 15:46
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First, I'm not sure where to draw the line between top and low tier journals. You want to publish in an appropriate journal at the higher rather than the lower level.

But it is more important to realize that your career doesn't begin and end with your doctoral research. It is normally only the first of your published works, not the best, and certainly not the totality.

Some people are lucky in their studies, having been given a hard problem and having made significant progress on it. Others have done more modest work. But, there is actually more valid doctoral research than the top tier journals could possibly publish.

So, it isn't something to worry about. But seek out interesting problems and work hard to solve them. Get as much published as you can and in the best journals you can manage. Your career will grow. It doesn't start out fully formed.

  • This does not answer the question. – Anonymous Physicist Oct 11 at 22:07
  • OP is a theoretical computer scientist, so replace "journal" with "conference" everywhere. – JeffE Oct 14 at 15:42
  • @AnonymousPhysicist: This does answer the question. – Thomas Oct 19 at 20:49
  • Actually, there is a flag for posts that don't answer questions. The mods will intervene if they so judge. – Buffy Oct 19 at 20:51
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I am worried about post-doc and Job after my Ph.D

Question : Is it okay to publish your entire work of PhD in low tier?

Yes, it is okay. As you are nearing completion, you need publications to get hired. If the alternative to publishing in a lower tier is not publishing at all, then you are far better off getting something in print in a good peer-reviewed journal with a respectable impact factor, even if it is not your first choice.

The harder question is how much of your doctoral work needs to get published at this stage. You can publish some of it while saving some to rework, polish, and submit later, with better hope for an outstanding publication. Ask your research supervisor for their advice on how much is enough.

That said, I strongly agree with @Buffy's advice, which I up-voted.

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