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I'm graduating in a few months with an M.S. in Economics. My program required a thesis, which took a bit longer to write than I hoped for, but I've done it, passed the defense, manuscript approved. My committee is talking about me making some revisions and trying to get it published in a peer-reviewed journal, which would be an absolute dream come true for me. Not sure if it'll happen, but we're going to try.

Although I started my program as a full-time student, because the paper took a while, I've been working in private industry (corporate job) for the past few years. I am in data analytics in a field that is related to my research interests (suppose I wrote my thesis on the economics of retail, and I work for a private equity firm that buys/restructures department stores - not a real example, but you get the idea). It pays well, provides good retirement, good health insurance, etc. so I have no plans at this time to leave and go back for a Ph.D.

However, I really want to continue to research, write, and hopefully publish papers. Is there a way for me to continue to do this outside of academia? If you've done this, or know someone who has, what did this look like for them?

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    Plenty of scientists, engineers, researchers, etc., in industry publish regularly. Have at it and best of luck and success to you! Commented Aug 5, 2021 at 19:43
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    Probably a duplicate of this: academia.stackexchange.com/q/160972/75368. "Conferences" isn't essential in the question/answers there. Anyone can publish if the papers are good. There is no requirement for being in academia. Lots of folks at IBM, Google, etc. publish regularly.
    – Buffy
    Commented Aug 5, 2021 at 19:44
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    Probably worth adding to the conversation that much will depend upon your employer's policies for publication. Some encourage it, some don't, some treat whatever you do as potentially their own intellectual property. Your manager and HR will be good places to start. Commented Aug 5, 2021 at 20:25
  • @A rural reader Thank you for suggesting my manager and HR; I hadn't thought to go in that direction. We do "professional development plans" (less a plan than a conversation) every November. I think that would probably be a good time to bring this up. Our company does have a segment that contributes to industry research, though more in a "press release" than "journal article" kind of way, so that might be a good place to start. Commented Aug 6, 2021 at 20:47

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There's nothing special about it. You find an interesting idea, do the work, and write it up.

The real difficulty is time. Research is difficult and tiring, and if you are working a full-time job then you'll only be able to spare a few hours a day on research. Even then you could easily be working 50+ hours a week. Productivity drops with time spent working; your progress is likely to be slow.

But it can be done (I did it once). You'll likely want to liaise with a more experienced researcher, since it sounds like you have little formal research experience. If they can't mentor you directly, you might still be able to show them a draft of the results when you get them.

Maybe the best way is to switch to part-time work and part-time research, but you'll almost surely earn less that way too.

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  • What would be a good way to find a more experienced researcher - reach out to someone in the field? Unfortunately part time work isn't really an option for my role; they can and probably would just find someone willing to work full time. Commented Aug 6, 2021 at 20:48
  • @HopefulEconomist apologies for late reply. Yes, you reach out to someone in the field. I would start by asking your teachers from your Masters or Bachelors though; they already know you and are more likely to respond.
    – Allure
    Commented Sep 15, 2021 at 1:02

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