I did a 3-year industrial PhD joint programme between a university and a company.

Working for the company, I vastly improved their technology, but got no patents in my name. I wrote some papers, but they aren't submitted for publishing yet, and I will get my PhD regardless of that, because it is paper SUBMISSION that is a requirement for my diploma.

Essentially, my research is done, and soon after paper submission, I will have a diploma. But I have no idea how long it will take before the publishing.

Which means that I can spend a few months being a PhD, while not having any papers or patents in my name. Of course there are still two papers I published during my bachelor and master studies, but every postdoc requires "stellar publishing record".

How should I deal with this situation? Should I apply everywhere ASAP without worries about papers? Or should I take my time and wait, perhaps until July-August (it is March now), when I maybe will have some papers? Of course there's risk that my papers will be rejected too.

  • Not sure I'm understanding the question: to me it's acceptable to list not-yet-published papers in a job app: e.g. "Paper Title" submitted to "Journal of Slow Processes" (but be honest about the status, obviously). Are you shying away from doing this for some reason?
    – Lou Knee
    Mar 25, 2023 at 12:19
  • @LouKnee yes, because it is not publication history, but a submission history. Every dimwit can submit whatever they want to Nature. Therefore submission isn't stellar or even impressive. It is publications that matter. Or am I wrong?
    – user46147
    Mar 25, 2023 at 12:46
  • 1
    If it's too rubbish the paper will be rejected ASAP and so no longer "submitted to". To me one or two papers in process is a normal part of the rubbish short-term postdoc "career" status and not being able to show such activity is itself a warning flag, hence your question here. (and see last line of @Buffy's answer)
    – Lou Knee
    Mar 25, 2023 at 13:04

2 Answers 2


There is little advantage in waiting. List what you have done in a CV and write a good Statement of Purpose. Get people you have worked with to write letters attesting to your skills.

If an early start shows little promise, you can, and should, update everything for a continued search.

The alternative of taking a break would only be useful if you can put it to good purpose, either personally or professionally.

People understand that publishing takes time.


Why don't you put your papers up on a pre-print server if that exists for your field? Then there is actual proof of the body of work, plus prospective employers can read and judge the contents for themselves.

This does require that your current supervisors/employers support this, of course, so see if they do and if they currently do not see if you can convince them with references like this, which argue and support that preprinting is beneficial for early career researchers:

https://ecrlife.org/preprinting-why-and-how/ https://journals.biologists.com/bio/article/11/7/bio059310/276073/A-guide-to-preprinting-for-early-career

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