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One of the answers here says that some researchers in humanities publish their thesis as a book. Could the same be done for example in physics, chemistry or math degree? By book I mean the whole thesis, not just a handbook with selected material.

And if it is possible - could the thesis on which you would defend your degree be written in a book format, i.e. be ready to go to the print shop immediately? Or do supervisors and reviewers expect the paper to be just a "big article" and having complete book in front of them would confuse them?
I also suppose that the book should not be printed(at least in many copies) prior achieving a degree, correct me if I am wrong.

  • I think that publishing thesis as a book without one's guide's permission and the one obtained from one's department is a crime – user48845 Feb 7 '16 at 13:52
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In mathematics this is also possible. I myself published my PhD thesis as a book in a Springer series, and I know of people who published their thesis in the Memoirs of the AMS series. Note that all these still require a refereeing process, so typically the published version will be (slightly) different from your final PhD thesis.

This publication is separate from the Dutch tradition of creating proper printing-press copies of your thesis for distributtion to the reading committee, colleagues, friends, family, which could already considered to be a book (one typically obtains an ISBN). In my case that meant that I had to make only few changes to the layout of my thesis to submit it to Springer; basically adapt to their style.

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Definitely don't print it before achieving your degree, in case you have to make major corrections (in which case the book would be a wasted expense).

In the UK, at least, it's usual for the final copy of a PhD thesis to be bound as a book - so in some respects, what you say about "ready to go to the print shop immediately" is already surpassed. However, that is not to say that the internal format of the work is that which would be expected for a normal book, and I imagine that this --- as well as perhaps writing to be accessible to a slightly wider audience --- is what is normally involved with somebody publishing their humanities thesis in book form.

The question that you perhaps need to ask yourself (or better explain to us) is: Why do you want to do this?

  • The reason why to do this for me is to make thesis more accessible. Making it available online achieves way more in that respect, but having a book also contributes a little. Also, it makes some sense to me since if you already have your thesis written - converting it to book format seems logical step towards making it bigger thing in terms contributing to knowledge. After all when students want to get some information they usually looking/googling for a book(!), not an article. Of course it depends on the topic, but I can think of plenty topics that in some way "asking to be a complete book". – ScienceSamovar Nov 4 '15 at 11:39
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    Nobody reads thesis anymore, nobody reads a whole book. In CS, at least, your contribution should be spread in some specific papers published in conferences, journals, etc. People read those. It doesn't really count for CV (looks fake) and converting to book format is time consuming, in most cases. It doesn't make financial sense either, books doesn't sell that much... – Fábio Dias Nov 4 '15 at 13:57
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I know of several people who have done this in physics. In each case, the book was an exact copy of their thesis (right down to acknowledgements and appendices). If I remember correctly, there are some publishers which will publish any thesis, you just have to pay for the first n copies (where n is an integer I don't remember).

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At least in some German universities, it is required for the thesis (after all the amendments) to be published as a book. This applies to all disciplines, not just humanities. So it is certainly possible but definitely wait until the final version is accepted.

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