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My situation is very strange.

I have completed a sociology PhD from a well-regarded university. As I was a part-time candidate and holding a full-time job in the private sector, I guess my supervisor did not impress on me the importance of publishing. In addition, the university has no requirements to publish in order to graduate (though all academics there, including my supervisor, have strong publication records).

I cannot blame my supervisor entirely because I should have known better (but doing it part-time outside the university environment and in a role that puts no importance to academic research are the main reasons for my current situation).

I am now realising that lack of publication is severely restricting my career aspirations. For instance, I want to pursue university teaching (one of the main reasons for me to do my PhD) but I have not had any luck so far because most roles require "a proven / demonstrated record of publication" etc. Another example is that I want to establish a credible standing for myself and a list of publications would certainly help in this regard

I can point to various "research" I have done in my current role but they don't count as research in an academic (peer-reviewed) or formal sense.

As I have graduated now, I am no longer affiliated with any university. To make matters worse, my supervisor is mostly out of country doing research etc., so he is largely uncontactable. I can use my company's name, but it is a small obscure firm in the overall scheme of things. My PhD is in the field that I am currently working in, so I can get some credibility in that sense.

I have thought about open access publishing (in reputable journals) and turning my PhD into a book but unsure about them.

QUESTION: How do I rectify my situation of no publication?

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    I think the only way to rectify a situation of no publication is: publish now. As you can find in other questions here: you do not need any academic affiliation in order to publish. – GEdgar Jan 29 '16 at 2:08
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    Gotta agree with @GEdgar. Well, you do not need to publish now, but the only way to rectify the situation of having no publications is to get publications. In fact publications do not happen instantaneously -- far from it -- so you will probably not be able to publish "now," but the sooner you can publish, the better. So get to work on that right away. – Pete L. Clark Jan 29 '16 at 3:23
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    Publish. Or publish not. There is no rectify. – Arthur Tarasov Jan 29 '16 at 3:33
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    The only thing "strange" about your situation is that you claim to not have known better. I too worked full-time and defended without having any first-author peer-reviewed publications. Since I'm not seeking tenure-track, it isn't particularly a problem... but it had been crystal-clear to me that lack of publications closed the door to the ivory tower. I can be very successful in industry, and I expect that I can teach by going the adjunct route... Anyway, for me the fastest way to peer-reviewed publications would be to reformat and submit my thesis work as a series of journal articles. – Ben Voigt Jan 29 '16 at 4:58
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    To address another of your comments, "turning a PhD (dissertation) into a book", while a worthwhile endeavor, is not going to help with your lack of publications, because that's actually reducing the level of peer-review, as compared to the dissertation itself. – Ben Voigt Jan 29 '16 at 5:08
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Summarising details from the comments, the final verdict would be

Start publishing now!

If you did qualify as a PhD in a reputable university, you should have the ability to publish a peer-reviewed paper. And so it seems that there is no excuse out of this way. As stated by @GEdgar, academic affiliation is not a primary requirement for paper publication. The only way to rectify would be to start framing your manuscripts today.

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    DId you mean reputable instead of reputed? – J W Jan 29 '16 at 12:56
  • @JW Edit confirmed. – Ébe Isaac Jan 29 '16 at 15:33
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I can point to various "research" I have done in my current role but they don't count as research in an academic (peer-reviewed) or formal sense.

Not know what "research" you exactly work on I can't give a 100% assurance. But based on my experience in biomedical science, I can 99% assure you that there is a journal for everything. Try to widen your scope a bit and talk to your colleagues who have been publishing.

Another 1-stone-2-birds method is submitting some abstracts on what you're working to some generalist conferences and specialist conferences. Go present, make some connections, and ask around tips on publication and collaboration. You've graduated now and are a grown up academic, try go make your own things happen instead of dwelling on "when I was a PhD I didn't this and I didn't that," because that is not going to move you to any positive direction and is not healthy for you.

I have thought about open access publishing (in reputable journals) and turning my PhD into a book but unsure about them.

If you have a thesis, instead of going to this pay-to-publish book publishers, consider breaking down your thesis into self-contained chunks and modify them into journal articles. It's a much more efficient use of your past work and considerably more rigorous and better-regarded than a book.

Writing Your Journal Articles in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success by Belcher is a well-paced guide for newbies who have not gotten the publication rhythm. I'd recommend studying it as if you're in a course, and work towards your first publication goal.

As I have graduated now, I am no longer affiliated with any university. To make matters worse, my supervisor is mostly out of country doing research etc., so he is largely uncontactable.

Largely uncontactable or perceived largely uncontactable? Have you tried perhaps e-mail? International phone call? Ask his/her assistant when he/she will be back so that you can make a visit or local phone call? Does your supervisor have any "protege" with whom you can collaborate?

I can use my company's name, but it is a small obscure firm in the overall scheme of things.

So what? Review process is usually blinded and the reviewers will not know your affiliation. If you lament that you're working in a small unknown firm then either:

  1. Go work somewhere else that you can be proud of, or
  2. Make your company known.

In addition, usually you're eligible to claim the previous affiliation if you publish your thesis as articles because you completed those works when you were a student there. Check with your company on this policy and check with your former supervisor.

Knowing what you lack and trying to make up is a tremendous strength. Drop the shame and guilt, what's done is done. As an educator myself I can only feel happy if my students want to publish their work, and I'd be more than happy to help. If your supervisor is a typical educator who happens to be well published, he/she will appreciate your inertia. It's very important to make the decision as soon as possible, To write and take the dive, or not to write? Once decided then go for it, never doubt this decision again, and keep your passion going.

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A PhD thesis is also a publication, and it should have been peer reviewed as well. It might be published by the university's library, or a third party, but if I want to read your thesis, I can. That means that it is public.

About publishing old papers and affiliations: Your affiliation should be the one that provided you with resources to carry out the research. Also mentioned here. You can also provide the new one by adding some footnote with "Current address:".

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    Most theses are not peer reviewed, but are reviewed only by the person's thesis committee. These people would normally be barred from peer review due to their conflict of interest. – jakebeal Jan 29 '16 at 12:05
  • This has come up on this site before: a PhD thesis is in many ways similar to a publication, but it is certainly not a publication. In particular it need not be public, at least not for N years after graduation. Please look up dissertation embargo to see how this works. – Pete L. Clark Jan 29 '16 at 13:25
  • Well, you are both right. Ideally, the reviewing committee should be independent. I believe this might not always the case, but in theory... @PeteL.Clark: you are right too with the embargo, but most of the theses should get accesible at some point... Doesn't that make them "public"? – Julen Larrucea Jan 29 '16 at 13:52
  • No matter how similar a thesis is to a publication, you need something under "publications" on your CV and your thesis doesn't count. That is the crux of the problem. – user24098 Jan 29 '16 at 15:17
  • @Julen: "Doesn't that make them 'public'?" No, it means they are supposed to be made public later. There are many theses that if I want to read, I can't, and I can't read them precisely because the author has decided not to make them public. Conflating the present with the probable future is a strange thing to do. – Pete L. Clark Jan 29 '16 at 16:16

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