Is it publish or perish for PhD students?

Nature Human Behaviour and the Behavioural and Social Sciences Community invite researchers across all career stages and disciplines to share their thoughts on publishing while training for a PhD. A broad selection of submissions will be published as World Views in Nature Human Behaviour or will be posted on the Behavioural and Social Sciences community page. Send us a short presubmission enquiry now! [29/5/2019: The deadline has now passed and we are no longer accepting submissons]

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Requirements to receive a PhD vary across different scientific disciplines, different countries, and different institutions within each country. Formal requirements aside, PhD students in several disciplines are under increasing pressure to publish in order to secure a position in academia after graduation, be it a postdoc, a fellowship, or a faculty position.

But is it really publish or perish for PhD students? And should it be?

We are interested in learning about the experiences, practices, and views of both PhD students/early career researchers and senior scientists who train junior researchers or make hiring decisions.

If you are a PhD student, do you feel there is an expectation of you or pressure to publish to secure your next job or grant funding? If yes, how much are you expected to publish and how does this affect you or your work? Do you think the framework of scientific career advancement you're in is ideal? Would you prefer other alternatives and what would these look like?

If you are a post-doctoral researcher or opted for a career outside academia after your PhD, what has your experience been? What changes would you like to see?

If you are in a junior or senior faculty position, have things changed since you completed your PhD? If you make hiring decisions, how important is a publication record to you as compared to other qualifications and skills? Is it something you want to see in post-doctoral applicants and something you ensure your trainees achieve?

If you are a meta-scientist, is there any empirical evidence to show that publishing requirements and expectations of PhD students have changed over time? Do we need to monitor changes and trends more closely?

Regardless of your role, what would the ideal candidate evaluation system look like for early career researchers?

If you want to contribute to the conversation, please send us ( a brief presubmission enquiry explaining in 2-3 sentences what the thesis of your contribution would be. Please also tell us your discipline, your current position, and the country you are based in. We welcome enquiries until May 20 2019.[29/5/2019: The deadline has now passed and we are no longer accepting submissons]

A broad selection of enquiries, reflecting a range of opinions across different career stages, disciplines and countries, will be invited for submission as World Views in Nature Human Behaviour or as blog posts on the Behavioural and Social Science community page. World Views are short opinion pieces (800-900 words) that offer a personal take on issues of broad interest and significance for the academic community or society more broadly. They are written in an informal, semi-journalistic style and aim to reach a broad audience, including the general public. Blog posts are ideally 500-800 words in length, but there are no set length restrictions. Blog posts should be written in a personal, informal style, and anecdotes and images are encouraged. Reposts from personal blogs are welcome, as we aim to cover as many ideas and points of view as possible. Language will not be a determining factor in the selection process.

Questions? Please contact Marike Schiffer (

Image: Sorbetto / DigitalVision Vectors /Getty

Marike Schiffer

Associate Editor, Springer Nature

Expertise: Cognitive Psychology, Neuroscience, Registered Reports. Bio: Before I saw the light and left Academia to become an Editor at Nature Human Behaviour I oscillated between neuroscience and psychology, with a BSc degree in Psychology (major in Cognitive Neuroscience) and an MSc in Neuropsychology, as well as a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience and 4 yrs as a post-doc in Experimental Psychology plus a short stint as a Lecturer in Psychology. At Nature Human Behaviour I handle submissions in Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience.


Go to the profile of Victoria Shitu
almost 2 years ago

We can team up for this to re-innovate PhD programme globally

Go to the profile of Victoria Shitu
almost 2 years ago

Extend the decline so we can push more for advertising it in Africa

Go to the profile of Marike Schiffer
almost 2 years ago

We have extended the deadline to Friday, May 24. We only require presubmission enquiries of a few sentences at this stage, no comprehensive manuscripts. The important thing is that the writer's opinion becomes clear. Thanks for helping spreading the word further!

Go to the profile of Surjeet Singh
almost 2 years ago

Thanks for extending the deadline.