Any tips on shortening a thesis for journal publication? What do I do with the lengthy literature review?

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@tsoi2lam4 I think that advice here is likely to be very specific to particular fields. But, for the bits of philosophy I know about, at least, I would cut the literature review entirely. It's just assumed that you have read what is relevant, and what is needed can be cited when it comes up.

@twsh @tsoi2lam4 Yeah, best bet would be to see what the practice is in the journal(s) you're targeting. In finance and empirical economics, it's common practice to combine key points from what would be the lit review with the hypotheses and whatever links are needed between the two.

In most of political science, the lit review is important on its own because everyone wants you to cite them.


1. don't listen to my advice I'm bitter and I quit academia, I didn't finish my thesis this would prob end up bad.

2. think of the theoretical actually interested reader. not the gosh darned peer reviewers, not the editors, not the internalised ghost dragon all of whose scales are inscribed with the command "thou shalt look academical". but the people who actually want to read your thesis. what do they need? if you didn't know about this, what would you want in a long text about it? cut off the rest, everybody loves short theses. you have it saved elsewhere if anybody needs it.

(e.g. nobody cares about lit review as proof of knowledge and having done the homework. except for literal lit review articles, that's not what ppl were searching for, they were searching for _you_. the only ppl who care about "oh but you didn't mention that X already wrote 2 paragraphs abt this in 1968" are X stans, and they'll treat you as an invader regardless of what you do. the only lit review I'd care about in a humanities text is an enthusiastic rec list to actually interesting previous texts abt the thing, which can be done with between zero and one very brief note about why that one text is interesting.)

3. address reviewer complaints _after_ they come, not preemptively, and dispassionately. think of it as random hurdles to jump over so they let you publish. often you can get away with flat-out ignoring minor, subjective, aesthetic complaints, or wrong opinions.

(just my opinion here. it's the correct opinion but it's just my opinion)

@tsoi2lam4 I'm no Expert, but would suggest: Think on target Reader. Leave out anything not strictly necessary.
Good luck.

@tsoi2lam4 Cut it, mostly. A thesis is in part a demonstration of how much you know about the field. An article is a new contribution to that field. Hopefully this is a useful metric you can bring to bear of what needs to be dropped.

thesis → journal article 

@tsoi2lam4 what kind of thesis? a PhD thesis is often broken down into one article per chapter (in some fields you publish those first and just add an intro and conclusion to get the PhD thesis). A master's thesis is easier to cut down into one article. If you decide its the kind of PhD thesis that is worth one good focused article, I think its more like writing a new article using the thesis as raw material and notes.

thesis → journal article 

@bookandswordblog @tsoi2lam4 I'd echo the same. I successfully published a heavily-revised chapter of my diss as an article. You might need a little glue in terms of stating your overarching argument at the beginning briefly, but yeah, usually individual chapters are easier to adapt. Often whole dissertations/theses become books on their own, ideally updated. Hope this is helpful!

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