Raising the Bar? Why PhD Students and Postdocs Publish and Perish, and How They Could Publish and Flourish Instead (Part 1)

Publish or perish remains a popular maxim in higher education circles. Although it may ring of neoliberal institutional straight-jacketing or self-imposed bio-governance – and there is resistance against it by a number of academic groups – the experience for many scholars is that the mantra still holds true. It seems as though one must publish often in high-impact journals or expect to be relegated to a second-class citizen of the academy. The challenge is to face this situation without succumbing to the pressure. My task then in this short two-part blog post is to offer some tips from my personal experience as an early-career academic and recent graduate of the Faculty of Education in Cambridge on how to publish often and publish well.

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LEGO and Philosophy

I recently had a chance to write about LEGO in the just released LEGO and Philosophy book. It’s the latest addition to the always interesting Blackwell Philosophy and Popular Culture series. The LEGO and Philosophy book covers a number of thought-provoking topics – from LEGO and philosophical values, and questions of gender and race in LEGO mini figures, to Heidegger and ontology, and Lego and metaphysics

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My PhD Journey in 8 Pictures

I am Lina and I like pictures. If asked to introduce myself to a group of academics, I would say: “I am Lina and for my PhD thesis I explored how children engage with wordless picture books.” Given my love for visual stories and my PhD topic, I hereby succumb to a temptation I always had in mind: to summarise my entire PhD life in 8 pictures. A complete thesis for the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge is equivalent to approximately 80000 words. Based on the famous saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”, for the sake of this blog post, let’s equip images with even more power and try to visualise a four-year PhD experience.

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The Perks of Peer Review

Producing well-argued, coherent and scientifically sound papers can be challenging. That is not only true for early career researchers, including PhD students, but also for more established academics. Accordingly, we all depend on the feedback and advice of peers to ensure the quality of our work. Peer reviewers can offer authors a fresh view of their manuscript, raise critical questions about aspects that may need more clarity, or point out arguments that cannot be justified based on the nature or scope of the study.

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Formidable Challenges and Supportive Communities: The EdD Experience

After completing my MEd (Master of Education) in my Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) year, I swiftly began to miss being actively engaged in educational research. I had already begun to ponder about undertaking a professional doctorate in Education (EdD) when I attended the first annual EdD conference at Cambridge in June 2015. I had been completely inspired by the energy and passion of the educational professionals that presented and attended the conference. Following this, I was able to gain some further insight from EdD students that were balancing their studies alongside teaching successfully.

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Going Alt-Ac After a PhD in Education

I spent most of my PhD worrying about what I was going to do once I finished it. I had an idea of what I wanted to do but I just could not find the place to do it. My research focuses on the intersection of human rights and education and I wanted to keep on working on both aspects of it. This was a nightmare in terms of job hunting. Human Rights Education is quite a new field so there were not many positions available – only one since 2014, to be precise – and positions in education faculties had little or no connections with human rights at all.

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Seeing Sacredness: Dissemination and Ceremony

I have recently returned from my doctoral fieldwork in Northern Canada. My research includes six Anishinaabe secondary school students who attend an Anishinaabe-controlled school. The students attending this school live in four different self-governing Anishinaabe communities contending with the ongoing consequences of colonization, including; displacement from tribal land, rural isolation, food scarcity, dependency on natural resources, and wide-spread environmental pollution.

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