The burgeoning trend of pursuing publication in a leading journal, as a benchmark of standard doctoral research, has become an appealing expectation of early-stage doctoral researchers (ESDR). However, recent pedagogical studies showed limited attention to exploring the dynamic relations between doctoral education and the academic publication process. Our aim was to investigate and understand (if and) how this intricately intertwined relation contributes to the scholarly publication practice in doctoral education from an individual and institutional context. We used a duo-analytic autoethnography approach and presented a comprehensive narrative based on the authors’ self-reflections by using a range of data sources namely research diaries, journaling, seminars, training courses, online forum talking, and web-based open sources. Through our autoethnographic narrative, we found five key aspects associated with publication practices in doctoral programs: quality-quantity debate, authorship dilemma, journal selection process, publishing in leading journals, and publication process. We additionally mapped out a conclusive publication cycle to demonstrate how dominant structural factors of the doctoral program subsequently affect the publication process, influence ESDR’s decision-making, and potentially reinforce academic pressures. Based on our study findings, we concluded that doctoral education should remain research intensive rather than a simplified way of obtaining a higher academic qualification.


Doctoral Education, Scholarly Publication, Early Career Researcher, Autoethnography, Journal Impact Factor

Author Bio(s)

Atiqur sm-Rahman is currently pursuing his doctoral degree at Linköping University, Sweden in division ageing and social change. His main research area is ageism and older adults with dementia. He earned his two master’s degrees in Anthropology and in Clinical Social Work from Bangladesh; and obtained post-master degree in Smart Community Design and Management at University of Trento, Italy. He has expertise in qualitative research. Please direct correspondence to atiqur.rahman@liu.se.

Dr. Yasmin Jahan is doing her Ph.D. research at Hiroshima University, Japan. She has completed her medical degree (MBBS) and Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from two reputed universities and has a significant number of publications in clinical research. Her main research interest falls into public health and non-communicable diseases.


We gratefully acknowledge all the peers and colleagues who gave their valuable insights and comments during the preparation of the manuscript. The authors are also thankful to senior post-doctoral researcher’s both in Sweden and Japan for their support and feedback with the conceptualization of the study. The corresponding author is especially thankful to the co-author of her immense advice and contribution to the manuscript. We are thankful to the reviewers for their helpful comments.

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