Q: Can I publish one chapter from my master's thesis as a journal article after publishing the thesis as a book?

Detailed Question -

I had published my master thesis as a book. Now, I want to publish a thesis chapter as a journal article. This is because it is unique work – I found three unique microorganisms. Can I publish it or not?

1 Answer to this question

This should be fine to do. But you need to keep the following points in mind.

  • You should cite the thesis chapter, especially if the published book is available online.
  • For the same reason, you need to ensure the article title is different from the thesis chapter. This is to avoid issues of self-plagiarism and confusion among readers (on coming across two online documents with the same title).
  • You may also seek to vary the words/content of the article from that in the thesis chapter. This should be especially easier to do for sections such as the Introduction, Results (as you are talking about three new microorganisms), and Discussion.
  • For pointers on how to convert theses or thesis chapters to journal articles, you may refer to the following resources:
  • You can also check this with the editor(s) of your target journal(s) through a presubmission inquiry. Some journals are fine publishing articles extracted from a thesis, while some are not.

An alternative would be to write this as an entirely new article. This is because you mentioned that you found three unique microorganisms. Now, we don’t know how extraordinary a feat this is in your field, but if it is, it may perhaps warrant an absolutely fresh paper. That way, you could only reference some bits from your thesis chapter. This may also be the way to go if you were working on this with other researches. So, this could be a coauthored paper providing different perspectives compared with that in the original single-authored thesis.

You will need to think through these points and decide accordingly. All the best for whichever way you decide to go!

For more insights into converting theses into journal articles, you may refer to the following queries by other researchers: