Academic publications

Although researchers and scholars are generally familiar with the academic publishing world, this page presents tools and resources to meet the ongoing needs related to publication goals. It offers advice on how to finance your publication, find a publisher, prepare a proposal, and turn a dissertation into a book. Links to various websites dealing with major issues of academic publishing are also provided in the last section.



Financing your open-access publication

The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) provides grants to finance scientific publications – articles, books or book chapters – that are made available immediately, without restriction and free of charge (Gold Open Access). Only articles published in fully Open Access journals are eligible for funding, not articles published in “hybrid journals” (journals with paywalled and Open Access articles). Read more here.

The Graduate Institute’s Library has produced an Open Access libguide summarising the main things to know about open access, whether you are reading or publishing. It has also drawn up a very clear diagramme of the ways to make your article open access – even when you weren’t planning for it. 

Read & publish agreements

The Graduate Institute's Library participates in seven Read & Publish agreements with major publishers. Article publication fees have been prepaid for Graduate Institute researchers. These agreements generally cover hybrid journals. Read more here or contact directly Catherine Brendow, Open Access librarian.

FINDING the Right Publisher

The first step when you want to publish your thesis is to find a publisher. There are plenty of different types of publishers besides the more common university presses and commercial publishers. Focus on publishers whose books are similar to your future one. Also, check the books produced by publishers in your field; average prices charged even by university presses vary widely, so go for the publisher whose prices are lowest (60 Swiss francs is definitely too high!). And don’t forget that you may send your proposal to as many publishers as you want. This list of publishing houses, classified by regions and disciplines, should help you in your quest.


The Graduate Press – La Gazette de la paix

A platform (independent from the Institute) for student voices covering student life and interests, international politics, academic affairs and opinion pieces, open to submissions in both English and French from the entire student body.

From Dissertation to Book


After having completed your PhD, you may seize the opportunity of a postdoc scholarship to start working on your first book. Although your PhD thesis usually provides the basis for your book, it is not the book, and adapting the thesis for publication will be a rather daunting task. Furthermore, once your proposal has been accepted by a publisher and submitted to external review, you’ll have to go through another round of revisions. This lengthy process from submission of the manuscript for review to publication may last from eighteen to twenty-four months when minimal revisions are necessary, or several years when major revisions are involved and/or a second external review is required.

Here are general guidelines about the revising process, followed by a list of resources.

Revising Process

  • Look closely at the books you have found most persuasive and most engaging and identify what makes them successful.
  • The introduction is the reader’s “way in” to the argument. It must be accessible and clearly state the aim of the book.
  • A clear narrative thread will ensure the coherence and organic unity of the book.
  • Substantial methodology sections should be omitted. You may discuss your methodology in the introduction or opening chapter, or talk about it briefly as you present your results.
  • You may have to condense, or even suppress, very good parts of your dissertation that are too long or too far off topic to be included in your shorter, focused book.
  • Circle points that are of least significance: mark every point with a number with the most significant ones being ranked 1, 2, 3… and then exclude points that are of least significance.
  • Reduce some of your evidence or confine it to notes.
  • Presenting some of your information in a graphical way (tables, diagrammes) may help both to save space and to summarise material more effectively than mere words can. However, first consult your publisher’s guidelines regarding figures and tables.
  • Avoid repetition.

To put it simply, try to write the book you would most want to read about your subject.

Online Resources

Other Resources

  • Germano, William. From Dissertation to Book. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005. (Available at the Graduate Institute’s Library, call number: 371.3 HEIA 65289.)
  • Harman, Eleanor, Ian Montagnes, Siobhan McMenemy, and Chris Bucci, eds. The Thesis and the Book: A Guide for First-time Academic Authors. 2nd ed. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 2003.
  • Jackson, Gerald, and Marie Lenstrup. Getting Published: A Companion for the Humanities and Social Sciences. Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2009.
  • Luey, Beth, ed. Revising your Dissertation: Advice from Leading Editors. Updated Edition. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007. (Ebook available via the Graduate Institute’s Library.)

How to Prepare a Convincing Book Proposal


You will have to prepare a book proposal as soon as you choose to turn your dissertation into a book. From that time onwards, you must think of the book as a separate entity from the thesis.

A good book proposal can be anywhere between four and fifteen pages in length. It includes a “prospectus” containing:

  • The title (most likely to be changed later on)
  • one-page general rationale for the book, in which you will state very clearly the focus and main argument of the book. You may organise it in four paragraphs:
  1. Hook – Invite the reader into your proposal with an interesting anecdote or some surprising data.
  2. State your main argument, and back it up with a few sentences.
  3. State the contribution to scholarship and place in the literature.
  4. Provide a brief roadmap for the book.
  • statement on the expected audience. This will help the publisher to understand which established markets your book will sell to. To this end, make sure your topic fits in with current events and debates and is of interest to a broad readership. Remember that for a book to be viable, even in a relatively high priced hardback edition, a publisher will need to be sure of selling several hundred copies.
  • brief review of the existing literature (particularly any potentially competing titles) and the place of the book within it. Be aware of competing titles because why publish in an area that no one is interested in writing about? 
  • list of well-known reviewers who you think might be appropriate readers for your book.
  • An expanded list of contents including a one-paragraph abstract of each proposed chapter.

Include also a brief CV in your proposal.  

Some publishers will ask you to include in the proposal one or several sample chapters for external review. You may choose to take the chapters you feel will need least revision from your thesis, but it is often more effective to send a revised chapter. For example, the first chapter is ideal, but may be the most difficult to rewrite for publication, in which case try working on a substantive middle chapter instead. Other publishers may even require the full, completed manuscript

Most publishers post their submission guidelines on their websites (see for example those from Harvard). These guidelines usually indicate precisely what materials must be included in the proposal – typically a prospectus, one or two sample chapters, and a two-page CV.

Address your proposal to the correct commissioning editor. Contact details can always be found on the publisher’s website.


  • Do not send the complete thesis, unless the publisher specifically requests it. (The same goes for a manuscript.)
  • Never submit a proposal to more than one publisher at the same time unless you have received the consent of each to a multiple submission.
  • Never conceal from a potential publisher arrangements you have already made for the publication of chapters in journals or in edited volumes.

To sum up, when preparing your proposal, keep carefully in mind the following four criteria:

  • Rigour – is the book a scholarly piece of work?
  • Significance – is the book talking to a wide audience?
  • Originality – are you doing something new?
  • Marketability – is the book commercially viable?

Publications by the Graduate Institute

Browse publications of our faculty, researchers and graduates by academic department, research centre, year and type.

Issues of Academic Publishing


You want to know more about digital and traditional publishing models, you need information on copyright issues, you wonder where to find free illustrations, you need advice on how to write clearly, etc. The links on this page will lead you to helpful resources in these aspects.

Current Global Issues – Blogs and Newsletters

  • Correspondants IST-SHS – un site collaboratif s’adressant à toute personne intéressée par les problématiques de l’information scientifique et technique.
  • Open Electronic Publishing – the blog of the OpenEdition project, developed by OpenEdition Center. This tool distributes information about electronic publishing in the humanities and social sciences and is a spin-off of the French-speaking blog L’Édition électronique ouverte.
  • PhD Life – a blog of the University of Warwick about the trials, tribulations and triumph of pursuing a doctorate. There are also many helpful posts on how to be better skilled at, for instance, using Facebook as a research, managing an academic blog or publishing in journals.
  • The Source – a blog that aims to provide insight and discussion on publishing in the academic world. It includes contributions from the Springer Nature team, as well as personal stories from researchers at all career stages. Posts can be filtered by topics such as publishing, research communication, career advice, research during the COVID-19 pandemic, and more. Readers can sign up to get alerts about the newest posts.
  • The Thesis Whisperer – a  blog newspaper dedicated to helping research students everywhere and edited by Dr Inger Mewburn, Director of Research Training at the Australian National University.

Open Archives

  • HAL – une archive ouverte pluridisciplinaire destinée au dépôt et à la diffusion d'articles scientifiques, publiés ou non, et de thèses.
  • MédiHAL – une archive ouverte de données visuelles et sonores (images fixes, vidéos et sons), produites dans le cadre de la recherche scientifique.
  • TEL (pour «thèses en ligne») – un environnement particulier de HAL. Comme ce dernier, il vise à rendre rapidement et gratuitement disponibles des documents scientifiques, mais en se consacrant aux thèses de doctorat et aux habilitations à diriger des recherches.

Other Web Platforms

  • – a technical platform of peer-reviewing; its purpose is to promote the emergence of “epijournals”, namely open access electronic journals taking their contents from preprints deposited in open archives and not yet published elsewhere.
  • Frontiers – a research publisher and open science platform aiming to “make science open – so that scientists can collaborate better and innovate faster to deliver the solutions that enable healthy lives on a healthy planet”. 
  • ISIDORE – un moteur de recherche qui collecte, enrichit et offre un signalement et un accès unifié aux documents et données numériques des sciences humaines et sociales. Il fait partie des outils développés par Huma-Num, une infrastructure de recherche du Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS).
  • – une plateforme multilangues et configurable destinée à faciliter les différentes étapes de déroulement d’une conférence, depuis la réception des communications jusqu’à l’édition automatique des actes en passant par la relecture et la programmation des thématiques.

Social Networks and Research Communities

  • Academia and ResearchGate – two academic social networks for sharing your publications. Don't forget to check whether your publisher permits this kind of sharing under your copyright agreement! Read also this blog entry of the Graduate Institute's Library for an informed analysis of the drawbacks and benefits of sharing your work on such social media.
  • Amsterdam Law Forum –  a Dutch foundation run entirely by students of the Faculty of Law at the VU University Amsterdam upon supervision of an Advisory Board. The articles in this quarterly, open-access online publication contribute to an interdisciplinary understanding of current international and transnational legal developments. Amsterdam Law Forum also provides an opportunity for its editors to develop their academic and critical writing skills.
  • – the leading international job board for careers in academic, research, science and related professions, launched in January 1998 by the University of Warwick.

Writing and editing

Editorial Assistance

  • Eloquenti – an online marketplace of freelancers and scientific experts providing proofreading and editorial services to academics, launched by academic researchers who found existing proofreading agencies overpriced and lacking in transparency.
  • Laura Bassi Scholarship –  This scholarship established by Editing Press aims to provide editorial assistance to postgraduates and junior academics whose research focuses on neglected topics of study.

Open Access


Royalty-Free Photos


  • How to Identify Flawed Research Before It Becomes Dangerous – Researchers have responded to the challenge of the coronavirus with a commitment to speed and cooperation, featuring the rapid sharing of preliminary findings through “preprints”, scientific manuscripts that have not yet undergone formal peer review. In their opinion article for The New York Times, Michael B. Eisen and Robert Tibshirani call for scientists and journalists to establish a rapid-review service for preprints of broad public interest.
  • The Pressure to Publish Pushes Down Quality – scientists must publish less, or good research will be swamped by the ever-increasing volume of poor work, says Daniel Sarewitz in Nature.

Support and Contact

You need to get in touch with publication-related service providers proofreaders, writing coaches, translators, graphic designers, etc. (in French and in English)? Please contact Marc Galvin at the Research Office.

Last updated on 4 July 2024.