City University of Hong Kong (HONG KONG)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN09 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Page: 4930
ISBN: 978-84-612-9801-3
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2009
Location: Barcelona ,Spain
Professoriate-track PhD students in many Asian contexts are facing increasing pressure to publish internationally during their doctorates in order to secure academic employment upon graduation. This has come as a result of globalization that is significantly impacting many Asian academes. In pushing for scholarship that can meet the international standard, thus making their institutions competitive in the global arena, university councils have introduced rigorous measures in gauging research activities of publically funded universities. Scholarly output is increasingly benchmarked externally and not uncommonly against research universities in the U.S. and the U.K. In performance appraisals and recruitment exercises, candidates need to show proven records of publication in internationally reputed journals mostly based in the Anglo-American academic centre (Canagarajah, 1996).

Yet, publishing during the doctoral years is never an easy task partly because it is the time when the neophyte is intensely engaged in the already daunting tasks of researching and thesis-writing. However, what make publishing all the more challenging for doctoral students in the non-Anglo-American contexts, and academics therein alike, are perhaps its linguistic demands and the need to make work conducted in the local settings relevant to the international academic community (see e.g., Curry and Lillis, 2004; Flowerdew, 1999; Flowerdew, 2001; Flowerdew and Li, 2007; Okamura, 2006).

Given the challenges involved in the high-stakes task, this paper contends that professoriate-track students in the aforementioned contexts need be provided coaching in international publishing (CIP). However, to what extent is CIP provided in these contexts? Also, if it is provided, how far can it prepare the future faculty for the various demands of publishing during the doctorate and in the early phase of their professoriate career? The questions remain largely under-addressed in the literature. The study reported in this paper is a response to this lacuna by examining the CIP provided by PhD supervisors in the universities in Hong Kong.

Drawing on a vast body of empirical literature on publishing, the study posits publishing as a highly complex communication task situated within research projects that are implicated by constraints from various sources, e.g., academic disciplines, journals, and institutions. Success in publishing, especially that carried out during the doctorate, thus requires competence of the following types:

• communicating research work
• strategic research conception in preparation for publishing in specific disciplines and journals
• strategic management of periodically assessed research projects for timely publication
• strategic alignment of thesis writing and writing for publishing

The third research question that this study thus seeks to answer is which of the above types of competence are targeted at in existing CIP.

Data were drawn from interviews with students (n=30) and supervisors (n=15), as well as a web-survey conducted on doctoral students (n=152). Findings reveal varied degrees of CIP across supervisors, and, in particular, across those in social sciences and humanities. Comments from the supervisors suggest a range of reasons for the phenomenon. Where it exists, CIP tends towards developing communication skills and journal selection. Pedagogical implications will also be presented.