As a graduate student, one of our goals is to produce research that will be useful to the world, that will be known and used by other people. This usefulness can come in many forms; for example, our work can serve to inspire future research, which will take the topic one step further, or it can be used by people in the industry as part of their work. But for any of this to happen, the methods, results, and takeaways of our research need to be communicated to the world. Of course, most research programs require the student to write a thesis or dissertation, but the reality is that very few people will read it besides the evaluation committee. A thesis or dissertation might eventually be also read by other graduate students that are working on the same topic and want to know the existing literature in details. But other than that, most people would prefer to read a summarized version of the research instead of the whole thesis or dissertation.
Therefore, graduate researchers should also try to publish their results in other formats, so they become more accessible to the general public. Some graduate programs even include publication requirements as part of the students’ obligations, particularly when there is public funding involved. But even when it is not a requirement, publishing one’s research results is not only one of the best ways to ensure that it can be found and used by other people, but it is also a rich experience for the researcher. This especially relates to the involved writing, the publication, and the resulting networking with other people reading and mentioning your work.
There are many different ways, formats, and venues that can be used to publish original research. In general, we can split them into academic publications – whose primary audience is mainly formed by other researchers – and non-academic – which are more directed to the industry and the general public.