Within the Australian university system, generally, there are no strict rules regarding the number of published papers graduate students ought to have. However, a strong publication record is an integral component of securing future academic positions, so the general rule of thumb is more papers, the better your chances of future employment. Often, government funding bodies and chief investigators of research labs will favour candidates with more first authored papers than co-authored ones, as first authored papers show more independence, better time management, and better research potential.
The number of paper you publish also depends largely on the type and level of supervision and/or mentorship you receive during your graduate studies. Effective advisors and mentors will encourage publication throughout your candidature by using their contacts and expertise, such as fostering collaborative effort among their own colleagues or encouraging conference attendance and workshops to help you build your own networks. These will provide platforms to generate further research ideas and papers, thereby increasing your chance of publishing throughout your graduate candidature.
Practical example for Life Sciences
The number of papers graduates publish will depend on the research field. Within ecology, collecting enough useful data can take at least 2–3 years. As a graduate, this can significantly influence the number of papers generated during your candidature. Writing early and writing often is an effective strategy to increase the number of papers you will have written or published by the time you graduate.
In medical science and human health, clinical data can be difficult to obtain due to many confounding factors, such as patient age, medical history, and type of treatment. Therefore, experimental challenges, such as insufficient data collection and low sample size, can affect results and thus the rate of publication and overall research output.