Co-authored M.Sc. Theses: A CEU Success Story

A CEU professor has helped twelve of his students publish their M.Sc. theses in respected journals or as book chapters. Brandon Anthony, Associate Professor in CEU’s Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy is a firm believer in assisting his students to the next rung in their careers – and in a world where publishing is an academic imperative for Early Career Researchers (ECRs).

Anthony thinks that it is worth the additional work required to move a thesis to peer-reviewed publication: the research will reach a broader audience; the students learn new skills and–key here–gain a distinct advantage when applying for jobs or a PhD.

Following graduation, Anthony gives his former students a “breather” then reaches out to those he considers capable in the fall semester, suggesting that they should consider a co-publication, resulting in a co-authored article in a scientific journal.

In 2019 The effects of recreational cannabis legalization on forest management and conservation efforts in U.S. national forests in the Pacific Northwest co-authored by Mark Klassen and Brandon Anthony was published by Ecological Economics. Klassen graduated from CEU’s Master of Science in Environmental Sciences and Policy (MESP) program in 2018.

Anthony plants the idea with students when they are in early thesis planning. In order to get a thesis published, more thought needs to go into the initial research design – for example, using a larger sample size. However, the priority is getting an excellent thesis submitted on time. The work towards publishing comes only after that.

Master’s students are keenly aware of the opportunity that Anthony presents - it is extremely rare for even doctoral students in the social sciences to see their work in print- and realize that it is a great opportunity to reach a broader audience and to enhance their employability and their resumé. “Some of them recognize the value of their own research, which is often very practical and hands-on. They know that it would be useful for practitioners in the field to be able to access their work” he says. It also gives students a sense of accomplishment to see their work published, cited and used by professionals. “There is a sense that their research has real value beyond CEU.”

In many ways, a Master’s thesis differs greatly to a journal article, so that a great deal of work goes into re-shaping the text before submitting it for publication. It requires more rigorous research and analysis than a thesis – at the same time, needing to be much more succinct and concise. “This is a great opportunity for students to get rid of superfluous material” Professor Anthony says. “They need to condense the literature review, the methodology, the research and the results into six-to-ten pages. The students are learning a new skill here.”

At this point Anthony steps in to include more recent literature, help condense the material and re-examine the quantitative analyses and statistics. He also helps with revisions when the journal sends the manuscript back for further work. And of course, he is on hand to advise on which journals to approach.

Co-authoring articles with students has been a positive experience for Anthony. And a sense of accomplishment too: all the articles he has prepared with his students have been published.

Patience, major revisions and even rejection are a part of the process. “More often than not, the manuscript will come back rejected for the first time” he says. “When I have a paper that has not been published yet, I often joke that its, at the moment, ‘under rejection’.”

Here is a list of theses supervised by Professor Anthony