There has been considerable debate about the real purpose of a graduate education. Is it just a way of training students to become university Professors? [Job Propsects for Graduate Students]. Is it true that graduate students are just indentured labour as a recent article in Nature implied?
These are interesting questions. One of the issues that often comes up in these debates is the "pressure" to publish. Supervisors will often try to persuade their graduate students to publish papers. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
It's a good thing, in spite of what most people believe. Here's how Ryan Gregory sets up the question ...
At the base of this discussion is the assumption that most advisors actually do encourage/pressure their students to publish -- an assumption with which I will not disagree here. What remains open is the interpretation of why this might occur. There are several possibilities:Read his blog to see why graduate students should publish papers and why this doesn't necessarily mean that the advisor is treating them like slave labor [Why would advisors encourage students to publish?].
[Photo Credit: Graduate students in the Dept. of Biochemistry, University of Toronto.]