If you’re writing a cumulative dissertation, the standard is to submit your papers up front. Your dissertation essentially becomes a package of papers that you’ve neatly compiled. This is what I’ve done, for instance. I have five papers in my dissertation. I’ve written an introduction, the overall discussion, and some other supplementary chapters, and then I’ve submitted it as a dissertation. This, I would say, is the current state of the art. Most fields, most nations are also working in that direction.
However, sometimes a cumulative dissertation may not be suitable for a specific research question or for some fields where large integrated research topics are involved. It may not be easy to publish individual papers in these cases. Then there is usually the option to submit your dissertation as a monograph. But, since this would put you at a disadvantage if you don’t have journal publications, you can certainly take parts of your thesis and submit them as papers. This is also very common.
If you can’t decide which type of dissertation to pursue, I am, by the way, a strong advocate of the cumulative approach. The simple reason is that, as a researcher, you’re expected to publish. Whether that’s in journal publications or in other outlets, it doesn’t matter. But by being required to do so during your PhD, you’re training essential skills that will be useful for the rest of your academic career.
-By being required to do so during your PhD, you’re training essential skills that will be useful for the rest of your academic career.