confused due to advisor behaviour


I am in my 4th year Phd. My relationship with my advisor has not been great from the beginning. He allotted a co-advisor to me and initially my relationship with my co-advisor was great. But my advisor asked the co-advisor not to help me and my work suffered due to this. I had completed work for 2 papers and my advisor delayed the review so much that I couldn't publish it anywhere. My co-advisor then made me start working with another part-time masters student. I was given the task of completing the work for a journal in a month with the help of the other guy. The other guy couldn't contribute much since he was part-time. When I was polishing the paper, my co-advisor tried to call the other guy who didn't bother to pick his calls at all. He finally decided that if the paper has to be submitted, it had to be through me only. I was up all night before the submission and managed to submit the paper. But still in the meeting after the submission, both of them praised that guy a lot for managing to work for a journal within a month and did not give me any credit. I felt bad but decided to focus on my work. The paper got rejected. By this time, the other guy had realized that I was a hard worker and started giving all kinds of excuses for not finishing the experiments. I used to finish all the experiments and present it every week. I tried to be professional and helpful to him. But, he started being rude to me and putting me down. I then requested my advisors to be allowed to work alone since the other guy wasn't contributing anyway and he actively started taking credit for my work. My conference paper got accepted and I also got a travel award for it. My advisors again changed behavior and stopped helping me. I was working on a new conference paper and they deliberately didn't review it. Moreover, they asked me to send the code of my accepted conference paper to a masters student in my lab to replicate the results. He was able to replicate it perfectly. The other guy had initially taken all the credit for the experiments. When it came to giving credit, they were more than happy to give it to that guy. But when it came to trying to blame, they only targeted me. I can ignore the treatment but they are going on placing obstacles to my work in some way or another. No matter what I do or how much I work, they don't want to consider my work. They also reduced my stipend by half. This is affecting my peace of mind and mental health. I find myself unable to focus on my work. Do you think I can opt for a masters and get out and find a better job/phd advisor? My university requires 2 journals and 4 conferences for a phd. The way in which they are treating me now, I am really not sure about how much time it would take. I am 38 years old and have family dependent on me financially. Financially, I cannot afford to drag my phd infinitely. If there is something that can be done to rectify my current situation, I would like to try it as well.


Hi, chinnu,

Clearly there is favourism at work, and sorry you are not the favoured one.

I am sorry to hear of your suffering.

To try and salvage things, I suggest
1) Record every single thing over the last 4 years - emails, verbal communications, event/incidence in to a book. Make it as detail as possible. Save all your research data into your own folder.
2) When you have collected your evidence, go and find your postgrad coordinator who oversees PhD students
3) Do not mention the book
4) Explain to him/her about your situation - publication, stipend, etc
5) Ask him/her to interfere and mediate a plan with timeline to publications and graduation
6) At the same time, go talk to student union if you have one
7) The book is only for last resort when your supervisor retaliates and tries to pin the blame on you being a poor student. So make sure that you detail every damn thing and collect your evidence now quietly. Once they know that you are collecting evidence, they may within 24h cut your emails and access to any uni folder

If you have had enough, would you consider
1) Completing with a MPhil and get out? Get a corporate job and leave the world of academia behind.
2) Get a PhD with a much better supervisor