Overview of Jamie_Wizard

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Desperate: Major corrections and visa expires soon

Yes, excellent point Rewt --- the doctoral examination needs ratifying once you have been passed by the examiners, and they don't meet very frequently. As Rewt also pointed out, it's only the 2-week point. Best to try and relax during this time as it is not in your control --- why not take a mini-break within the country perhaps?

Desperate: Major corrections and visa expires soon

Hi there,

I can appreciate and totally understand your frustration. The key thing here is that the weight of the external examiner is greater than that of the internal, i.e. the external giving the go-ahead on the pass and issuing the doctorate is critical as that's what the university has to rely on. I would be very careful not to annoy the external and try to be patient (though I appreciate that is tough given your urgency). One may not know their workload, especially so close to the start of the academic year. By all means, you could send another gentle reminder, but don't be too hasty. You've come this far. Hopefully, all will be fine. All the best.

Switching subjects after postdoc?

You already have a Doctorate in PHILOSOPHY, or the study of knowledge. Given your scientific background, I would just go for it. in terms of submitting abstracts to conferences and publishing. If your work is good enough it will get in. Nobody can police your work and request to see your Ph.D certificate to assert you were awarded it in a particular department (in any case it'll say Doctor of Philosophy ;-) .But obviously, your work has to be relevant to make this transition. All the best.

"That other or third (or fourth) reviewer"

hmm, I think an open review process would generally be much better, but then you'd still get reviewers with their own agenda writing wrong reviews but wording them plausibly so as to pursue their own agenda thereby blocking publication. My main peeve is that it just takes one negative review to throw the spanner in the works, even if that reviewer's comments are not fair or accurate, as long as they sound plausible the editor will just reject it. Editors don't always have expertise in that field and rarely stick their necks out to ignore such reviewers remarks. This is just one way in which the system can be blatantly abused.

"That other or third (or fourth) reviewer"

Hi rewt,

Thanks for your support and insight. I guess it's just one of those unpleasant, but unavoidable givens of academia to which one just has to persevere "tirelessly" through. I really do hope the peer-review system is overhauled and a new paradigm emerges.

"That other or third (or fourth) reviewer"

I meant to add, that in the case of Journal 2, the reviewers request for it to be more instructional is basically requesting a totally different article/paper type, i.e. not a review. Such a paper would focus on only one of the techniques/technologies discussed and was not the aim of the work (my other educational article covers that), whereas this was clearly a review. It is really frustrating to encounter common-sense issues like this.

stolen phd project

That's really awful, sorry to hear that. At least the supervisors have acknowledged this and promised to add you as a co-author. I'd keep an eye on this to make sure you are given credit. For instance, if any publication goes out without your name you should contact the conference/journal editors and explain the situation. Wish you all the best

"That other or third (or fourth) reviewer"

My question is, alluded to in the title, what to do about that "other" negative reviewer!? The one who throws a spanner in the works with no real justification!? I concede it would be a different situation if they had actually found a glaring hole (I've seen it happen to a good researcher early on in their career) - in this case I'd just have to rectify the issue and carry on.

This paper has had reasonably good interest --- nearly 1,000 reads on Researchgate in the last few months since posting the pre-print.

The peer-review process in this case has really made things difficult. I have no funding for this review and put the work in as I felt it would be useful for the COVID research effort and the areas I work in - I've consulted in this area and the output of my Ph.D. are a number of papers in this field. Not having funding means that my institution will only pay the article processing charge if the journal is fully open access. Many of the journals in my area/specialism are not, only a few are.

Also, compounding this is most journals don't accept un-solicited reviews. I've researched and written the review on my own accord, and it has not been solicited by a journal --- they usually mostly solicit such reviews from their own editors), it further constrains my options for publishing.

The other educational article has been accepted in an esteemed journal in one of my fields without much issue - 3 reviewers, all positive, one suggesting a few paragraphs and the others minor amendments.

The thing is, as a post-doc, I've not had much experience in selecting/suggesting peer reviewers, nor of the art of handling the reviewers. In my previous papers, I had some amendments, which were often quite straightforward. The largest of which was to add another statistical test - I used Pearson's correlation and a prof. reviewer also wanted to see what the results would look like using Spearman's rank!

So the question, how to handle the situation when one receives largely positive feedback and then a negative reviewer causes the editor to reject the paper!?

"That other or third (or fourth) reviewer"

Hi all,

I have recently written two papers (on my own without any help in the nuances of peer-review from a seasoned supervisor), well one was more of an educational article.

The larger paper (not the educational article), which was a review on different techniques/technologies used to study COVID, was submitted to a good journal with a good impact factor (but not outrageously high). It is a journal that I've published a paper (during Ph.D.) in before and also act as a reviewer for.


The paper came back from review with four reviewers.

The first reviewer was very positive about the paper and suggested a two things to add, which improved the manuscript. They questioned a single reference (out of nearly 100 - it was a long, but not excessive review) that was outdated, which was well posted and again which I rectified.

The second reviewer was extremely positive about the paper but started asking me to comment on random things not related to the paper for their own work.

The third reviewer just said the review was "merely a list. and not for publication on this journal", including the poor grammar!

The fourth reviewer was mostly positive but wanted something else covered, which at the time of submission there wasn't any quality work published on the area. I then found an excellent paper that was subsequently published (after I'd submitted for review) and so included it.

As I was making the amendments, and feeling appreciative of the suggestions, the editor rejected the paper!

I picked mainly reviewers from my reference list who are experts at world-renowned centres. I believe from the expertise shown in the feedback that these were reviewers 1, and 4 (and 2). Reviewer 2 I believe to be someone from an institution in which I last worked but I had not worked with personally (which I picked) thinking she is conscientious about her work, but in fact didn't help my review by asking non-relevant questions.

Reviewer 3 was just plain rude and didn't really offer much except negativity (and perhaps a desire to block my paper from being published).


After having made the amendments (from the helpful reviewers), I submitted the paper to a very high impact (but not Nature) journal, again where I had also published another paper during my Ph.D. It came back from the two reviewers:

The first reviewer was very positive about the review, its relevance and usefulness, but was of the opinion that it should be more of an instructive article like a tutorial. Their decision was to publish.

The second reviewer (who I later found was a Ph.D. student, with quite a few papers) was very negative saying that the information in the review was available from searching the internet! and that it should be a detailed guide on how to perform the techniques. Their decision was to reject outright.

Corrections after PhD viva without scholarship or job

You're almost there. You've essentially passed, subject to the extra work on the corrections. Keep that in the back of your mind and just focus on getting the corrections completed. Wish you all the best.

Post-PhD: I feel like a complete failure

My PhD dealt with biology-related topics.

A STEM degree, not to mention a doctorate, provides you with many useful skills and knowledge.

I have no computer skills either. Do you think any lab would hire a PhD graduate with such mediocre skills? Definitely not.

This sounds like all or nothing thinking. You do actually have some computer skills as you managed to post this message under your user account. If you want to develop more skills, such as programming and data-analysis skills, you alluded to the way forwards yourself:

Perhaps I should enrol on a bioinformatics or advanced laboratory skills course, the problem is that I have no money, and I can't apply to any state subsidies.

I wonder what it must have been like doing a Ph.D. (or even BS.c./MS.c) in early 90s before the internet. Or what about in the early 80s when word-processors when not so readily accessible.

Nowadays, so many people want to present themselves as teachers, you can find lots of FREE resources and tutorials on a variety of technical and advanced "computer skills" such as programming and bioinformatics. You don't even need to leave the comfort of your home!

You could learn Python and then some data-analysis skills. You are spoilt for choice on free resources for this.

Good luck!

Has anyone disproved their own thesis?

I've not personally heard of anyone disproving their own Ph.D. thesis. However, John Forbes Nash Jr -- the creator of the Nash equilibrium -- later recounted how he later believed his theory, whilst applicable to a variety of areas, such as nuclear strategy, actually performed very poorly when applied to social behaviour and humans in general. He put this down to his theory's over-reliance on the assumptions that humans predominantly act rationally.


Corrsponding Author Question

Well done on getting your paper published. I think it's perfectly OK to include your paper in your thesis as it's your contribution. Also, check whether the paper specifies the contribution of each author by their initials, as that is common with some journals, such as "DC conceived the study, RT performed the analysis etc.". As long as your first author/joint first author, it's alright for your Ph.D. supervisor to be the corresponding author.

Formatting thesis including published articles

Yes. Use Latex!

Paper request

Quote From bob86:
Try Z-Library:


Very rarely lets me down. Good for articles too.

Thanks so much for posting this. I was also looking for "Open Societies and it's enemies by Karl Popper (single volume edition)", which I found. I just have to find time to read it at over 800 pages.