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Submitting a paper without supervisors as co-authours

Thanks for the advice guys. You've made me see my predicament differently. It seem a pretty bad call to leave them off. so I think I will go along with what you say.

I think the reason I felt against it was because i had a pretty rough time during my PhD, and the frustrations and all the bad feelings from the PhD has bled into the time I have been writing up papers. This also coupled with the time it takes for them to give me feedback. I am often waiting several weeks for feedback, even after only making minor amendments. Obviously, I cant just do the work and submit the paper with their names on it, so I would have to actively bring them on-board the project, and I anticipate more frustration in doing so, which I would much rather avoid.

Is there any advice you offer in dealing with these feelings? or is this an inevitable consequence of collaboration?

Thanks again.

Submitting a paper without supervisors as co-authours

Its a science (medical imaging). I think it becomes an issue with studies that use empirical data as the supervisor contributed the funds to support experimental data collection. But in my case all the data I'm using is simulated (and simulated on my own personal computer) so i don't know if the same thing applies to simulated data or the code written to simulate this data.

Tips on PhD Thesis

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Question 1: Thats really hard to answer because supervisors vary greatly and PhD students vary greatly, so how they interact will be difficult to predict. It also depends on the project. General rules, to begin with briefly discuss what they expect from you and what you expect from them. You need to find a balance between expressing your opinion and listening to your supervisors opinion. Despite officially being called your "supervisor' their opinion is not paramount. You need to have confidence in yourself and your opinions (self-confidence can be difficult to maintain during a PhD) However, you also need to recognise their expertise and to take advice from them accordingly. This will vary greatly depending on the project itself. Often supervisors choose PhD projects which expend on their field of expertise, and hence explore ground that is unfamiliar to them. In which case, you should try to look to them as a peer rather than a supervisor.

Question 2: I would suggest write as much as you can as you go along, and start writing early! Writing a thesis takes so much longer than you imagine! Editing stuff that is already down on paper is easier than writing it all in one go, so the sooner you do that the better (i didnt do this, but really wish I had!).
Record all your results, save all figures as these may end up in your thesis, even if they seem rubbish or irrelevant at the time. Respond to feedback from your supervisors. Thesis writing is something they WILL have more expertise than you! Even if there is dispute about the content, how the thesis is layed out and the style of the writing is very different to written stuff at Masters or undergraduate level. A common piece of advice is to plan your thesis from an early stage (I imagine most unis will makes this a required milestone for Phd progression) . While this works for some people, it didnt work for me because the nature of my research changed so often. The thesis I submitted was virtually unrecognisable from the thesis that was originally planned. I found plans i had spent valuable time preparing were made redundant a few weeks later.

Hope this helps

What's beyond PhD?


I can relate to much of what you've said with my own PhD. Despite how youre feeling I certainly wouldn't quit at this point. Even if you are absolutely sure you don't want an academic career. even a 'useless' PhD is better than a gaping big hole in you're employment history. .

I had a very stressful and angst-ridden 3rd year, and I became convinced academia was not for me, but after the PhD I landed a post-doc job which I love and my opinions about academic life completely changed. I'm not saying this will be the case for you, but a PhD opens up many more door s than the absence of a PhD.

You say you want to leave to get real experience, well I think a PhD can offer a great deal of practical experiences. You mentioned joy in programming. The skills you built up in that will be very useful outside academia. As you are unsure about what you want to do, maybe visit your uni's careers advice people and ask if there any organisations you could visit for a day to see what the working environment is like. I spent a couple of day in a local hospital when i was considering a clinical career after my PhD and it was very illuminating.

The bottom line is, even if you feel desperate to quit, you should stick with it. Regardless of what career path you take in the long run, you will be thankful you did it.

Hope this helps

Job application questions

I agree with the previous comments. Most employers know that people are forced to get what they can in terms of jobs. Nowadays, you have to throw yourself at whatever is available. The opportunity to learn new practical skills, regardless of the position, should be grabbed!

Submitting a paper without supervisors as co-authours

HI all. I'm hoping to get some advice on a paper I am planning on writing up.

I finished my PhD several months ago, and have got out a couple of papers from it. This papers were submitted with my PhD supervisors as co-authors, as would be expected. I have since done a bit of extra work on one of them (by myself) and feel I can get another follow up paper out of it. I was thinking about submitting it by myself without my supervisors as co-authors. I want to know your opinions on whether I should do this or not. Its basically an an issue of boundaries of co-authorship, and I'm not quite sure what the boundaries are.

The paper introduces some novel concepts that improves on my PhD work. It uses code and simulation parameters used in my PhD, but no actual data is being used (all the data I am using is newly simulated). The code I wrote for my PhD was virtually all my own work (with a bit of external help). My supervisors had little input to the code. I know its frowned upon to use data from your PhD without inclusion of the supervisory team as co-authors, but this latest project was not supervised by them, only based on work supervised by them.

I do not wish to disrespect their position, or antagonise or alienate them as I there may be a chance I will be working with them in the future. But at the same time, I feel if I do include them I would be selling myself short as their contribution to this new work is really very small. I would like to avoid any ill-feeling if possible, but I also need to think about my own career. Academia is a bit of a dog-eat-dog world!

So would I be justified in submitting with only myself as author? (just for fun, I'll do it as a poll!).

if anyone here faced a similar dilemma or have any comments or advice, they would be greatly appreciated.


PhD regrets ...

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Firstly, I think the answer to the question will depend largely on how far into the PhD you are. I quit one PhD about 3 months into it and was fortunate enough to migrate to a another project in the same department. At that point there is little at stake in comparison to quitting in your 3rd year, which I seriously contemplated. At this point there is much more at stake as it adds a big black hole to your career. The prospect of quitting is very daunting at this stage

By the end of the 2nd year i felt like I hadn't achieved anything, I had no meaningful results despite the huge amount of work I put in. I felt like my relationship with my supervisors had gone downhill. As the 3rd year progressed and I was into my thesis writing, submission seemed to be less and less attainable. There was constantly , more work, more data analysis to do, more figures to generate, more rewrites. I had no pride in any of my work, it all seemed worthless. I felt like i was completely unsuited to a career in academia, This coupled with the fact my social life was completely irradiated, I was seeing very little of my partner, I was constantly stressed and anxious, unable to enjoy the little time I had to myself. I cried more in the final year of PhD than I had in the previous 10 years of my life! I couldn't see any end to it.

i really felt like I couldn't handle it any more and I had to quit, for the sake of my sanity, but nevertheless I stuck with is. I think a fear of joblessness and uncertainty about what I would do, kept me going. Eventually I submitted, I had a really good viva, my examiner was really impressed with my work and I finally realised how much I had achieved. I am now in a Post-doc position which I really enjoyo, in a really good department and a fantastic boss. Most importantly, I now have a much healthier relationship to my work.

So, despite all the tears, stress and anxiety, I don't regret sticking with the PhD. I think the problem is doing a PhD is so immersive for some people that that is all they can see and they cant past all the stress that the Phd puts on them. The result is feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness and despair, and when you are in that world its hard to see recognise that this will get better. But things do get better!

Hope this helps!

will bad data / methodological issues fail my thesis?

Thanks every one for the advice.

another issues i've not mentioned is that this final chapter is based on results form two previous chapters in the thesis. If I remodel the aims to fit the findings, it will ruin the logical flow of the thesis... One thing that was suggested was that i remodel the aims into a very basic broad aim, that will encompass the expected findings and the actual findings. i think i can afford to be less specific.... as the methodology of this chapter is a mixture of established (experimental) methods and new (analytical) methods. Like I said i did find something interesting, and that is consistent with previous research, and and a broad aim will cover this finding, and allow comments on how these results do not match up to the findings from the previous chapter, without sounding so negative. Does this sound logical?

Like i said, i am more than confident in critiquing the methods I've used (although i don't think my supervisor has the same confidence in me!) The issue for me is more, trying to make the results sound as positive as possible with less emphasis of the experiment as having 'failed'.

Thanks again

will bad data / methodological issues fail my thesis?

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Hi, I am looking for some advice.

I am in the final stages of writing my thesis... or so i thought. I have battled this thesis for most of this year and now All chapters are more or less finished, except one! I had comments back for my final data chapter which are not good.

Basically without going to go into the nitty gritty details, the story i have written the chapter in the following vein:

We conducted an experiment and hypothesised a certain result. We did not find the hypothesised result, but we did find something else which is interesting but is not related to the original aims. The reason the original hypothesised results were not found were because of assumptions initially made in designing the experimental paradigm were (with the benefit of hindsight) incorrect. Some suggestions for adapting the paradigm to identify the initially hypothesised effect are suggested.

My supervisor is not happy with this as comes across that the experiment failed (which it did!) and the implication that the experiment was badly designed would look very bad and most likely not pass the viva. Unfortunately as this was the final study in the phd, this issue didn't come to light until quite late. There is no time to do another set of experiments. also I am on on full-time post doc now so time-wise its not feasible for me to do any more work, other than thesis writing / editing and i need to get it submitted pronto. He suggests I remodel my aims so they are a bit more in line with the results (which I don't feel comfortable with). He has also suggested further data analysis which is going to be near impossible: Juggling the post-doc and the thesis revisions is hard enough! I have also analysed this data so many times and I am more than certain that the effect we want r is not there.

I just want to ask for some impartial advice from anyone who has been in this situation (preferably someone who has gone through and survived the viva!) Have people gotten through their viva when the data doesn't match up to their hypotheses, or that the method which they thought was appropriate later turned out not to be inappropriate? I'm sure many other Phd students would have been in a similar situation to this. Surely not every experiment is perfectly designed in the first instance. Surely allowances can be made by the examiners provided the student can identify what went wrong, why it went wrong and explain how to make it right in future experiments... or am I being complacent in thinking this? I just want to know how other people dealt with this problem.

If anyone can give me some, advice, encouragement, warnings or the like, I would be eternity grateful!

Thanks very much!

Thesis revisions - i cant extrospect!

Thanks Sneaks! Might take a long time to get through it but i'll give it a go!

Good or Bad?

Interesting... I was told that the number one priority for choosing the external is they familiarity with the topic. My external is someone who's method my thesis is predominantly based, but my supervisors have never met him! I think different people have different attitudes to the correct way. Like most other things PhD related!

Thesis revisions - i cant extrospect!

THis is my first question on this forum.

I am in the final stages of reviewing my thesis. Unfortunately one of my chapters (the discussion) is causing me a massive headache. The comments say I need to hand-hold the reader through the chapter and for each topic re-itterate what the previous chapters aims and findings.

I have done this to the best of my ability. but I seem to lack the ability to take myself out of the thesis and see it from a novel readers eyes . I think i have had my head buried in it so long, i just cant take myself out of it. I have adding more details to my plan so that it does includes recaps of previous chapters wherever possible, but it doesn't seem like enough

Has anyone else had this type of problem with their discussion, or the thesis in general? If so how did you deal with them?

If has any tips or suggestions to help me extrospect I would be very greatful!


Living alone?

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I have during my PhD lived with another postgraduate, lived with a 'normal' working person, and lived on my own.

By far the final option is the best and I regret not doing it sooner. Lving with another person can be difficult . If it is another postgraduate, it can get a bit intense as both of you can be highly strung up with your phds. Living with a working person is easier in that respect, but you end up feeling isolated as they never understand why you have to work till early hours, why you don't spend the weekend getting drunk, why you have no time with watch TV or do anything that is not work related, and that can cause other tensions.

Yes its expensive, and yes you risk turning into a hermit, but its worth it. Your time is your own, making it much easier to manage. During a Phd you need peace and space. I managed to avoid being completely hermitian by, thankfully, living in an area that had lots of people i knew living locally and good pubs around so I was never more than 5 mins away from a natter with friends over a beer.

entitlement to statutory maternity pay

A friend of mine had paid maternity leave while she was doing her PhD. I think she was funded by the MRC. I think anyone on a studentship funded by one of the main research councils will be entitled to it. I'm not 100% sure though. I am surprised no one at the BBSRC can offer any more information about this.


should I go for an MPhil rather than PhD??

Hello Lixatron

I think everything in your post points to you quitting the PhD and taking the MPhil. Not being interested in the topic to begin with is a recipe for disaster. A PhD is hard enough when you ARE interested in the topic! Without that interest to fuel you, you will have a horrible, miserable time! I think all the other circumstances surrounding your MPhil / PhD are not in your favour. If you have decided you do not want to stay in academia then a PhD will not be a necessity and will only cause you unnecessary stress (Please note, I’m not saying a PhD counts for nothing outside academia, just that you don’t NEED it).

In academic circles I think there is a bit of a stigma about just going for an MPhil. It is synonymous with a failed PhD Its wrong! But that’s the way it is. In other sectors outside of academia (I’m not sure what your subject area is so I can’t comment on specific types of job available to you) it is less of an issue. In most non-academic sectors it is experience rather than qualifications that count. So if you are sure about not staying in academia, I don’t think taking the MPhil will look bad at all. I would recommend thinking about what area of work you do want to go into and that will give you more of an idea about what you should aim for.

About the viva, there is no viva for an MPhil, there is just an examination of the thesis. At my university that is the case, but I can’t say if that is the standard.

I hope this helps.