Signup date: 08 Jan 2016 at 12:02am
Last login: 30 Mar 2021 at 8:40pm
Post count: 1246
Beware of merely submitting elsewhere without making the changes requested.
You might end up with the same reviewer again.
It happened with a paper I worked on in a collaboration.
The paper got rejected because of unsupportable claims the main author made about my part of the work
He ignored my suggested changes and submitted anyway.
Got it rejected from journal A after months of waiting because of my work as expected.
Rather than talk to me he submitted it unchanged to a second journal amd it landed of the desk of the same reviewer.
I wish I had kept the email response from that reviewer.
At this point, the first author dropped this crap on my desk and asked me to fix it.
I made the changes I had first suggested before we even submitted, apologised profusely to the reviewer and we got it accepted straight away.
This is a prime example of why I LOATHE working in teams where I am not in charge. Reviewers need to be handled with kid gloves and I seem to have developed a knack of cutting through their abuse and ticking their checklist off. That first author was just an arrogant idiot.
OK so I have seen this before and I think I can see the problem. I had a colleague who had to wait more than 2 years for her papers to be reviewed by our supervisor whilst I never had to wait more than a week. Her problem is very similar to what you have described and here are my thoughts.
You are aware that you are expected to take implicit advice but you are digging your heels in that it's up to them to provide explicit advice. Worse still, you've persuaded yourself that the main supervisor is influencing the second supervisor.
When they highlight a problem in the manuscript they expect you to check the rest of the paper. That is perfectly reasonable and the fact that you are not doing this over such a long period of time and over what sounds like 3 full papers is probably frustrating the hell out of them although I am making no excuses for them verbally abusing you.
This is the root cause of the problem I think and if I am right, there's simply no point moving to another PhD program because you'll have exactly the same problem. I might be wrong, but it sounds like you are expecting others to teach you the right way to do things. If you are, this is going to be fatal for your chances of success until you change.
Given that I used my acknowledgement section to thank my, now deceased, dog for her loving cuddles and big sloppy licks during the "dark times", I am probably not best placed to offer advice.
Yep, I really did write that. She really did do that for me. And yes, my descendents are going to be reading that section and smiling for generations to come.
I wanted to insert a colour photo of us hugging but my supervisor said "best not" and the discussion ended. :-D
Firstly, I would say that there is no such thing as a "top 5 uni".
You either went to Oxbridge which is worthy of mention, or you went to one of the rest., which isn't worth mentioning.
A 2:2 from your uni is the same as a 2:2 from almost anywhere else so you may as well own that straight away.
Secondly, the good news is that your Masters makes your undergrad degree redundant so forget about anything but getting a distinction here.
Thirdly, if you are excelling at experimental work and your PhD is also experimental then you are in a strong position.
If you need some theory for your PhD you should make sure you plug any gaps from undergrad which the masters didn't cover.
I have to say, it sounds like you're in good shape to recover from the 2:2 so good luck.
Your age is certainly not the issue and you shouldn't be thinking about "last chances".
Neither is your 1st in Physics.
I think one of your problems might be that you are focussing on graduate training schemes.
Most companies in the UK are small to medium sized, would love to have a graduate in Physics and won't run a graduate training scheme.
It also sounds like you have lost faith in applying for jobs. That would certainly come through in your applications.
My advice would be to focus on small and medium companies. When your CV is going to the same companies as tens of thousands of other equally qualified applicants, you are basically getting lost in the noise.
Just as an amusing aside, I was trying to think of a way of demonstrating the dangers of obsessing over impact factors and came up with a couple of examples.
If Watson and Crick had published in a low/medium impact factor journal it's likely that Biology would have remained a subject outside mainstream science.
What about Planck's groundbreaking work or Einstein's work in Quantum Mechanics? It's likely we would still be trying to understand the photoelectric effect.
Of course you could say it was the responsibility of those scientists to publish in the highest impact factor journals but what if they didn't? What if they just wanted to get published quickly in a decent journal and move on rather than mess about for potentially a year or more trying to get into Nature?
Mainstream scientists would have ignored or derided these journals as "not containing important science".
This is not a new thing. There are plenty of examples out there of new science being discovered only to turn out that Chinese and Russian scientists had already published that work decades before.
Those of you who are planning to join academia as a career have a responsibility to seriously question things like impact factors and league tables otherwise you risk being part of a problem I think we can all see.
Anyway just some thoughts on the matter.
I don't know why they have allowed you to get as far as this without stopping you.
When this happens, I have a hard time believing that it's anyone but the university to blame.
That's not to say that an appeal will help.
I am a little confused about a few things though. Firstly, I don't know why you brought up maternity leave. This shouldn't have mattered and I think you are using that to excuse a lack of progress on your part.
Secondly, unless I have misread your post, you don't appear to have any journal publications after 4 years. That is a concern. Even with disruption you should have something by now. If you don't, I think any appeal is going to be very difficult.
Thirdly, you are talking about your performance being related to "their will". This is a massive red flag. A PhD student should not be talking this way. You seem upset at them downgrading you despite doing what they asked you to do. You are not there to do what they direct you to do. You are supposed to be an independent researcher at this stage, coming up with your own ideas with sufficient quality and quantity to earn your PhD. I think you need to step back and think whether this description fits what has happened to you.
I might be wrong but I have seen this story before and what you have posted is concerning as regards your independence of working. You might need to accept that maybe they have a point about the MPhil.
So my strong advice here is to take a step back. Try and remove the emotion if you can. Then be brutally honest about your own performance. Then ask yourself whether they genuinely have a point about the MPhil.
If you are going through the flowchart in stages, it might look nice to redo the figure with the relevant part highlighted for emphasis with a box round it or in bold.
Failing that, duplicating is a good way of preventing your reader having to go back multiple pages.
The laughable obsession of academia with impact factors and university ranking tables is one of the many reasons why I am glad to be out of the system.
At your stage what you should be worrying about is doing great science, learning how to be an independent researcher, building collaborations, thinking about exciting new projects and getting published in an international standard, peer-reviewed journal. Period.
None of this other stuff should matter. Your science is as good as your science is. Where it gets published should make no difference to that but academics do tie their little knickers in a twist about getting a journal with the highest possible number stuck on the front page. It's all a bit unseemly, tawdry and utterly pathetic but depressingly it may be something you need to worry about if it is your intention to join this absolute charade of a career path.
I'm in an "eeyore" mood today. Sorry about that :-D
I understand TQ.
It's a difficult decision for you to make.
Personally, I would be trying to stay true to my gut for as long as possible. That's what I'm doing right now. I do have the luxury of being able to do that financially though so it's easy for me to do that.
My advice then would be to do everything in your power to remain on your research path. Try and find financial solutions for this, take up temporary work, marry a rich person (:-D), take on temporary roles, part time work, volunteer to do research unpaid in the meantime to stay in the game.
The worst thing you can do is get bogged down in a permanent job which sucks your energy and time and makes it more difficult for you to get back to research.
You have your whole life to get this right. Be careful not to give into fear or be lured by the safety of a solid pension (sigh! - just kill me now!) unless it's absolutely the only reasonable option.
For what it's worth, during difficult, weak moments I've found myself looking at lecturing and school teaching jobs. I can't recall the last thing I did which sucked so much of my soul into the spinning vortex of despair and misery :-D
I would address the experimental "deficiencies" head on.
Specifically, I would tell them directly that I would very quickly pick up any new skills required and show some proof that I've done that in the past. They will be looking for someone they can confidently leave to get the job done, whatever it takes without them baby sitting you. You need to convey that without bullshitting.
You'll know if this is working because you'll see it in their responses.
Being 20% short should not be a problem unless they have a 100% candidate and even then they may simply like you better so focus on building rapport in the interview. Ask lots of detailed technical questions about certain aspects of what they do which genuinely interest you. They'll pick up on that.
Don't be so sure about industrial companies NEVER wanting to publish as a primary goal. Publishing in an area can be done to intimidate away any competitor trying to find patents in the same area. That is very common. It may also be a requirement for them receiving research funding from governments. Don't assume it's always about profits when it comes to industrial research. Their research is simply focussed on things which might be possible products in 20 years time or it could be speculative stuff but it will usually always be focussed in a particular area so it's a lot more restrictive than pure academic research. You want to make sure they see that you understand their role in the scheme of things. Get that wrong and you'll undermine everything. My advice? Read up on them or ask them very early on where they are in the food chain.
Masters DegreesSearch For Masters Degrees
An active and supportive community.
Support and advice from your peers.
Your postgraduate questions answered.
Use your experience to help others.
Enter your email address below to get started with your forum account
Enter your username below to login to your account
An email has been sent to your email account along with instructions on how to reset your password. If you do not recieve your email, or have any futher problems accessing your account, then please contact our customer support.
or continue as guest