I finished my PhD degree last year. I had a bad experience with my adviser over the 4 years. He treated me like a technician. He used the data I collected and analyzed to publish with his post-doc in a top journal. They just put "personal communication" in the paper when they used my analytical method. Then, my name was under the acknowledgement section. I even never be communicated regarding of their manuscript producing process. I found it out based on randomly reading papers online.

In addition, he insulted me when I was in his lab. He tried to threat me for rescheduling my wedding date.

Now, my adviser pretend nothing happened in the past. He keeps chasing me for publishing one of my PhD chapters with him. I have a full-time job now. I just keep ignoring his emails. However, one of my committee member told me that he has been bugged by my adviser for my latest information. He wants me to talk to my adviser even I don't want to publish with him.

Could anyone give me advice?


  • 1
    Is you job outside of academia and do you intend to stay outside academia?
    – user9482
    Jan 23, 2019 at 7:04
  • My job is part of academia, and part of industry. My current supervisor knows my situation. Jan 24, 2019 at 8:02

2 Answers 2


Option A: Blow him off. You did your Ph.D. You're done. Work for your current employer and to feed your family. The academic rat race is not your concern. And it's not even like this guy cares about the science being lost. He just wants another sticker on his helmet (pub count).

Option B: Tell him "what's in it for me". Maybe get something out of him, like inclusion as co-author on a review or the like.

Option C: Write it but tell him you will be the communicating author, you're in charge and not interested in edits from him and he can just ride along for a pub count (maybe a little gentler stated than that, but that is bottom line).

When I was in this situation, I went with option C. But I actually cared about the science getting out and had the paper ready to go, no issues. Also my advisor never messed with my text (I never had an edit from him on previous papers). [And even in this case, it only came after a year or two of the guy, sitting, before he came back and agreed to my terms.]

I would probably go with C for you. But make it clear to him who is in charge. Some of these professors are not used to grad students that take them on.

You probably will never get satisfaction on the previous slight, but if you tell the guy "I wasn't happy with how you handled X. That is behind us. But I have to evaluate if I can trust you going forward before doing any work on Y." maybe he toes the line. He may not, so then put him in deep freeze.

I can't promise you a great outcome. But I do know if you don't sometimes stand up for yourself people will take advantage.

  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I don't think Option C would be applied in my case. I am a foreigner, so I may need edit help from native speakers. Yes, I will stand up for myself. Jan 24, 2019 at 8:00

If your job is taking all your time, you don't have to publish again - that is your choice.

Have you explained all the circumstances with your "committee member"? If not, that may, at least, explain to them the "real" or at least, your view of the situation.

If you do decide, after due deliberation, to collaborate and publish a further paper, then you need to set out a "cast iron" set of parameters such as you will be "first author", you will be the point of contact, etc etc AND have this agreed with the advisor and your friendly committee member. You will also need to include what happens if the advisor pulls the "change of direction" stunt on the paper to relegate you to a footnote while still using your data...

But, imho, is that all worth it?

  • Moral plus one (don't have the status to vote). Liked the idea of sharing hesitation with committee member. It is an easy way to bring it up. Instead of running to complain, you are just saying "we had a problem before--don't want problem again."
    – guest
    Jan 23, 2019 at 7:23
  • I like this suggestion too. Jan 24, 2019 at 8:01
  • @user3666823 give it a vote then, but best of luck anyway.
    – Solar Mike
    Jan 24, 2019 at 8:06

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