I have recently submitted my PhD. However, my project requires about 5 months more work to be publishable. The standard time between submission and the viva defence in my lab is about 5-6 months. I had hoped to do this work, defend and finish the paper over the next 5 months. I am not being paid as officially my PhD is over, but I want to see the project out to the end, both because I have worked on it for 4 years and I need a paper for career progression.
However, my PI and I have never worked well together, and now a post-doc who was originally asked to help out with my project seems to be preparing to take over. I have a meeting soon to clarify everything, and I'm determined to fight for this project and paper but am unsure if I may be asking/expecting too much. I'd really appreciate some help.
Does my PI have any obligations to help me in the period post-PhD submission but pre-viva? My contract is officially over, so can they refuse to let me enter the lab to do wrapping-up experiments, even one that would really help me pass my viva?
Can my PI take the project off me and give it to someone else if I don't finish it within the dates of my PhD? This would effectively end my academic career. (Everyone else graduating from our lab was given short-term postdoc extensions to finish up, so no-one in my lab has ever finished a paper in the time of their PhDs)