Publish...Publish, I am worried about publications as I don't have any yet, I just have few in masters, but was not a good quality, now in Ph.D., I am working on a new topic and to get a significant and validated results it takes times, I focused on developing a model that could really explain the phenomena which are not explained yet by any researchers.

However, as I am apart of the project, all other members are getting papers so fast and every meeting they mention, how their methods are great, I feel low and less confident, maybe I am stupid as I take time.

According to the current situation, I didn't do any success which I think my career in academia is impossible, as I see all successful researchers have tons and tons of citations.

I don't know if I should give up, I bring this to my supervisor, however, he does not care so much, he is not recognized in the field, so it is not a big deal.

I am serious, feel low and lost because of the high competition and I did not have even one good paper yet.

Should I wait or withdraw from Ph.D., I really like research and my topic, what you recommend me to do in that case?

P.S. I am also getting psychotherapy as I am suffering from terrible OCD because of the past experience, I am doing my utter best and fight, but no one knows that in my lab. I am also so ambitious and hard worker, but not intelligent enough as peers that's why I am asking whether I am wasting time in the wrong direction maybe.

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    I'm sorry you're having a difficulty time during your PhD and glad you're getting local help. However, your question Should I wait or withdraw from Ph.D., I really like research and my topic, what you recommend me to do in that case? is specific to you and off topic for this site. Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 13:04
  • Maybe it is off-topic, but I am lost and tired.
    – user103209
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 13:13
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    If I recall your question history, you have not been in this lab very long at all. It takes time to get things up and going - you don't just start cranking out papers from day 1.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 13:30
  • Yes, thats true, but in reality, i have been more than two years and expecting to have one paper at least.
    – user103209
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 13:56
  • Dear Monika, I am very, very sorry that you left this website!!!!
    – user111388
    Commented Jul 31, 2019 at 17:03

3 Answers 3


Until your supervisor starts worrying, I wouldn't start worrying. Pure paper count isn't the best measure because some topics yield more papers and others much less. For example 2018 Nobel Laureate in Physiology & Medicine, James Allison, has a h-index of 127. Meanwhile 2018 Nobel Laureate in Economics Paul Romer has a h-index of 49. This doesn't mean James Allison is 3x more accomplished than Paul Romer; it just means they're from different fields. In the same way even if your labmate has published 3 papers and you have zero, it doesn't mean they're 3x as capable as you.

Your supervisor knows what is expected of a PhD student at your university. If you are performing badly, he/she will let you know (or it will come up during a performance review). Until that happens, it's not time to start worrying.

If you are really concerned, you can ask your supervisor if you're making expected progress, or ask him/her to set some targets for you to strive for.


Start writing a paper. Focus your efforts towards publication. If you want to have your options for after the PhD, publish as early as possible. And do not expect your supervisor to be the one who calls for action.

Do not give up, go for more.

You maybe could join research seminars, hopefully, available at your University, about how to publish, so you can start giving yourself a good and real idea of how is the process of publishing. It is not about who is the smartest or about luck, it is about a process that sometimes we are not exposed to, so we have no idea how to accomplish but has nothing do to with your intellectual capabilities which there is no doubt you have, for this indeed if it was not the case, your supervisor would have already told you.

But for the publishing part, take the ownership of the process and start writing.

  • I have some drafts, but still not completed my research is complicated and interdisciplinary and takes time. I am writing a proposal for workshop and also I gave talk, but those nothing
    – user103209
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 13:03
  • Also I am 28, and i am getting therapy which affects on my concentration and confidence, I dont know, I feel so much low.
    – user103209
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 13:04
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    I would say just make a plan and work for it. Do not worry about other colleague's plans, each of us we have different projects and out timings are completely different. Just make your realistic plan according to the nature of your work and go for it. But do not give up, and be patient, research is like this. Just follow the goal and do not give up.
    – User2130
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 13:06

A question you might ask yourself: Do you really need to have publications for your goals? (If it is not a requirement for your phd or supervisor or if you don't want to stay in academia, maybe you don't need any.) If no, you can just work on your big project (if your supervisor is fine with it) and relax a little bit! Often the people who publish a lot are under a lot of pressure because they want to stay in academia, whereas many PhD students who know they will leave academia can enjoy their research and live a good work-life-balance. If your big project works out, you have good material for a publication -- if not, well then at least you tried! Don't make your happiness dependent on other people (or their success)!

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