First, she never helped me on either my thesis or my slide presentation. After my presentation (which she did not attend), she asked me "how to present" it to her so she could use it in the international conference. (I don't want to do that, but I have no choice.)

Then, she asked me to send the whole presentation. I sent it to her as a PDF file.

Later, she asked me for the "power point presentation" with the script.

I really don't want to give it to her.

What should I do?

P.S. She never gives anybody credit. (She did this before with my senior.)

Update: After reading many comments, I realize that I might be over-reacting. In academic area, it is normal that advisor could use the entire presentation of their student in the conference. (If I am lucky, she will acknowledge me)

I feel so bad about it but I need to accept the reality....

Thank you for all comments.

  • 7
    More contextul information is needed before we can answer this. For example, are you funded by a grant held by your supervisor which gives co-author status to all work produced by grant staff (such as an ERC grant)? Is there a clear reason why you cannot go to the international conference and present the material yourself? Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 7:22
  • 12
    Why did you stay with her after your senior? It's one thing to fall into the trap of a supervisor who does not give credit, it is quite another to repeat this. At this stage, probably you are better off just giving her what she wants and get rid of your project as soon as you can. Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 7:38
  • 2
    @GrotesqueSI: Yes, my thesis was funded by the grant from government which is purposed by my advisor. She is my co-author. I could share her my figures, results and everything. I'm OK if she share my result in the conference with the presentation created by her (not her student). But asking me to teach her how to present my own presentation in the conference is too much. As far as I know, she is invited speaker. Thank you for your comment. I might consider ask her directly that can I go to the conference and present it by myself.
    – Lucus
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 9:24
  • 3
    How long was your talk? How long is her talk? If you had a fifteen minute talk she's going to work into her 90 minute keynote, that's a bit different Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 16:00
  • 4
    It's misattribution (and thus academic fraud) when the coauthor's name is not displayed, let alone prominently (i.e on the title page, with equal billing to all coauthors, not just line 13 of acknowledgments on page 39)
    – smci
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 22:50

5 Answers 5


From your comments, you seem to be worried not only about not getting credit, which others have already addressed, but also about the originality of the presentation itself. Here you write:

To be honest, I will feel much better If she create the presentation by herself.... What I feel uncomfortable is "she will present my entire presentation with my own script."

Here's something important to keep in mind: this being academia, the value is in the research itself, not the presentation. That's not to say that the presentation isn't important; quite the opposite: you need a good presentation is to present the research in its best light, ensure that both the it and its relevance are properly understood, and so forth. But remember, you do not get academic credit for the good presentation, you get it for the research that was presented.

In other words, a good presentation adds no extra academic value to the research: poor research with a good presentation remains poor research. However, a bad presentation detracts from the value of good research and may delay or prevent its worth from being fully recognised.

Thus, if you have a good presentation that's a good thing, but its only real value to you as an academic is to help keep your research from being misunderstood or going unrecognised. Therefore you should greatly prefer that your adviser (or anybody else), when they present your research, uses your presentation if that's the best one available so that your research is seen in the best possible light. Further, you should give them any help necessary to improve the presentation further or focus it for their particular audience and situation, including giving it to them in the best format for modification and helping them make changes.

(In case it's not clear; this is all completely separate from the credit issue; if your advisor isn't giving your credit you should deal with that as suggested in the other answers.)

  • 1
    I strongly disagree with both "you do not get academic credit for the good presentation, you get it for the research that was presented" and "a good presentation adds no extra value at all to the research".
    – Eike P.
    Commented May 24, 2022 at 11:31
  • @jhin Really? Do you think that poor research becomes better and gets more citations if you put a really good presentation around it? Do you think that if the OP's advisor gave a really good presentation of the OP's research and then told people, "it's his research but I did the presentation," people would be citing her rather than the OP?
    – cjs
    Commented May 24, 2022 at 12:10
  • 1
    No, in those both points I agree with you. But I do believe that provided you have done good scientific work, a good presentation adds a lot of scientific value and you also get academic credit for it: it helps to disseminate your findings / educate others about them, which a) is an essential part of science (and thus adds extra value to the research which otherwise nobody would know about / understand) and b) helps you get more citations for your work, possibly at the expense of other works that may even be better content-wise but have not been disseminated as widely and nicely.
    – Eike P.
    Commented May 24, 2022 at 12:31
  • Maybe we're just splitting hairs/words here, but those statements in your answer can be read as strongly discounting the value of scientific presentations / dissemination. I don't know if that is what you meant, but that is what I (respectfully) objected to. Cheers!
    – Eike P.
    Commented May 24, 2022 at 12:33
  • @jhin Did you read carefully the second sentence in my third paragraph (the one directly after the quote)? As for "a good presentation adds a lot of scientific value," how does the science itself become better just because it's presented differently?
    – cjs
    Commented May 24, 2022 at 13:39

As an advisor, I regularly use my students’ slides when I present my current projects. This is usually done within the context of high level presentations: I’m working on important project X; Alice and I worked on X.a which resulted in such and such, and with Bob on X.b which resulted in so and so. Claire and I are working with Alice to extend to X.c. If your advisor is supportive and showcases your work, she’s increasing its visibility and helping your career.

To conclude, presenting students’ work is not necessarily a bad thing and can help them a lot.

What is more concerning is that you seem to have serious trust issues with your advisor. She may be passing off her students’ work as her own but I honestly think that this is either a misunderstanding or something else. Advisors normally want to show that their students are doing well, not that they’re being totally shepherded by the advisor. This reflects badly on the advisor which is why I think it’s unusual.

If things have gotten to the point where you’re not harboring any goodwill to her, I suggest you rethink your options. If there’s a chance of a conversation to rebuild trust, try and have one.

  • 27
    Reading the comments: if my advisor were to present my results as part of an invited talk I’d be honored and ecstatic! That you are not indicates that you have major issues with her which you two need to figure out ASAP.
    – Spark
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 12:27
  • 24
    What your advisor did is really uncommon, and I’m not even sure whether it’s appropriate. I never had to give keynotes, but in grant review presentations I wouldn’t dream of dragging my students to present just to highlight the obvious fact that they’re lead authors. In keynotes people want to hear the speaker; other uncalled speakers is bad form. If I organize an event and someone pulls this off without telling me I’d be pissed.
    – Spark
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 14:15
  • 9
    Just because you scrupulously attribute other people's work to them when presenting it, doesn't sound like OP's advisor will do that... And it likely isn't about personal relationships, there simply are many (academic) cultures in the world where plagiarism, misattribution and theft are everyday behavior (depends on country), academics think they're entitled to.
    – smci
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 22:30
  • 5
    I feel like focusing on the slides is a bit strange. If you have issues with her not contributing and not attributing the results to you, you should mention them to her. I have regularly given my slides to my advisor for her use in presentations. You should address why this bothers you. My guess is that it’s because of an underlying issue you have with your advisor.
    – Spark
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 8:31
  • 6
    @Lucus Professors are very busy people. Forcing her to recreate slides is a waste of her time and skills. She is asking for the PowerPoint file instead of a PDF so she can integrate it into her larger presentation, which if it's an invited talk at a conference, is probably much longer than 15 minutes. Unless there is more than what you've explained, you should not be offended! Do you and her share a first language? It sounds like English may not be your first language, and perhaps there's a language barrier here that led you to misinterpret her meaning. Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 19:19

It's pretty common in my experience for advisors to present their students' work, with acknowledgement of the students' contributions. They'll often combine slides from several students' presentations into one talk for a conference, but they can also present just one student's work. In that case they usually say something like "The work I am going to talk about today was all/mostly done by my student, Whoever McLearny", at the start of the presentation.

Prepare a version of the slides specifically for your advisor to present, with her as the presenter, and with whatever acknowledgement of your authorship you feel is appropriate. This could be as simple as the first slide having you as the first author and your advisor as the last author, with your advisor's name somehow highlighted to indicate that she is the speaker. Or it could be having your name and picture featured prominently on an acknowledgements slide at the end of the presentation, along with any other group members who contributed. Or it could be your name in the corner of all the important figure slides, to show you did that work in particular, if the slides are going into a longer presentation.

Then you can send your advisor a nice pre-made presentation, and she won't have to do any extra work to cite you, because it will have already been done. It also communicates what form of acknowledgement you feel is appropriate.

On the other hand, if you think you and your advisor have very different ideas about how much or what form of credit is appropriate in the presentation for your contribution to the work, you need to have a talk with your advisor about it.

  • 1
    To be honest, I will feel much better If she create the presentation by herself and say that "The work I am going to talk about today was all/mostly done by my student", at the start of the presentation. What I feel uncomfortable is "she will present my entire presentation with my own script." However, after reading many comments, I start to realize that what my advisor did might be common in academic area....
    – Lucus
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 4:16

One benefit of her giving your presentation is that she will be actively promoting your work. For example, my adviser presented my theoretical work 3 times at 3 different conferences, and found an experimental collaborator to show that my theories were correct.

The more exposure your research gets, the higher the possibility for citations, which then leads to better career opportunities.

  • 4
    That is the correct answer. OP should be happy that someone is spreading their work "for free". There is nothing more to say about it.
    – YYY
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 14:24
  • True, but the scientific community will be aware that the results are the products of the OP's work only if the advisor acknowledges that she is presenting her student's work.
    – Milos
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 11:33
  • 1
    I guess I'm assuming that this will all be published. Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 12:05

Look, if she had done the same to the senior, there's something afoot.

Personally, I am uncomfortable with the length she is forcing you to go for her - like you've said, she wasn't present when you defended your thesis, and now, when there's an international acclaim in the game, she wants to have your work to present.

She is your advisor, which means she is not your mentor. There's an important difference between the two. Mentor is usually accredited professor. Advisor is usually a senior student, usually in a capacity of helping professor manage his workload, but rarely they are professor themselves.

You haven't cleared out if she is professor or not. If she is professor, then no, you got no recourse available for you, at least not at this point. But if she is a fellow student or just a person who specifically holds the title of 'advisor', and if there's a precedent - a bad one - then you can complain to the board of professors, but be aware you will have to have really good reasons and proofs at hand if things go south. In academic sphere that kind of thing can quickly go kaboom and influence your career later on in your life, never mind if you were right and she wrong.

So if you want to go that route, then save the emails, all the conversations, if you were talking over phone, write the dates down, etcetera. If it's an advanced level of research, what she is doing without asking for your input, it's an academic suicide at its finest - for her.

I find it strange she wants to present a topic she is (presumably) not well-versed in and you had to additionally practically dumb it down for her because she cannot be bothered to take some of her precious time and do her own note taking and research. Well, fine, she can present your thesis, but what about the questions that come after the presentation? If she doesn't understand the material and its nuances, she will trip all over herself because she won't know the particulars well enough to explain this or that facet of the experiments of wording or something else.

It would've been better if you were the one to go and present the entire thing, because you know it inside and out.

  • Hi and welcome to Academia SE, I removed a sentence that can be considered offensive and may have led people to downvote your answer. Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 18:55
  • 3
    I have never heard of this "mentor"/"advisor" distinction and in fact, would think of it as the opposite. Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 19:21

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