Update on Feb 27
The extension is confirmed. I can get the different reviewer, but sadly the graduate school will be able to make a replacement for me next semester.
My additional advice for others who come here to read later.
- Going to the harassment center is effective, but please discuss with your professor before going there (if you can).
- Checking the rule who you should contact step by step.
- Checking the rule alphabetically that your case is in the scope of what you are going to report. If you are not confident, consult someone from the small position to the top (as mentioned in number 2). If you are ignored, you still have the bigger person to go for.
Thanks all a lot again.
Update on Feb 25
My professor exchanged some emails with the reviewer. The reviewer confirmed that "I am unable to change my judgement" but said he was ok to meet me for thesis defense. My co-advisor (who is the expert in machine learning) came to the lab and confirmed that the reviewer misunderstood many points of my thesis.
I think I will get an extension and go for thesis defense with the reviewer. My prof and my co-advisor are very supportive and understanding.
Now is the national entrance examination period in Japan, so all staff (the Dean and so on) have to manage the exam and I have to wait to get the official approval of the extension (I guess). So, I would like to open this question for a short while. If someone would like to add something, I would truly appreciate it. Thank you very much for all the support and answers here.
Sorry for the long story. Some advice/insight would be very appreciated.
I am a Ph.D candidate in Japan.
I had my Ph.D. defense on January 21st. One reviewer out of three did not attend to my defense without informing my supervisor. We had no clue why it happened. After the defense, I had 10 days to improve my Ph.D. thesis from questions and comments I got from the defense, and submit it to the committee. I sent all of the committee my thesis on January 31st. The committee had time to review my thesis until February 21st.
The absent reviewer contacted my supervisor saying that he was abroad on February 2nd. Anyway, his evaluation was rejection. Since he did not provide clear comments on which points of my thesis had problems, my supervisor and I did not understand clearly his reasons. I contacted him immediately to say I could go to his campus and would like to present my research for him.
He replied to me on February 15th. He said that he will be available in March or May which is out of the deadline from graduate school. My supervisor sent him a reminder on February 19th that if he had some comments, please gave me before 21st. He gave me comments on the night of 20th. I had one day left to reply to all of his comments, which were many. Anyway, in order to be within the timeline, I revised as much as I could and sent it to him before the deadline. However, my supervisor found out that he submitted his rejection to graduate school before he gave me comments. This situation is very unlikely, particularly in Japan where people really respect others.
At this point, my supervisor contacted the Dean and the professor in charge of the Ph.D. thesis. At first, I felt he was very sure that I would pass. However, today, he contacted me to say that I have to get 3 passes from 3 reviewers. Also, I think he checked the rule and found that it was not written in the book about the reviewer must come to the defense. So, he may be wavering. I have already got 2 passes, and I think what that reviewer did is not right.
To be fair, I think many of his comments are very valuable and I like to improve the quality of my thesis as much as possible. However, according to his comments, he is misunderstanding many points which I can explain but I have no chance to defend. I also feel he underestimated the complexity of my data (biology-based) and biased to the style of his field (machine learning-based).
- What should I do in this situation? I do not want to be emotional and react to the situation carelessly, particularly with my supervisor.
- Is this a mistreatment or a common thing in graduate school?
- Sorry for another question, which may sound off-topic, but because this is not the first time in my experience that I feel the graduate school cannot protect me, should I quit or transfer my Ph.D. to elsewhere? I am just thinking about what I should do now, in the near future, and in the long run.
Thank you very much.