Can phd students submit their paper on their own? I have finished writing and polishing my manuscript (with my advisor listed as the corresponding author) and then sent it to my phd advisor almost a year ago but still has gotten no response from him. I am wondering if I can say sth like 'if I don't hear from you in 2 or 3 weeks, I am gonna assume that you have no problem and I am gonna submit it myself". Is this legit? Will I get expelled? I have hearded many different answers and need some HELP here! Thanks!

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    If your advisor is an author then his positive permission is required to publish. You can make assumptions. The journal editors will insist. No one can publish the work of another without permission. Expulsion is a local question, however. – Buffy Feb 11 at 0:30
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    You didn't ask the real question. You should have asked what to do about a supervisor who leaves such a thing too long, and how to handle such things at the front end. For example, you should have made very clear that you expected him to review it and ask for an approximate date by which he would do it. – puppetsock Feb 11 at 1:50
  • Have you sent any gentle reminders? A year is a very long time to let something sit in the "to-do" pile. It would not be out of place in the contexts in which I've worked to send a reminder after, say, a month or two if you haven't heard back. So that's the first step. If you've sent periodic reminders and haven't heard back, you should certainly NOT assume that he has no problem and you should certainly NOT send an email of the sort you suggest. In short, the best you can do is send gentle reminders, or else move on and develop independent papers on which you are genuinely the sole author. – transitionsynthesis Feb 11 at 21:39

Absolutely no, not legit. You need explicit consent from all the author listed to (attempt to) publish (=submitting for peer-review).

With no answer form your co-authors you may safely assume "you have not read the paper" and that's all you can assume from them.

But, you can submit on your own, as single author, no one is preventing doing that, you may be able "to bring people on board" during the review (there must be sound reasons to do that, but it is doable, if they are ok and they can strongly contribute plus you agree on having them on-board only for the second stage).

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Yes, I agree that removing an author means said author's contribution must be as well removed from the paper. That may lead to being unable to contribute the paper (how can you remove a co-author contribution if the co-author was the one showing and helping using an experimental machine?) or to big conflicts ("why did you not inculde me?"). If the paper still stands on its own, it is a big if.

Most likely, you can ask help to someone else in the faculty, or write the aggressive mail "if I don't hear from you in 2 or 3 weeks, I am gonna assume that you do not think your contribution is relevant and I am gonna submit it myself" and brace for the consequences (think and discuss an exit strategy, there is a world beyond and without your advisor).

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    "But, you can submit on your own, as single author" - important to clarify this is only true if you are the only deserving author. If someone else should be an author, you cannot publish as a single author without including them as an author and having their permission. – Bryan Krause Feb 11 at 0:37
  • The sentense is 'If I did not hear back from you in 2 weeks, I am going to assume that you have no issues with my manuscript and I will submit it on my own with you as the corresponding author'. If the advisor does not reply to negate this sentence, this means that no response from advisor in 2 weeks equals permission for submission. I don't see how this is equal to ' have not read the paper'. – sbd Feb 11 at 1:52
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    The thing is, it is written with two names on it. Unilaterally taking the other person's name off might be a huge bad problem. The first paragraph of this answer is all that should be there. Taking the other person's name off, even in this case, could be Big Bad Trouble if the supervisor wanted to push it. And since a year delay in reviewing this work seems abusive, he might well be that type of person. – puppetsock Feb 11 at 1:53
  • @sbd You can also write "If I do not hear back from you in 2 weeks, I am going to assume you are dead" but that does not change the fact that it is non-sense to write such a sentence, because you need explicit consent to publish, not implicit consent because you wrote something that in no way can be considered explicit. Now, writing something like that will not lead to expulsion, but trying to publish without EXPLICIT consent most likely will do. Have you tried to stalk him via telephone/skype/ringing his doorbell? – EarlGrey Feb 11 at 10:24
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    I'll also add that publishing a paper without an author that did contribute is far more likely to get you in trouble than publishing a paper without someones permission - this happens all the time (even if it sholdn't). Although it is much worse given they are corresponding. – Ian Sudbery Feb 11 at 21:10
  1. If the name of someone is on your paper, he must agree with the content of the paper BEFORE it is submitted. The only way an author can agree with the submission is if he tells you that he agrees. Some journal will even require that all authors sign a document before submiting that clearly state that they agree (e.g. some Elsevier journals) or send an e-mail to all co-authors to ask them to verify that they agree (eg. some Springer/Elsevier journals).

  2. If someone contributed to your paper (enough to be an author), you cannot remove his name from it without removing his contribution to the paper or getting his approval to use his contribution but without his name.

  3. If you remove the name of your supervisor and submit a paper without his approval, it may cause you some problems (it depends on the context at your university/department or your relationship with the supervisor), so the best to avoid any problem is to talk with your supervisor about this situation. Try to meet him and explain the situation and ask him if he could do it faster or agree on some date, or if he would agree that you could submit it by yourself. Or maybe he will not agree and tell you that he thinks the manuscript is not ready... But discussing with your supervisor is what you should do, and perhaps in person is better than by e-mail.

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