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I graduated with my PhD in January. In my field (biophysics) and country (US), we only have a 1 year time window to apply for fellowships.

However, my advisor is sitting on the paper from my dissertation and refuses to submit it (he keeps asking for more and more tiny tweaks) even thought it’s perfectly ready for submission. There is no end in sight here and I have tried politely arguing to no avail.

Since it takes many months from submission to publication and since I can’t apply for fellowships without a paper published in a high-ranking journal, I’m stuck in a sort of Catch-22.

My time is running out for the fellowships which I need to get competitive professorships, my career is at risk because of my graduate advisor.

What are my options here?

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  • 1
    Related, possible duplicate: 1, 2, 3.
    – cag51
    Mar 26 at 21:53
  • 3
    You’re confident it would be accepted at a “high-ranking journal”? Mar 27 at 0:33
  • 1
    Some clarifications have been edited into the main post; the rest of this discussion has been moved to chat. Please use the chat for continued discussion; see this FAQ before posting a comment below this one.
    – cag51
    Mar 27 at 17:58
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  • This advisor's "negligence" is an act of academic bullying. There is a few things one can do to counter academic bullying, but one has to think them thoroughly well in advance. I'm not writing them here, by now, since some advisors could read them to neutralize counter-bullying.
  • Maybe you can get some advice from a union representative or someone from your faculty to monitor the situation as an outsider.
  • Do you have a paper agreement?
  • Can you write another paper on your own?
  • If the above does not work, discreetly tell your advisor that you have some work duties from a certain date and that you will not be able to work more on the paper.
  • After some weeks/days tell your advisor that she is ruining the expectations that this paper is going to be submitted. If she doesn't consider this paper submittable then you can stop wasting the time on it, but you are not giving up coauthorship.
  • After some weeks/days tell your advisor that you are not going to tolerate any kind of academic bullying or power abuse.

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