I am a bachelor student and have been working for a professor since the last two years on a paper for which I was paid. All the work is mine but data belongs to him. We recently had a fallout and I no longer work for him. But the paper is completed and only submission part is left and at this stage he has stopped communicating with me. I have tried writing to him more than three times and there has been no answer. Only I have worked on the paper and it's a method paper.

Can I publish without him? Can I put his name and send out for publication even if he does not agree ( or respond to mails)?

Or can I take method paper to a different lab working in the same area and then publish using their data?

What can I do now?

Edit: I don't think I am an over confident bachelor student trying to aim for nature or a Nobel. I verified with multiple people and all of them has stated something along this line "that though the work won't make it to any top tier journal still has more than enough new contributions for a paper".

The problem is that me and my supervisor ended up having a fallout over some slight remark he made about me, which I felt offensive and was not diplomatic in calling that out in a skype call with other lab members. Since then he has terminated by contract and won't reply to my mails.

My professor works in Economics (data) and the paper is around Bayesian approaches on this data (Stats, AI).Other than the data, there has not been any intellectual contribution from my professors side.

3 Answers 3


Can I publish without him? Can I put his name and send out for publication even if he does not agree ( or respond to mails)?

This won't work. Authors bear a certain responsibility regarding the quality of the paper. So you can't publish without consent of all authors.

But note that your statement "All the work is mine but data belongs to him." does not imply that you can simply publish your findings without him. Your professor is likely to have made intellectual contributions such as defining the actual research question, putting you on the right track towards a solution, etc. And substantial intellectual contributions typically imply authorship.

Your best bet is to find a colleague of his who can mediate between you two. If the paper is actually completed, considerable resources have been spent on the side of the professor (time and money), so there is a chance that you can get this published with help.

Taking the paper to a different lab may work if (a) the professor is ready to give up authorship, which sounds unlikely from your question, and (b) the head of the other lab is willing to speak to your current/previous professor about the paper.


While there are instances of tyranny on the part of supervisors, there are also examples of overconfident students. Thus, the first step must be to seek some sort of mediation, or at least some outside opinion on the situation. This means finding someone willing to talk to you and your supervisor, hear both sides of the story and hopefully propose a way forward.

If agreement cannot be reached, then you are in a pickle. It would be incorrect on the part of anyone to publish a method paper without your supervisor as a co-author (as you implicitly acknowledge yourself). Moreover, “shopping” your method is unlikely to succeed: the cold reality is that serious experimental groups are unlikely to listen to outsiders - they have their own trusted tools and methods - much less an undergraduate involved in a dispute with a professor.

  • I have edited my question.
    – pinacola
    Aug 12, 2021 at 5:53

Being a student, we always think our result is best. We always want some publication from work done during the Bachelor degree. We want to submit it to a top tier conference, but it won't be the case with your professor.

The problem is that from the professor point of view, either the paper is not ready or not a top priority thing from him.

So, in the given scenario, you can politely ask your professor to allow him to publish the paper and check the manuscript. The benefit would be that paper's quality will improve, chances of getting accepted and regsitration fees will be covered.

In another scenario, if you don't get a reply from him after sending 2-3 reminders, inform him that you will submit it XXX conference. The side effect would be that you have to pay the registration fees from your pocket.

At last, if your work in a university lab, data never belong to you. University has right on that data.

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