I went to do my postdoc (organic chemistry) in ICCAS Beijing, although I also had offers from other places. As soon as I arrived there, I was informed the professor had many unsubmitted works. After a lot of thought I stayed there because I had a good fellowship and the quality of the work impressed me (probably a wrong decision). I worked really hard for more than 2 years and completed a work (I thought) after which I had to leave for some family reasons. I wrote the manuscript and S.I and sent it to my professor but he is yet to publish the work. He always says he is very busy and some works needed to be done. I also suggested to perform any further experiments in PhD guides lab. However he does not do anything, publishing his PhD students work because he had to. And now he is saying- "very sorry" for the delay but still not doing anything. In the mean time I checked with many senior colleagues, all of them agreed the work is of good quality and should be published as soon as possible. I sent the work to my professor in early 2018 now its 2021. Should I try to publish it on my own keeping him as a coauthor? I was waiting till now because the issue of "recommendation". But, now it seems to me, my career in chemistry is over and want to publish the work for validation only. what should I do?

  • 5
    Have you asked the professor if you can go ahead and publish the work with their name on it (so that it does not cost them any time)?
    – Louic
    Aug 24 at 14:23
  • @Sursula Yes, I did several times. The only time it yielded a result when I added my Ph.D. guide as a cc in the email.He only forwarded the email to one of his student. And since then nothing.
    – Somjit
    Aug 25 at 2:43
  • Is arranging an in-person meeting to hash things out possible?
    – nick012000
    Aug 25 at 10:54
  • 1
    As I said a meeting is pointless..he told me several times that he is sorry for the delay, he is very busy, will publish it soon and then nothing happens. This is the story if past three years.And now my opportunities are all gone.
    – Somjit
    Aug 25 at 21:30
  • 1
    What do you mean by "publish"? Do you mean the professor should "write up the manuscript", or "read and give comments on a first draft", or "rubber stamp a mature draft for you to submit to the journal", or "take the existing manuscript file and submit it to the journal"?
    – Andrew
    Aug 26 at 20:30

First, I don't understand why it is the responsibility of your professor to publish your work. Perhaps this is a local requirement, but it seems odd.

Second, you can't just add someone as an author without both their proper participation and their agreement.

Normally, though, if the work is yours then you can submit it. If it is joint work then all authors must agree, but any of them can actually do the submission.


I'm sure a busy prof who has no time to write a paper covering your work would welcome the opportunity to have someone else write it. Doing so isn't simply a matter of writing it and sending it in with the prof's name on it, but handing the prof a manuscript, asking for edits, revising, ...


You are asking them to devote not insignificant effort to what is clearly fairly low on their priority list. Yes, they've agreed to that, yes, it's long past due it goes one way or another... But some people are just terrible at time management (including myself). If that prof is anything like myself, don't read much into it - it's not malice or anything, it's just every time you remember to address that there's something even more urgent and important waiting in the backlog. And working on writing, while can be done quickly by an experienced person, requires a particular state of mind. Getting into that state of mind is valuable.

And honestly, if someone walked up to me and said "here, I've done some research, all you have is to publish it and you can have all the credit" - why'd I accept? It's not helping me further my own research and takes away valuable resources.

If you actually want it published at this point, handle it yourself.


Publish it on your own. You only have one life to live, so stop worrying about what your professor might think. You're not doing anything wrong. You've worked so hard and that deserves recognition. Don't be ashamed to shine. So go ahead and shine!

  • Please add further details to expand on your answer, in particular explaining how this is nothing wrong by academic authorship standards.
    – Community Bot
    Aug 27 at 5:31

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