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I created a rather controversial review of empirical data for my PhD thesis. Initially, my supervisor was very discouraging regarding this review, to the point of threatening me to end my PhD. Believing the notions contained in the work are very important, I continued the work. After the supervisor read the script, providing minor comments on clarity, they were very pleased and even proud. From this work from my thesis I have made a paper. I sent it to all potential co-authors months ago, and I do not get any response from them. The supervisor, on the other hand, says that unless I complete other work, they will not read it (yes, the supervisor tends to change mind quickly and not have much memory of previous attitudes, partly due to being far too overworked). They also stated that they would contact any editor if submitted saying that the work was conducted under themselves and that the editor should not publish it. Quite frankly, I am not too keen on receiving comments from the supervisor as I believe they will be most likely political in nature (i.e., who not to offend in the field etc., rather than scientific), further delay the paper (which i believe should be published ASAP), and possibly detract from its content. I would like to move on alone, perhaps seeking comments from other scientists, but it seems I am in a dangerous situation and that the supervisor's higher stature and volatile attitudes may provoke significant problems for me in my career (also considering I do not have many contacts willing to support me with data etc.,). My questions are

  1. Do you think that, worst comes to worst, I can publish the paper on my own?
  2. Tactically speaking, how bad do you think things have to get before I should consider such an option?
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    The sentence "After the supervisor read the script, providing minor comments on clarity, they were very pleased and even proud" seems inconsistent with the rest. Can you clarify? Did they go from negative to positive and back to negative? Why co-authors? Why "political". Needs clarification.
    – Buffy
    Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 19:43
  • Hello Buffy, thank you for the comment. I have made minor modifications to the question. Yes, they did go from negative to positive to negative. Although confusing, they tend to do this quite a bit, and, tendentially, not remember or recognise much the inconsistencies. The "political" refers to the reviewing of manuscripts primarily thinking about what other people may think/feel rather than the rigorousness of the scientific content. Co-authors were other people that may participate due to certain expertise which I don't have. I also have the issue of how to fund such a publication. Commented Jun 28, 2023 at 14:29
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    What is the question? Commented Jun 28, 2023 at 16:58
  • Sorry, Thank you for the comment. Am new to this. Explicit questions added. Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 12:36

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Single-author papers based on (parts of) the research done for PhD thesis are common. This is your research you did for your PhD, and as such, it is supposed to be your independent work done under a supervision (guidance) of your advisor. Some people include their supervisor in the list of authors, but this is not strictly speaking necessary.

From this work from my thesis I have made a paper. I sent it to all potential co-authors months ago, and I do not get any response from them.

This sounds a bit strange to me. If you wrote a paper, you are the single author. What are these other "co-authors" and why you sent your paper to them rather than a journal? Normally, co-authors are collaborators who work with you before and during the research is done, and this joint work results in a joint paper. You are doing it somewhat backwards --- are you sure you understand how the academic publishing process works? Take a look at e.g. Cambridge Guidelines on Authorship.

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  • Thank you so much for your answer. Indeed it is strange, however, In our other papers I have been "asked" to include lots of people that I have not met due to their funding, dataset, data curation, clinical aspects etc., In this case, I was hoping the "potential" co-authors would be able to give an intellectual contribution via their specific expertise. Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 13:11
  • ‘ Single-author papers based on (parts of) the research done for PhD thesis are common’ maybe specify a certain field because it’s absolutely not common in my field.
    – user438383
    Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 17:41
  • Neuroscience is the field. Thank you all for your help. It is much appreciated. I have decided I will try to publish it on my own. Wish me luck! :) Commented Jul 1, 2023 at 12:31

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