I have been working on a research project with my advisor and a few other graduate students for a little over a year. After a lot of dead-ends and lackluster results, we eventually managed to salvage bits from said dead-ends to come up with some ideas that gave us decent results that we are now at the stage of writing up into a paper.

At some point during the project, the other students seem to have lost interest in doing any writing work. At the end of every meeting, we discuss tasks and self-assign them. Some of these are writing tasks (including lit. surveys), and some of them are validation tasks. Everyone picks tasks of both kinds, but nobody ever seems to do the writing work. This has gotten to a point where 90% of the paper is written and edited entirely by me. Since we're approaching the deadline, I end up writing everyone else's parts as well. Even so, we are only a little over half-way to completion.

I have other project that are being pushed back because of how time consuming this has become. I would like advice on how to bring this up with my advisor; I don't want to be seen as the person who bad-mouths their colleagues but I am incredibly frustrated by this.

1 Answer 1


There is actually some advantage for the coherence of the paper if one person does all the actual writing. One option might be for you to ask the PI if you could take on that task, but drop others due to your overall load. Others can contribute notes and outlines, which I hope they are already providing. And they need to provide feedback on what you write.

I've been on a project like that where one person did all the actual writing. He was chosen for his literary ability, though he wasn't the lead author. It worked out well and produced a nice paper.

If you can't live with that solution, I'd just speak privately to the PI suggesting that you are worried that the writing isn't getting done and let them find a solution. You don't need to name names. You can also say that your load is untenable at the moment.


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