It has been nearly four months since I finished my Master's degree and I do not yet have any publications.

Around this time last year, I and my two thesis advisors submitted a paper to a conference and it was rejected with a score of "borderline paper" (unlucky me, that year there were so many quality studies).

Now, I look back and see that that paper was poorly written and did not have a clear message.

I am not claiming that I am the paper-writing-guru, but I believe that I have improved.

What I think is, without asking to my advisor, keeping him busy too much, should I write a paper and submit it to a conference? (of course, not a bogus conference). Or should I be more patient and wait for him to approve a manuscript to submit it somewhere?

If I write a paper based on my thesis and submit it to a conference, is that accepted as doing something behind someone's back?

Edit: I see that I should not submit a paper based on my thesis without co-authorship of my supervisor. What about submitting a paper based on a different topic within the same area of research?

  • 6
    What? You are planning to send the same paper "I and my two thesis advisors submitted to a conference" after improving it, without the other two co-authors? This is not just unethical, it is stupid. And who will give you then reference letters after screwing them both? Or accuse you for plagiarism or worse, since this paper was already submitted to a previous conference (there are records for it you know). If you do not understand the basics of scientific publishing, please learn them before doing anything that will mean the end of your scientific career.
    – Alexandros
    Commented May 16, 2015 at 14:06
  • 2
    Please stop editing the question to add new questions. If you want to ask a new question, ask it as a separate question. Stack Exchange is not designed for back-and-forth discussions. Commented May 16, 2015 at 16:52
  • 6
    I see that I should not submit a paper based on my thesis without co-authorship of my supervisor. — No, that's not the point at all. Revising a paper does not give you the right to remove coauthors. The fact that your coauthors on the original submission were your advisors is utterly irrelevant.
    – JeffE
    Commented May 16, 2015 at 18:01
  • Understand that very often only one of the authors of a paper does all the writing/revisions while the others are supervisors/scientific advisor. That doesn't mean that because they have not written it they should be no coauthors! Thats just crazy to think! Commented May 16, 2015 at 19:03
  • I think there is a misunderstood situation. I am not telling you that I will sumbit an improved paper. I am talking about a paper that I have wrote on my own, carried out experiments on my own etc. I also do the revisions. Sorry for the ambiguity.
    – padawan
    Commented May 16, 2015 at 21:09

1 Answer 1


You should never submit a paper without the active consent of the co-authors. If your advisor is a co-author (and they probably will be for work based on your Masters thesis), then you definitely must have their consent to submit. You can do most of the writing yourself, if you want, since you probably have more time to devote to this than your advisor, but you should talk with your advisor about your intent early in the process and must determine authorship.

Addressing the follow-on question in your edit: new research conducted independently from any work done during your Masters, however, need not have your advisor as a co-author.

  • I thought that I could submit a single-author paper. But what I understand is that would be unethical.
    – padawan
    Commented May 16, 2015 at 13:25
  • 11
    @cagirici It depends on the traditions of your field and the type of involvement of your advisor. I published work from my Masters as a single author paper; others I know needed to include their advisors. What you must do is have a conversation about authorship with your advisor, in which you determine whether you are publishing single-author or with your advisor(s) as co-author.
    – jakebeal
    Commented May 16, 2015 at 13:28
  • This is the ultimate answer to my question. I should never get out of my depth!
    – padawan
    Commented May 16, 2015 at 21:10

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