I have patiently waited for over six months for my supervisor to review two 30 page manuscripts. They have yet to do so. Furthermore they will not allow me to submit them to journals unless they have had a chance to read them.

I am at the end of my PhD and am looking to submit soon. They have yet to read my thesis - though they have also had several parts since early this year. I have sent many emails and spoke to them in person explaining the stress this is causing. I have heard every excuse under the sun. What can I do about this?

I think I need to approach the department, however I'm not if that will make the situation worse. I believe its to late to find a new supervisor and if the department does talk to the current supervisor, the supervisor could just delay me even further. I'm trying to find some one else to review the work currently and hopefully that will suffice. However the supervisor still needs to OK it before I can send it off - so in that respect I'm stuck. I've pushed the supervisor as fair as I as and have explained to the the stress this is causing to no avail. Any suggestions?

  • You seem to be very emotional with the issue (and I understand that) but have you done anything? Like explaining to your supervisor the problems he's causing you?
    – Emilie
    Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 16:09
  • 1
    There are a lot of questions in your question (most of which we cannot answer). While the titular question can be answered, there is not much we can say about it except: “No, this is too much.” Please specify what exactly you want to know. (Also, I suggest that you browse the authorship tag.)
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 16:13
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    However the supervisor still needs to OK it before I can send it off — Unless your advisor is a coauthor, they cannot ethically prevent you from submitting your work for publication.
    – JeffE
    Commented Nov 27, 2015 at 14:34

2 Answers 2


Your supervisor's slow response rate is clearly holding you back. It's time to talk to your department administration about the problem.

When you do so, please state the problem in neutral terms. Examples of things to leave out: This individual tends to over-promise and then not deliver with external funding bodies.... It has been myself and another who have always come through, at the expense of our personal (unpaid and recognised) time, for the good of the group's image. That may all be true, but administration will probably respond in a more useful way if you can keep the emotions out of your exposition. (This is not to say that I don't understand your frustration.)

Meanwhile, please find at least one knowledgeable and trustworthy person to show your manuscripts to, so you can get some useful feedback on them.


Before escalating things with the department, first try managing your supervisor by taking control of the process. If you stay in academia, this sure not to be the last time you deal with somebody that is very busy/slow to respond. The best way to get responses out of such people is by (politely) setting them deadlines. For example send your supervisor an e-mail (with your draft attached/linked):

I am planning to submit this manuscript to journal X next Monday. If you have any comments could you send me any comments you may have by Friday?

Thanks, user2350366

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