Is it any biased view from a viewpoint of a big country, where you have many chances to change laboratories/universities/working groups, vs. a small one?

Suppose you are from a small country when there is only one laboratory in your field and you want to stay in that country due to family reasons. Then you probably have these options:

  • stay there and get published with your supervisor;
  • move to another country for some years and come back (and you will end up with your supervisor);
  • move to related field and you will probably end up with some sort of collaboration with your supervisor anyway.

Are these options considered "weak" from an academic's perspective?

  • 7
    You can collaborate with people in other countries, without moving to those countries.
    – gerrit
    Mar 15, 2016 at 14:23
  • 2
    Ask yourself this: Why would the funding agency want to support two senior scientists in a lab that previously only needed one? To make this work in the long term, that is the question you need to answer. Mar 15, 2016 at 22:26
  • 1
    What is your goal? In my (non lab) field, if someone only publishes with their supervisor, there's concern about this person being independent. However that's for hiring considerations, but if you've already got a job there and want to stay there, why does this matter for you?
    – Kimball
    Mar 16, 2016 at 2:51

3 Answers 3


Do good work and publish in high impact journals. As long as you're doing good work, then it really shouldn't matter who you are publishing with. I don't think I've ever read a paper from a small country and had a preconceived notion about the quality of the work. However, if your lab becomes well known for a research area then I think that's a benefit and not a hindrance.

  • 5
    It shouldn't but it may. And I notice that I have an initial bias against papers I see coming out of unknown places.
    – Kimball
    Mar 16, 2016 at 2:53
  • Small countries like NZ like things from "overseas" Small countries can produce good world class stuff that all goes overseas and is almost never used locally.
    – Autistic
    Mar 16, 2016 at 10:54

When you say "is bad", it very likely depends on who will be doing the judging, and for what. In my university, in Canada, publishing without your supervisor is seen as a sign of an independent research career; this is explicitly mentioned in the criteria documents. I also know that this is not necessarily the case in other countries.

The bottom line is that if you publish in good venues, speak at conferences, and interact with other researchers, you will make a name for yourself. The more you do this, who you publish with will become irrelevant.


I don't get why publishing with your advisor would be considered bad. Actually, it is expected that unless you left in bad terms, you will keep collaborating with him/his lab. In a world where connections and good collaborations are gold, why would you cut a good one?

That said, the problem is if you publish only with your supervisor for some time after your PhD. This shows that at the least you are unable to form any new collaborations, or even worse produce your own independent work.

Do not confuse the two between them. For example, my PhD advisor is a brilliant researcher and we work amazingly well. So, I keep working with him. However, I also work with many other people that I met through him or after I left his lab.

In your case, if you choose to stay in the same lab, then gradually try to set up your own collaborations. Any well respected professor wouldn't ask you to be included in your publications if he hasn't contributed. If he does, then it's another problem altogether.

  • The reason you do not continue to publish with your PhD advisor (finishing up leftover works excepted) is that one of the things the PhD signifies is that you are an independent researcher. Continuing to work with your PhD advisor undermines your ability to claim independence.
    – aeismail
    Mar 18, 2016 at 2:29
  • 1
    I respectfully disagree. Once you have gotten your own projects and even some students, nobody cares if you publish with your advisor or not. If out of 5 papers you get, 1 is with your advisor, how does that make you "not independent"? If however, some time after your PhD, all your papers are with your advisor, that is a problem.
    – electrique
    Mar 18, 2016 at 11:21

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