After reading this question on What is wrong with continuing to publish with your PhD adviser I wonder whether there is something like an "unwritten rule" for how long after getting your PhD is it suitable to publish with your supervisor.

Is there some sort of, let's say "secret statistic" related to the ratio of your own papers vs. your papers with your supervisor, upon you are rated among fellow scientist long after your graduation?

  • 1
    Any work that your supervisor contributed to should have their name on it. Now, you should go on to do other work with other folks if you are going to make a career of science.
    – Jon Custer
    Mar 15, 2016 at 20:52
  • A friend who got his Ph.D. in his 20s was still publishing with his committee chair 40 years later.
    – Bob Brown
    Mar 15, 2016 at 23:19
  • 3
    As the answers to the linked question say, the important thing is demonstrating independence. It's not that you can't keep working with your advisor, but you should branch out on your own as well (depending on your goals).
    – Kimball
    Mar 16, 2016 at 2:58
  • This is heavily field-dependent. Answers should absolutely mention for which field they are meant. Mar 16, 2016 at 13:14

2 Answers 2


You should not only publish with your advisor, because it suggests a lack of independence, and that rather than emerging as an independent researcher, you are still essentially "doing the work" for your advisor's ideas.

That being said, I know a number of people who still work with their advisors on projects - the key is to project an image of "long-standing partnership". This is especially compounded in public health (my field) where a single large study is a vast mine of potential papers, and so it's likely someone will be working on the same data with the same people long after they've started their own careers. The key is to have a place carved out that's clearly "Yours".

If there's a secret statistic for it, I must not have gotten my copy in the mail yet.

  • Well besides projecting an image, there's also doing research with someone in your exact same field.
    – user18072
    Mar 16, 2016 at 23:33
  • @djechlin That's not an assumption I'd necessarily make. You'd have to be using a pretty vague definition to consider my advisor and I in the exact same field, especially if you weren't viewing it as "Complementary skill sets working on the same problem."
    – Fomite
    Mar 16, 2016 at 23:34
  • 1
    Oh, come on. The statistic is secret. you aren't supposed to tell anybody you get it by mail.
    – vonbrand
    Mar 17, 2016 at 11:54

There is no limit. You can always write and publish with any other researcher(s) (e.g., PhD supervisor) as long as they like to do so as well.

  • 6
    However, it would be unwise to exclusively publish with your adviser. One might be considered unoriginal. I once saw a job where the number of publications from post-PhD work (i.e. not listing PhD advisor as coauthor) was a selection criterion. Mar 15, 2016 at 22:23

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