I'm working on the project of a professor in my school, expecting its results to help with my graduate admissions. We're already on the process of writing the research paper, but my professor told me he's planning on delaying its publication so he can work on another project while getting funding for the work we're doing. So I have two questions about this:

  • Is this a common practice in a professional level?
  • What can I do to get this paper going? Even if it's not published. I was thinking about presenting a preprint as part of my applications, but I'm not sure if it'll work since it hasn't started a peer-review process or something of that matter.
  • 2
    Have you talked to your professor about your concerns? You should mention that you were hoping to use this paper in your graduate admissions.
    – Ric
    Oct 5, 2016 at 18:57
  • @Ric I haven't talked with him about my concerns yet, He told me that on our last meeting, he was somewhat busy and I was astonished by it, so I didn't talked about that.
    – Rono
    Oct 5, 2016 at 19:05
  • It sounds like "What can I do to get this paper going" is a question that can only be answered in consultation with your advisor. We really don't know enough of the details to be useful here.
    – ff524
    Oct 6, 2016 at 4:47
  • Can't you publish a preliminary article as a conference proceedings? In this way, you can publish the article later, and also have something for now.
    – Nikey Mike
    Oct 6, 2016 at 10:35
  • @MikeyMike that seems like a viable option I should consider in case I don't get to convince him to publish the paper. Thanks for the suggestion.
    – Rono
    Oct 6, 2016 at 16:11

1 Answer 1


Doing research means working on questions for which the answer is unknown, and in fact may remain unknown for a long time. Unfortunately, this simple fact is only moderately compatible with project-based research funding, since funding agencies would like to know right now what you're going to discover in the next two years. Some funding agencies have a rather relaxed attitude in this matter: My late doctoral advisor used to begin every project progress report with the statement "We had promised to investigate A, but in the meantime our interests have changed, and so we've rather investigated B" and he always got away with it, because the funding agency was only interested in the number of publications. But if a funding agency gets picky when comparing project proposals and progress reports, things become more difficult. In such cases, researchers are often tempted to simplify writing the progress reports by putting those problems into the project proposal for which they already have a rather good idea how to solve them, but no publication yet.

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