My PhD supervisor is co-editing a Journal Special Issue, in a good journal, even if not top-ranking, with double blind peer-review (three reviewers are asked for the review). And I'm tempted to submit a paper (which fits with the topic of the Issue).

I've recently obtained my PhD, and I see that in order to apply for prestigious grants (such as the ERC grants) a requisite is "having produced at least one important publication without the participation of their PhD supervisor" (ERC starting grant).

In this case, it would be a solely authored paper (not invited by the Supervisor but submitted to blind review).

Is it worth to try and publish it there? When the paper is evaluated by a judging panel, will the fact that the Issue is edited by my supervisor be a negative factor?

  • Why not send it on the same journal in a regular issue? Review time should be roughly the same.
    – PsySp
    Feb 22, 2017 at 16:41
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    DId you ask your supervisor about this? Feb 22, 2017 at 17:00
  • Ask the grant support people, they are the only ones who can answer questions about interpretation of the grant conditions with any authority. The contact address for questions is at the bottom of the ERC page you linked to.
    – Dan Romik
    Feb 23, 2017 at 13:57
  • @DanRomik I am not sure about this. Ultimately, the ERC will rely on reviewers and the have little control about how the reviewers will judge such a detail.
    – Dirk
    Feb 23, 2017 at 14:02
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    I don't see a problem here. You should tell your supervisor anyway that you submit the paper there. Assuming your supervisor has a high standard of ethics, they will then tell the editor in chief about this conflict of interest and another editor will handle the submission.
    – user9482
    Feb 23, 2017 at 16:09

2 Answers 2


It's not surprising this might happen. That your advisor is on the board (or equivalent) for a journal you might submit to is a situation often encountered. If you want to make sure no conflicts exist, ask your advisor to recuse himself from all decisions regarding your particular contribution. He might already have planned to, given the obvious conflict.


I think it is in fact a smart idea to publish in a specal issue edited by your supervisor. The conflict of interest supposition is something best left to your Supervisor, and he will and can be very explicit in what needs to be done thru the usual communication channels.

You must focus on how it looks to the scientific/management community at large that is your audience. And That is positive , not about the conflict of interest.

Anyone that reads your work will recognize your supervisor and people at your phd university without much effort, because the dissertation would also be available online, but mostly because you and him write on the same pain points and have illuminated research together in a particular field. You are already joined at the hip whether you like it or not, it is best to use it constructively and shine in the work you do together.

Even though you are not doing the piece together, and maybe you should even explore doing it together to make it more relevant, your work will be especially relevant in the right context and this special issue is likely to give you that right context for others like me looking for your work on that subject at a later time.

It is not at all surprising to find the context having changed on you in two years and then you may not have the opportunity.

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