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Say that someone has already spent three years in PhD with an advisor who never revises their drafts for journal submission for a period longer than 8 months given imaginary excuses. However, when it comes to conference papers the advisor has time since conference drafts are short and there is a deadline. I am wondering what should the PhD student do in this situation.

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    Have you tried splitting the journal draft revision task into more manageable slices, and asking the advisor to commit to a schedule for each slice? – Patricia Shanahan Mar 11 '17 at 17:13
  • @PatriciaShanahan I have tried everything with him. It is not just one draft they are many. Plus he always keeps promising to have time by giving exact dates then it never happens. Right now I just break down some of them into multiple conference papers to not loose them because they are getting very outdated. – user2987 Mar 11 '17 at 17:17
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    You may have already tried this, but how about asking him, in advance, to commit to submitting on a specific date? If he does have time to revise before then, great. If not, he agrees to submit your best effort. He may be quite likely to agree because he expects to have time before then. – Patricia Shanahan Mar 11 '17 at 17:40
  • I've heard this one before. – Anonymous Physicist Mar 12 '17 at 9:27
  • Give the advisor a deadline and polish the paper yourself. After the deadline passes, submit the paper yourself. – JeffE Mar 12 '17 at 16:16
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You may have tried the following approach already. If not, here it goes: You could approach your advisor by asking whether he thought the draft was missing any results or needed additional work. If he says no, then, ask whether you could set a target date for submission and to have weekly meetings to discuss various parts of your paper. Also, express your concerns and explain how important it is for your career to get credit/recognition for your work. All of this can be done politely and face-to-face.

This approach worked for me when I was a graduate student.

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