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I am in my 3rd year of PhD. After I have written the paper, there is a minimum of 10 times check and correction cycle going on between me and my advisor. He checks grammar and english errors, but never have I seen him give any technical input for improvement of the paper. Instead, after I have completed my part and given it to him for checking, he would say things like, "yes will check it", "very busy now", and by doing this 2 months passes by. Now he does this everytime the checking phase comes. So nearly 5 6 months minimum is wasted in just the checking process. Again he wants me to give 7 journal paper for PhD and I will be paid for a maximum of 3 more years. Right now, 1 paper has been communicated and 1 I am about to communicate. Its just too much of pressure. Please tell me what to do. Please help...

  • Hmm. Is this an advisor or an extremely slow proofreading service? – aparente001 Mar 16 '17 at 10:20
  • Advisor , professor.. god knows how – girl101 Mar 16 '17 at 10:21
  • There are a lot of questions here about unsatisfactory relationships with the advisor. Take a look. Generally they boil down to considering the alternatives. – aparente001 Mar 16 '17 at 10:23
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I had a similar issue. I found that the major problem was that I was a "drafter" and my advisor was a "planner" in terms of writing style - my style was to write a draft, get the technical points correct, and then wordsmith the exact meaning and clarify my points. My advisor, on the other hand, wanted me to carefully plan each of my arguments before even starting to write so that it was absolutely clear what my contribution was, why it was important, why it was novel, and why my work was sufficient to support it.

It was quite frustrating, to be honest. I strongly recommend meeting with your advisor to clarify how exactly he wants you to work on each paper. One of the purposes of a PhD education is to turn you into a researcher who is independent, so eventually you'll have to learn to edit your own papers anyway. If the issues are typically minor, like English and grammar, don't wait on your advisor. Send it off to an editor and get that part out of the way. If there are common issues on things like clarity and whether your arguments are sufficient, spend more time planning out how you are arguing each point, how you are backing up each claim, and why it's valid, before even writing the paper. This will give you a much stronger paper anyway.

Now, I don't know your field, but 7 journal papers out of 1 PhD seems excessive to me. I've heard from top researchers that they expect 3 from a PhD, and I myself graduated with only 1 in a great journal, plus two more in a smaller journal. I think that expectation is also something to discuss with your advisor. What do other grad students in your group say? Are they having the same problem, or is it just you? if it's just you, what are they doing differently?

  • All of the other members are facing the same problem of delayed checking. It is so annoying specially when you do not expect anything from apart apart from grammar check. My advisor tells me nothing previously regarding what work he wants from me or how the paper should be structured. He gives no comments on results, or methodology. Just does grammar check. And delays even that.... – girl101 Mar 16 '17 at 3:18
  • I think that if there are enough of you who have an issue, then it's clearly the advisor's problem. I suggest talking to the advisor about this, and explaining that you can't possibly meet your target if he doesn't work with you quickly enough. If it doesn't go well, the entire research group should talk to him together. If that doesn't go well, then yes, it's important to think about alternatives and other avenues. – Michael Stachowsky Mar 16 '17 at 12:36
  • Alternative other avenues meaning ? Does it mean I leave PhD or change advisor ? – girl101 Mar 16 '17 at 13:26
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    Not necessarily. You could get the dean or the grad supervisor involved to see if there is a problem that can be more easily resolved first. In fact, I'd suggest that option first, since you are already 3 years in. I'm not sure how your school works, but I feel that it must have some grad studies office. most do – Michael Stachowsky Mar 16 '17 at 15:41

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