This July I will be in the fifth year of my PhD. I am doing my PhD from India in bioinformatics. Within my four years, one year was for coursework, so that I did not get to delve deep into research in that time. In our institute, every year we have an annual evaluation, where it is decided whether a student’s fellowship will be extended for the next year or not. Today, my advisor expressed to me that he is not happy with my work.

My current work status:

  • one published review article,
  • one article has been rejected four times in peer-review. Most of the times, the decision was based on technical issues raised by the only peer reviewer. I try to incorporate all the reviewers’ comments as much as possible.
    Not much of language related issues by reviewers.
  • two articles are ready for their first submission to journals (my advisor still not happy with grammar),
  • another article is in preparation.

I think the amount of work is pretty good to get an extension. When I asked him why he is unhappy, he said he had no question regarding the volume of work but my grammar mistakes are too much (I did tell him that I make my paper go through Grammarly (free version) and Microsoft word and also my husband who himself is a PhD). He also said that my papers are not getting accepted; hence he isn’t happy. Each draft that I write goes through about twenty times of checking by my advisor, yet they are getting rejected.
I am not getting any technical help from my advisor so I have to depend on the reviewers’ comments for this.

My point is: The work is in my hand but not paper acceptance right? It’s no one’s fault that paper isn’t getting accepted, right?

These uncertainties of probable fellowship discontinuation are stressing me out. I do not know what to do. Sometimes it feels like I will give up. Can somebody please tell me how to make my professor understand that paper acceptance is not in my hand and that he is increasing stress in my life which is doing me no good? How do I make him understand that grammar mistakes and papers not getting accepted are either too trivial an issue or out of my control (respectively), so that he does not discontinue my fellowship? Can someone point out to me where my mistake is?

What I have understood is that he wants me to work till 2021. My institute will allow me to submit my PhD before 2021 and not beyond that. But he wants to stop my fellowship. It’s like working without pay. He wants me to work without fellowship. He is not saying he doesn’t want me as a PhD student.

Also, my institute does not have the privilege of having a writing center or having someone who checks English before publishing. We do all of this alone. Indian universities mostly doesn’t have these priviledges. And mine isn’t even a university, it’s a research institute.

Now many of you may be thinking I am not working hard enough. I try to dedicate as much time possible to my research.

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