I am at a loss of what to do. I had started working on this project, a systematic review and meta-analysis back in undergrad. I was a senior. Long story short, for a while my manuscript was going well. Come August 2016, my mentor stopped communicating with me in the final stages. Weeks of no responses predominated, and as a result I emailed the Chair of the department on 3 separate occasions (over a total of 7 months). I was promised 3 different deadlines, all of which went unfulfilled. I finally emailed the dean in April when we got close to my final deadline of May 1, 2017. I got my edits, but I was 3 days away from leaving the area because I was heading off to graduate school.

I ended up telling my mentor I didn’t want to publish or take this situation into a new institution, but if I found someone who could advise and help me with the situation I would reach out to her. I expressed I had felt we had failed to meet the deadline and the outlook was bleak. She responded positively saying we hadn’t missed the deadline, but if I were open to forfeiting my primary authorship stance then she’d be glad to completely finish the manuscript. I took this as a direct offense to the work I had done because I had decided on the topic, done the data extraction, results, conclusions, and limitations of the paper.

I have found someone but am worried my old mentor will not follow through or will hinder the process again. My new adviser suggested I send her an ultimatum and deadline for her final comments for the manuscript and submit to a journal. However, as I am not a researcher, am going to grad school to be a clinician (current graduation 2019), and only have a bachelor’s degree, I am scared if I do this then I may lose her support for the manuscript.

How should I proceed?

I have received my MSc degree and I want to apply for Ph.D. programs.

I have an idea for an invention (this idea came from my master’s thesis), but it is not completely related to my field – I will need help from people of other fields to design this application.
The idea is new and it is not registered yet.

Since I am graduated, I don’t have any access to the university.
How should I approach a professor to team with me for this work? Is it possible?
If yes could you please give me a piece of advice or sample emails?

BWY, I’d like to study in a foreign country as well, e.g., in the USA.

Colleges could create search committees to assign honorary PhD’s to worthy recipients who may not have a college education. Potential PhD recipients may demonstrate their worthiness by means other than completing grad school, e.g. by making a major discovery or solving an open question.

For example, someone who makes a major discovery or does important work on an open problem could earn a PhD for their work if they’re enrolled in grad school. However, someone who does the same outside of grad school wouldn’t receive appropriate recognition of their abilities and accomplishments, preventing them from obtaining jobs that require an advanced degree.


  1. Do you think that honorary PhD search committees might be formed at some colleges?

  2. Do you think that someone who is able to write a doctoral thesis should be considered qualified to teach despite their lack of formal credentials?

  3. Would having credentials assigned by honorary search committees create systemic problems?

I’ve written up an idea about how the web can be better organized that I think is an important one, and which can be grasped at an intuitive level. However, I lack the resources to conclusively prove its validity and utility, given that it is in the field of Web Sciences, and I don’t have access to the necessary tools and techniques to go about experimentally verifying my idea.

How do I best go about pushing out this write-up? My options, as far as I can tell are:

  • Contact a full-time academic researcher who lives in the same city as me, and who works in this field

  • Try and publish this on my own (but where?)

Because of the intuitive appeal of the idea, I may not do too badly by pursuing option 2, but I’d like to know the pros and cons of pursing each option before I take a step either way.

I want to learn more about a specific part of a narrow, fledgling field. I want to have a 30 minute conversation with a the burgeoning experts in this area of study — they are all researchers at universities.

I have completed my undergrad in a related field, but at a different institution, and without formal training in the specialized area I’m investigating. But I have read up enough to be able to ask informed questions.

How can I get these busy people to give me a half an hour (or more) of their life when I don’t know anyone in their network and am an outsider? What can I offer them in exchange for their time? What is a good way to make contact and avoid a totally “cold call”?

This question already has an answer here:

The core of the problem is already in the title but I feel as i should add some more details.

I was doing some mathematics and, if there are no logical flaws or mistakes of any other nature (it seems that there are none) I managed to prove some result that, again, if it is proved with no errors, would, I believe, enrich the field in which it belongs.

Of course, I immediately started to think about arXiv.org and I decided that I want to submit an article there, but, when I was reading help section, there stands this, written:

Note: It is a violation of our policies to misrepresent your identity or institutional affiliation. Claimed affiliation should be current in the conventional sense: e.g., physical presence, funding, e-mail address, mention on institutional web pages, etc. Misrepresentation of identity or affiliation, for any reason, is possible grounds for immediate and permanent suspension.

But, as you are aware by now, I do not belong to any institution and as such, am not affiliated with any, I am just an amateur that among all fields thinks about mathematics the most. So, I have stumbled upon this cautious note quoted above and do not know what to do.

So, I decided to write to all of you here to see what can be done in this case of mine. I am not 100% sure that among all sites this is the one most suited for this problem of mine (for example, I could have written this on MO Meta or MSE Meta) but surely I will try to welcome opinions and help, even if they do not resolve this issue that I am faced with.

What should be done?

EDIT: This is not a complete duplicate of the question mentioned in such a way as this one is a duplicate of that one because the body of the question mentioned goes like this:

“Assume you have already completed your undergrad and have been working for a number of years. Does one need to be part of a university or a learning institution to publish papers?”

But, I did not complete my undergrad and I am working for a number of years (independently). so, there are some similiarites but the question is not exactly the same, although answers seem to fit well.

I’m in a unique situation. I do my investigations on my own. It means I’m not affiliated with any institutions and am not taking money from anyone. But it also means I have no one to turn to when I have my troubles and I need a guiding light. It means that instead of running to the advisor next door in some educational institution I have to rely on tracking, making contact and explaining my situation and problems to new people whom I meet primarily online.

I have my acquaintances in the universities of my home country and sometimes talk to them but they aren’t capable of supporting me. At least I have a link to the scientific search engines and can get the literature I need to continue the development of my interests. I have my dream of building enough materials for a PhD thesis and I have an university degree in science, but in order to turn it into reality I need contacts with people from other countries who can help with the questions the locals are unable to respond to. This is how I proceed for quite some time.

There is this person who may be able to help me but is also on the editorial board of a journal where I might have an actual chance to publish a paper. When I contact this person I’m not intending s/he to actually advice me how to publish in his/hers journal but the idea comes naturally as s/he seems to like what I’m working on and I have been searching for a place to publish for quite some time. I didn’t intended originally for this to happen but if s/he is indeed seeing something interesting in my work and is thinking the journal where s/he is editing may be the right place to publish should I deny this long awaited chance for me only because I have presented this research to its potential editor and now s/he may have agreed to help me format it in a way that will make it publishable at his/hers particular venue? Am I doing something morally wrong or unacceptable here?

The problem is this journal seems more like a friendly circle pamphlet than an actual academic research journal. It is peer reviewed (by its creators) and as far as I know it is indexed by at least scopus but its impact factor is something extremely low and it has very few papers published in it even on an yearly basis, so it is not exactly “guiding” the development of any field. My prime worry is that if my paper appears in this journal and I mention one of its editors in the acknowledgements as the person who helped me write my paper I fear this may have a negative feedback not only on myself but on the journal as whole. As I said it has very low impact factor and I think researchers (other than its editorial board) already regard it as somewhat dubious publication medium. And if now articles where the editors are acknowledged by some known-by-noone guy who claims to be a scientist but has neither a PhD, nor is affiliated to any university and comes from a non-Western country, start to appear, may be it will damage not only my non-existent reputation but also the reputation of the journal as a whole. Do my fears have any base in reality or am I thinking too much and blocking what is now my best chance of finally publishing my ideas? Are my fears real or am I shooting myself in the foot?

Does the previous contacts I have with the person who will potentially review my article constitute a conflict of interests between me and this journal?

P.S. I have thought of several ways to avoid the embarrassing situation but it seems nothing works. I thought of advising my article to be reviewed by some other editor but it seems like I know all the editors of this journal and they are all connected to each other by long years of friendship relationships, so they all know me and the person I’m talking about and what this research is about (it is quite unique, this is why it is something they just can’t take as someone else’s ideas), so whoever reviews it s/he will know who is helping me and what is this research about even before I submit my manuscript. As I told you the editorial board of this journal is extremely small (smaller than the number of the fingers on your hand) and they all know each other and I’m quite persistent “thorn in the foot”, so it is no secret for any of them who am I, what I am doing and who is helping me. I fear if this research goes through the “blind” review process the only “blind” thing that will remain s the number of people I would have to include in the acknowledgements, not the material itself. On the other hand, however, I feel like I need these people’s help because I haven’t been able to master my writing style on my own and they may be my only chance to actually get some professional help and finally format a descent publication. Should I be blowing away my best chance now because of fears I’m breaking the rules of the peer-review process? What steps should I take to keep it? Should I abandon my publication there because I have already made contacts with the editors and told them what would my paper be about and they had agreed here id the right place for it and now the only thing that remains is only to format it properly and fix my writing style so it can go online? Would this actually harm the journal’s reputation?

I have also considered proposing the editor to make a joint paper with his/hers name after mine, but the reply I got was it was my work here and I did the job, not him/her, so it would be unfair to prescribe him/her with such credits. Only a place in the acknowledgements will suffice. I feel like I may be doing something wrong here but am I? I have no publications and I have always been rejected due to various reasons up to now, so, I wonder what am I getting myself into, but see no other options left but to either agree with their advice an make the corrections they want to submit my article in their journal or to give up completely and search for other place to publish (may be some day in the distant future). What should I do?

I’m really wondering am I “screwing” the peer review system with what I’m doing?

I hold a Master’s degree in Anthropology, and I am thinking about pursuing a PhD. Alternatively, I am wondering whether it would be possible to obtain funding without a PhD for projects I’m working on already and with no ties to any institution. I have some published work, and I am preparing additional papers. Also, I am considering a diploma or degree in international development or journalism, which are things that will prepare me further to do independent research but donot take 5 years or more. Is independent research sustainable, and what form (s) would it take? Thanks!