How to get your PI read your manuscripts?

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How to get your PI read your manuscripts?

Postby Bryant » Sat Jan 07, 2017 4:54 pm

Hello forum,

I am a postdoc of 1.5 years experience. My PI is a well-known clinician in our field, but an absentee PI. I had my PhD with him, too. He is always very nice and supportive. Let me graduate in 4 years, support my green card application and put me as a co-chair in an international conference.

I have generated 5 manuscripts, and more in the pipeline. However, he is too busy, and never gets the chance to read them. One of them has been sitting there for over 1 year. I understand that he has many obligations, and publications may not be his priority. I have talked about this with him, and he always says he would read it 'this weekend' or 'tonight'. I also have tried to get him to read it when we meet. But still the same answer. I have been feeling frustrated for several reasons. 1) I hate the feeling of something unsolved for long. 2) Grant application requires a good publication record. 3) The green card of me and my wife requires many publications from me.

Getting him to read is the toughest job I have ever had. He actually did not read my thesis. And it took me 1 year to get his approval for submitting my first two papers in my PhD career. FYI, it is unlikely that he just does not like my research. I have been presenting the results in lab meetings and conferences, and he was really interested.

Any suggestions will be appreciated.
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Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2017 4:24 pm

Re: How to get your PI read your manuscripts?

Postby R Aitkin » Sat Jan 07, 2017 6:09 pm

Hi Bryant,

I've been in a very similar situation - also supervised by a very busy clinician.

I'm sorry I can't offer much more than sympathy. Strategies I've tried include: scheduling appointments via his secretary long in advance, printing paper copies of my work and pressing them into his hand when he's on the way to the airport; offering to meet at his home or favourite restaurant; and, as a very last resort, speaking to his head of department (HoD). I showed the HoD my email trail of gentle reminders to my supervsior and the HoD made a call to my supervisor on the spot, which got things moving again.
R Aitkin
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 8:58 am

Re: How to get your PI read your manuscripts?

Postby Lydia » Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:32 am

How important are these papers (or publications in general) to your PI's funding and overall career progression? What kind of shape are the manuscripts in?

A few suggestions:

Get your PI's buy-in to have a few others read the manuscript and give feedback. This could re-ignite his interest and give him some additional feedback as to how close to ready you are to submit.

Also, try to agree to a target submission date and plan out how to get there, including what you need from him and when (e.g., review of figures and overall content, review of draft manuscript, final approval of manuscript, review of cover letter, etc.)

Good luck!
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Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:29 pm

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