Students walk past aisles of books in  Shields Library on Wednesday October 8, 2014 at UC Davis.

Publication Guidelines

Guidelines for Facilitating Publication of Graduate Student Work


Publications in journals, books, and other professional media are the currency of achievement in academic research and scholarship.  Dissertations alone are often insufficient for students to advance to an academic career, a major goal of graduate programs. Indeed, many Ph.D. dissertations consist of a set of publications that represent the student’s work during the graduate training period. Publishing is a race against time for graduate students, who have only a few years in which to plan and perform research, write manuscripts, submit them, and revise them. Often the work must be sent in succession to several different outlets before it is accepted. Delay in any of these steps will at best prolong graduate training, and at worst imperil future career opportunities. Thus, timely publication of research is essential to the professional success of graduate students.

In rare cases, current or former graduate students may face unjustified delay in the publication of work from their thesis or dissertation that is imposed by their major professors, principal investigators, collaborators, funders, or others. This may occur, for example, when the person causing the delay is a co-author on the work and venues for publication require approval by all co-authors for consideration. Regarding theses and dissertations, UC Davis Graduate Council Policy on Service on Advanced Degree Committees (GC1998-01, rev. 06), states, “reading committee members are expected to read and comment on a thesis or dissertation within four weeks.” Upon failure of a committee member to comply with the 4-week deadline, the Graduate Advisor may reconstitute the committee which will then be conveyed to the Dean of Graduate Studies for approval.” The procedures below follow this policy and provide guidelines to facilitate timely publication of thesis or dissertation work by graduate student authors.

Delays in publication are not unique to graduate students, and disagreements among co-authors or with manuscript editors or referees are not uncommon. Yet compressed time pressures and power asymmetries may be especially acute for graduate student authors. The procedures below are modeled after guidelines by funding agencies, the University of California Academic Senate, and other bodies that address similar problems.  The process is guided by the need to be as equitable, constructive, and non-adversarial as possible, with opportunities for external review and field-specific evaluations.

Authorship Policies 


Discussion Among Student, Co-authors, and Program

Ideally, in the case of a delay in publication or a disagreement over authorship, the student and co-authors will work together to find a resolution.  If an additional perspective is helpful, either party may engage with the Graduate Program Chair or someone else familiar with the field who can help assess the status of the manuscript.

Notification of the Dean of Graduate Studies

If informal mediation within the program is unsuccessful, the student should notify the Dean of Graduate Studies or designee (Associate) Dean of the impasse. The Dean will review such allegations, and if the Dean determines that they do potentially have merit, the Dean shall forward the complaint to the Administrative Committee of Graduate Council for an impartial evaluation of the authorship issues.

Administrative Committee Inquiry

The Administrative Committee will conduct a review and make a preliminary determination as to whether the complaint has merit. If it determines that the complaint has merit, it will document its determination in writing with a brief explanation of the basis for the determination and a recommendation to the Chair of the graduate program that the parties should proceed with the Facilitation Process outlined below. A copy of the determination and recommendation shall be provided to the Graduate Dean, Lead Dean, and the graduate student complainant. If the review determines that the complaint does not have merit, the Graduate Council will notify the Dean and the complainant. 

Facilitation Process

The Chair of the graduate program will engage the parties in a facilitation process, consistent with UC Davis Graduate Council Policy GC1998-01 (rev. 06). The Chair of the graduate program may also designate another faculty member of the program to serve in this role designated as “Chair” in these guidelines if the Graduate Chair has a conflict of interest. 

The Chair of the graduate program will ask the graduate student complainant (and other co-authors) to prepare the manuscript, and then present it to the individual causing the delay for at most two rounds of review. In each round of review, the individual causing the delay will have four weeks to suggest changes to the manuscript. The Chair of the graduate program can consider requests for additional time due to extenuating circumstances, such as travel or illness. The graduate student complainant is expected to integrate reasonable suggestions into the manuscript or explain why they decline to do so. Co-authors also will be allowed to review the manuscript in a timely manner before submission for publication. A record of the comments and responses should be retained by the graduate student complainant.

Determination by Expert Panel

In cases where there are disagreements over whether suggested changes are reasonable, whether the graduate student has sufficiently addressed reasonable suggestions, or whether the manuscript is suitable for submission to publication, the Chair of the graduate program will ask the Lead Dean to appoint a panel of three experts in the subject matter of the student’s research to review the issues and make a recommendation with regard to publication. Members of the expert panel will be identified by number and remain anonymous. At the discretion of the Lead Dean the panel may include members of the graduate student’s dissertation committee, their major professor, or experts from outside UC Davis. No member of the panel should have an authorship role on the manuscript or other conflict of interest with the disputing parties. 

After consideration of the available information, the expert panel should make a determination of the facts and their opinion as to whether and how the graduate student may proceed with publication. The determination by the expert panel shall be put in writing and provided to the graduate student complainant, the Chair of the graduate program, Administrative Committee of Graduate Council, the Graduate Dean and Lead Dean. The determination may include recommendations that:

  • the person causing the delay voluntarily remove their name from co-authorship on the manuscript and permit the graduate student to submit the manuscript for publication without their name;
  • the graduate student who has done the majority of the research be given the option of serving as the corresponding author, in accordance with the custom in the particular discipline of the work; 
  • the graduate student is allowed to submit the work for publication without the approval of the person causing the unjustified delay;
  • another recommendation, based on the specifics of the manuscript.

Intervention by the Lead Dean

If the determination by the expert panel does not lead to timely submission for publication, the Lead Dean, in consultation with the Chair of the graduate program and Graduate Studies, has the discretion to intervene to assist the graduate student with submitting the manuscript for publication, in accordance with the rules of the venue for publication, and with approval of other co-authors as follows: 

The Dean may provide a statement to the graduate student that the manuscript has been subject to intervention by the Dean and that there is a recommendation that the student may proceed with submission for publication without the consent of the person causing the delay. 

The student may submit the Dean’s statement with the cover letter of the submitted manuscript, along with a copy of these guidelines and the record of determinations and recommendations made by the Administrative Committee and the panel of experts. 

Additionally, the Lead Dean or other person familiar with the case may consider referring the matter to Academic Affairs, if:

The person causing the delay refuses to participate in this process or abide by the recommendation of the expert panel. The Dean may refer the matter to Academic Affairs to for consideration of disciplinary action pursuant to Academic Personnel Manual (APM) 015, the Faculty Code of Conduct. Unjustified delay may violate Part II.A.1 of the Faculty Code of Conduct which includes “failure to meet the responsibilities of instruction, including…undue and unexcused delay in evaluating student work” as a type of unacceptable conduct subject to disciplinary action.  

After Submission for Publication

During any revisions of the manuscript and during the publication process, all co-authors will be allowed to review the revised manuscript in a timely manner before re-submission.

After a work is ready to be submitted for publication pursuant to this process, the person causing the delay may not interfere with the submission of the manuscript or with its subsequent publication. Contacting the venue to which the publication is to be or has been submitted to interfere with publication is considered to be acting in bad faith and may be considered a form of retaliation in violation of the Faculty Code of Conduct APM 015. Any such conduct may be referred to Academic Affairs for consideration of disciplinary action. 

Grievance Rights

Any individual who disagrees with the outcome of this process may file a grievance pursuant to the applicable grievance procedure.  Senate members may file a grievance with the Academic Senate Committee on Privilege and Tenure: Investigative Subcommittee in accordance with Divisional bylaws and procedures. Non-Senate academic appointees may file a grievance through APM 140 or procedures provided in an applicable bargaining agreement.  Graduate students may find grievance and complaint resolution procedures on the Graduate Student Association website.