1st authorship and the research blues

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by TheRock, Aug 26, 2002.

  1. TheRock

    TheRock Junior Member
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    Okay, this thread is for those who have had some indirect or direct experience in the publishing end of research... I'm not trying to exclude people or anything, its just I want a relevant conversation.

    Here is my situation. I am about finished with my own original research I have conducted in a neurosurgery laboratory. I have written the paper by myself. My question deals with authorship. Can it be published in strong journals, like the Journal of Neurosurgery, with my name as a first author even though I don't have a md, phd, or anything (i'll graduate this next spring from college)? All the other peripheral names of course will be md's or md/phds's, but I would almost consider it intellectual robbery for me not to be the first author.

    Second question deals with submission to journals... one of the residents told me today not to aim for such a strong journal, like the Journal of Neurosurgery, but something in the middle. However, my PI always publishes in J. of Neursurg. and others including myself feel there is serious implications at stake in this paper... not to brag, but it is powerful in tumor classification, and I feel it deserves to be in a strong journal so that many people will read it... so do I submit it to a middle-class journal and play it safe, or do I "go for the gusto", since I only live once? I think I should go for the gusto, and screw the resident (figuratively, not literally), even though he is a nice gentleman.

    Thanks
    TheRock
     
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  3. sluox

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    (1) your academic standing has no bearing on the journal of publication. i've seen undergrads publishing on Nature/Science...rare, but it happens.

    (2) if you think you are good enough, submit it to a highly regarded journal by all means. if you get rejected you can always submit it again to a lesser journal
     
  4. DW

    DW Fix me some sandwiches
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    its funny, in all the correspondence with the editors, they would always address me as "doctor". I always wondered if i told them i didn't have an advanced degree would they look at the paper unfavorably. if your work is good, it will get pub no matter if you're still an undergrad

    go ahead at try to put it into a big name journal if you want too. the thing with some of the biggies (i think new england, lancet, etc) is that they ask you to detail the specific contributions of each author, and they can take the liberty of dropping someone from the author line by their standards.

    good luck
     
  5. Airborne

    Airborne Senior Member
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    TheRock:

    sluox and DW are absolutely correct. Academic "rank" has little to do with what journal to submit your work. If you feel the work is of sufficient quality for J Neurosurg, then by all means send it there. However, even if your PI publishes a lot in this journal, it does not necessarily mean the present work is of the same quality - it may be more or less substantial... That is for the reviewers to decide!

    Also, in general, and especially for your first, "first author" submission, I would really rely on the senior author to make the decision where to send it. After you have been active in the field for awhile, you will have a little more "feel" of which journals are more appropriate for what ever it is you are submitting. This just comes with time, and after having submitted a few publications, some of which will no doubt come back rejected and ?recommended? for lower tier journals.

    In anycase, congratulations on a first author manuscript as an undergraduate!

    Airborne.
     
  6. atsai3

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    The question of where to submit also depends on timing. If you really want to have the paper in press by the time you apply to medical school (or, better yet, have the paper published by the time you apply), you might consider applying to a lower tier journal. If you apply to a top journal, by the time it makes it through the review process and gets rejected, you're set back by weeks (at best) or months (typically).

    That brings up the other problem: somebody might scoop you.

    So if it isn't time sensitive, or you are confident that your material is suitable for a top journal, I'd say go for the big cheese.

    -a.
     
  7. tBw

    tBw totally deluded
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    This isn't really the case. Nature and Science are much quicker to publish than lower tier journals as they want to lead the cutting edge.
     
  8. loomis

    loomis Lifetime Student
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    for the big dog journals like nature or science, the turnaround might be quicker but at least for some of the top field specific journals, it can be a nightmare to publish. in psychiatry, the british journal of psychiatry and journal of abnormal psych are some of the top journals and it takes people almost a year+ to get through submissions, edits, and re-submissions!
     
  9. atsai3

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    Even top tier journals have extended turnarounds -- especially on articles of a controversial nature. I've heard of JAMA or NEJM requesting two cycles of revise-and-resubmits, each with 3-4 reviewers.

    Even if the turnaround at a particular journal is good (say, they get back to you with an initial decision in 8 weeks but reject you after the first rewrite), that still sets you back some 3-4 months when you could have already had your revisions in at a slightly lower tier but shoo-in journal. Sometimes all you care about is that your idea is in print, not necessarily that it's in a top tier journal.

    -a.
     
  10. DW

    DW Fix me some sandwiches
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    nature and science are different. their articles are more like "editorials" then studies. most of the biggy science journals (new england, lancet, jama) it can take ages to get it through multiple reviews.
     
  11. tBw

    tBw totally deluded
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    umm...no. I agree that Nature and Science *are* different from other journals. The articles are concise presentations of the most cutting edge and cross-discipline research. However, they are *not* editorial. They are complete studies, and many studies once published there, do not see any further publication.

    I don't disagree that time lines on jama etc are different. That is irrefutable. My response was to the post that posited that all top journals necessarily took longer. That's not the case. My response was specific to Nature and Science. If you read it you will see I didn't say jama or lancet.
     
  12. tBw

    tBw totally deluded
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    I'm also not sure where this idea that lower tier journals are necessarily quicker comes from. Although your chances of acceptance is higher for a lower tier journal, that doen't mean it gets done quicker. Last time I published in New England they had it in print inside of 10 weeks. My most recent paper has taken 3 years (in a much, much lower tier journal), due to ridiculous amounts of time for reviewers and the fact that the editors are volunteer, have no staff support and are simply not professional enough about tracking papers. I'm not saying it's always that way round either. *Some* lower tier journals are quick. But there is not always a correlation between speed and likelihood of acceptance for a journal.
     
  13. Airborne

    Airborne Senior Member
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    I agree with Boy Wonder.

    In addition, you may consider whether or not the journal has on-line submission, as I find this *significantly* reduces the turn-around time.

    I suppose previous postings are in line with this is the fact, as the higher impact journals seem to have on-line submission, whereas many low impact factor journals still rely on snail mail.
     
  14. DW

    DW Fix me some sandwiches
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    ok, editorial was a bad word but i didnt feel like typing a lot at the time and couldnt think of something better. yes they are condensed study overviews of research that tend not to be as formal as things you see in other journals, that was pretty much my point

    i at least never said lower tier journals are quicker. trust me, i'm learning that firsthand right now :(
     
  15. bubblywatr

    bubblywatr Junior Member
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    i think the record for speediest publication is JBC rapid communications...something like 2hrs after submission
     
  16. Necrotic

    Necrotic Junior Member
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    One more point:

    When writing a manuscript, you should maybe do so with a specific journal in mind, at least where you intend to send it first. Alot of them have specific requirements as to length of Intro, how many words allowed in the abstract, how to reference articles, etc...

    I found this out late, and it cost me about an extra month.

    -N
     

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