Asking/Requesting to do work that will get me published? Need advice

Aug 14, 2020
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I have been doing research at an institution for more than a year now, and am contributing a significant amount of time and help to the lab but I have not been offered anything regarding a pub as a co-author.

I want to ask if I can do anything more that would result in me being published. How should I go about this/what should I do?
 
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Deltasidearm

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I cannot speak on their thoughts but what I would do in this situation would depend heavily on my relationship with my mentor/PI.

However, there is something very critical to consider. In research, the amount of time you work on something is extremely irrelevant. It is all about the actual progress and meaningful contributions you make to the project. For example, working for a year doing dishes, learning about a project, and occasionally setting something up is very different than working for a year independently generating results while making intellectual contributions to the work.

Honestly, if your PI does not see your work as publication worthy then it likely isn't, especially if you haven't done any presentations on the work.
 
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EdgeTrimmer

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I have been doing research at an institution for more than a year now, and am contributing a significant amount of time and help to the lab but I have not been offered anything regarding a pub as a co-author.

I want to ask if I can do anything more that would result in me being published. How should I go about this/what should I do?
How often does your lab produces publications? Did PI give any indication when you started? You can ask grad students or post docs in the lab. Some labs publish frequently but others take long time. Depends on the type of research, target audience for the publication but also on PI.
 

kepler16b

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Strongly disagree with Goro and make. If your level of involvement rises to that of a coauthor, then you should be on the paper, period. What constitutes an appropriate level of involvement to be a coauthor varies somewhat by PI, but if you are contributing a substantial amount of manpower, contributing to discussions, and helping write the manuscript, then you should definitely be a coauthor. You need to have a candid conversation with your PI to see if they think you deserve to be a coauthor, and if they don't think you've done enough then you should ask what other responsibilities you need to take on to be considered a coauthor. If your PI is one of those that thinks no undergrads should be listed as authors, then you should run.

If you feel like you have enough experience to lead your own projects, then you should make that desire clear as well.

Goro thinks you shouldn't have this conversation- that is absolutely the wrong advice and contributes to toxic environments and exploitation of undergrad labor.
 
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Goro

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Strongly disagree with Goro and make. If your level of involvement rises to that of a coauthor, then you should be on the paper, period. What constitutes an appropriate level of involvement to be a coauthor varies somewhat by PI, but if you are contributing a substantial amount of manpower, contributing to discussions, and helping write the manuscript, then you should definitely be a coauthor. You need to have a candid conversation with your PI to see if they think you deserve to be a coauthor, and if they don't think you've done enough then you should ask what other responsibilities you need to take on to be considered a coauthor. If your PI is one of those that thinks no undergrads should be listed as authors, then you should run.

If you feel like you have enough experience to lead your own projects, then you should make that desire clear as well.

Goro thinks you shouldn't have this conversation- that is absolutely the wrong advice and contributes to toxic environments and exploitation of undergrad labor.
I do agree with the bolded above.

But I'm worried that the OP will come across as entitled; this could easily backfire, especially if the OP is not generating publishable data. Not saying they're not, but I'm not in the lab to determine this.

Exploited labor? Oh, please!
 
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Jul 24, 2020
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Strongly disagree with Goro and make. If your level of involvement rises to that of a coauthor, then you should be on the paper, period. What constitutes an appropriate level of involvement to be a coauthor varies somewhat by PI, but if you are contributing a substantial amount of manpower, contributing to discussions, and helping write the manuscript, then you should definitely be a coauthor. You need to have a candid conversation with your PI to see if they think you deserve to be a coauthor, and if they don't think you've done enough then you should ask what other responsibilities you need to take on to be considered a coauthor. If your PI is one of those that thinks no undergrads should be listed as authors, then you should run.

If you feel like you have enough experience to lead your own projects, then you should make that desire clear as well.

Goro thinks you shouldn't have this conversation- that is absolutely the wrong advice and contributes to toxic environments and exploitation of undergrad labor.
I agree with what you have written, but just because OP has been in a lab for "more than a year" doesn't mean they should have their name on a publication by now (it took me over 3 years working full time to get my first publication). Asking why they aren't on a manuscript yet could make them come across as impatient and naïve, but I suppose it doesn't hurt to inquire about the process, which will vary among fields of study and from lab to lab.
 
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Aug 14, 2020
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I agree with what you have written, but just because OP has been in a lab for "more than a year" doesn't mean they should have their name on a publication by now (it took me over 3 years working full time to get my first publication). Asking why they aren't on a manuscript yet could make them come across as impatient and naïve, but I suppose it doesn't hurt to inquire about the process, which will vary among fields of study and from lab to lab.
I definitely will not be asking for my name to be on the paper. What I wanted to ask is if I can take on some responsibilities and some more valuable work that will result in me being a co-author on a paper.

I don't think that I have done nothing for the lab, but I also have been working consistently for 20 hours a week or so doing experiments and busy work for the post docs.

Also, this lab submits papers to Nature every other month or so.
 
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Aug 14, 2020
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I do agree with the bolded above.

But I'm worried that the OP will come across as entitled; this could easily backfire, especially if the OP is not generating publishable data. Not saying they're not, but I'm not in the lab to determine this.

Exploited labor? Oh, please!
Let me know your opinion on what I wrote above^
 
Sep 13, 2019
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Contrary to what most people have recommended here, I had a conversation with my PI about 4 months into my research job about how I could facilitate getting my name onto a publication. I ended up taking on my own project updating a review paper that my boss had written years ago—it’s not exactly a high-powered original research article, but for us it was a win-win. I will (hopefully) get a first author publication and he will have an update on his paper with minimal work. I agree with others that it depends on your relationship with your PI, but I would personally recommend advocating for yourself.
 
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Sep 1, 2020
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n=1 so take my advice with a grain of salt.

Not quite sure who you are working with directly but I worked with a graduate student (Who is being supervised by a PI). I helped him from start to finish and will be submitting and should be getting published in a high impact journal in my field.

I would constantly ask for ways that I could contribute to the project and around 3/4 of the way through I brought up my desire to get published alongside with my mentor. I am now on the paper and it seems like the PI who reviews the manuscript does not disagree with the graduate students decision.

I don't know, some people may disagree with me but I have always been bold with what I wanted/looked forward to. However, as always, you should be very careful with your words and try not to come off as entitled. Just because you have been a part of the lab for a year or because you did a bunch of tests does not necessarily mean you deserve to be published. Just respectfully let them know about your intentions and desire to do the work to get there.
 
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Feb 26, 2020
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You must be bold with what you want, otherwise you’re going to be taken advantage of.

I work for a large clinical trial and our PI wants us to draw interns in “by the wagon-load” to do all the printing, collating, accompanying RAs to home visits, etc. Not particularly good experience for medical school. Therefore, its important for you to set expectations for what you get out of a lab because you run the risk of being taken advantage of without obtaining meaningful professional development/experience.
 
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Jul 23, 2019
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You must be bold with what you want, otherwise you’re going to be taken advantage of.

I work for a large clinical trial and our PI wants us to draw interns in “by the wagon-load” to do all the printing, collating, accompanying RAs to home visits, etc. Not particularly good experience for medical school. Therefore, its important for you to set expectations for what you get out of a lab because you run the risk of being taken advantage of without obtaining meaningful professional development/experience.

Just like the old saying where the quality of the professor matters more than the subject of the class.... well the quality of the PI matters more than the research topic.
 
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Goro

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Contrary to what most people have recommended here, I had a conversation with my PI about 4 months into my research job about how I could facilitate getting my name onto a publication. I ended up taking on my own project updating a review paper that my boss had written years ago—it’s not exactly a high-powered original research article, but for us it was a win-win. I will (hopefully) get a first author publication and he will have an update on his paper with minimal work. I agree with others that it depends on your relationship with your PI, but I would personally recommend advocating for yourself.

Let me know your opinion on what I wrote above^
See what GalaxyBrain wrote.

You could broach your inquiry to your PI as "I'm really hoping to be published so as to have a better app for medical school. What advice do you have for me?"

I'm getting the whiff of magic thinking, in that having a publication, which is rare for a pre-med, will somehow increase the competitiveness of your app. Research is of only moderate impotance to most med school. Yes, there are research wh..., um, sex workers, but you'd better have the app to match ifaiming for that strata.
 
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Jun 5, 2020
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I agree with what you have written, but just because OP has been in a lab for "more than a year" doesn't mean they should have their name on a publication by now (it took me over 3 years working full time to get my first publication). Asking why they aren't on a manuscript yet could make them come across as impatient and naïve, but I suppose it doesn't hurt to inquire about the process, which will vary among fields of study and from lab to lab.
Yes, and you should have articulated more in your first response. Replying with "Don't" isn't helpful.
 
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lull

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May 29, 2018
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I have been doing research at an institution for more than a year now, and am contributing a significant amount of time and help to the lab but I have not been offered anything regarding a pub as a co-author.

I want to ask if I can do anything more that would result in me being published. How should I go about this/what should I do?

I wholeheartedly agree that transparency with your PI/lab mentors is important. I had a conversation with my PI one time and he told me one of the best advice he was given career-wise was to publish as frequently as you can early on in your career to provide evidence of your research productivity. He said it is better to publish smaller incremented findings instead of waiting until you reached your "end-term goal" with your project to show that your research is worth funding.

PIs are completely aware of the importance of authorship and how it opens up doors for people interested in pursuing research in their careers, so I don't think there's anything wrong with approaching your PI and asking how can you improve as a researcher to qualify for co-authorship.
 
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Feb 26, 2020
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n=1 but personally, I’ve found more success with younger, less established PIs.

The tenured, seasoned folks function on longer timelines and are less likely to give you academic writing opportunities.
 
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Aug 14, 2020
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21
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  1. Pre-Medical
UPDATE: Going to be drafting an email and sending it to my PI later tonight. As I said before I do not feel entitled, but I do feel that I have a good grasp of what's going on in the lab to maybe pursue some more important projects that may contribute to/result in a publication.
 
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Jul 20, 2019
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UPDATE: Going to be drafting an email and sending it to my PI later tonight. As I said before I do not feel entitled, but I do feel that I have a good grasp of what's going on in the lab to maybe pursue some more important projects that may contribute to/result in a publication.
Tbh I would've asked something like this in person. Your tone could be easily misinterpreted as coming off as entitled, just like you did here even though your intentions were good.
 
Aug 14, 2020
12
21
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  1. Pre-Medical
Tbh I would've asked something like this in person. Your tone could be easily misinterpreted as coming off as entitled, just like you did here even though your intentions were good.
I would've done that but because of COVID they are only allowing less than 50% of the lab to come in. Only the postdocs and I am allowed to go in. I haven't seen my PI in person in months
 
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Nov 6, 2020
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Let's go if premeds slowly want change we must speak up and not let ourselves get taken advantage of :thumbup:
Amen brother
This post should serve as an inspiration that we shouldn't be scared of pursuing what we want in fear of being called entitled.
 
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