doctor712

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Hello All.

Happy Turkey Eve from Dr. 712.

I just wrote a REALLY long post; well thought out, story-like, some good prose I tell you. Took about 30 minutes. Only to get deleted upon PC freeze. (Teaches me not to work on my home MAC, but I digress)

So this time, I'll make it quick:

What qualifications does one need to co-author an abstract/review paper etc?

For those of you who have done this as non-trads, how did you go about approaching the lead author? How did you get your gig? Advice here would be great!

Is this usually FT work?

PT?

Unpaid volunteer work?

I used to work at P&S at a research center, so I have some experience on the research side. And I'm a writer by trade. And I'm interested in academic medicine. I have enough shadowing for ECs, though I can basically sleep in the OR, it'll never be enough. So, I want to explore this path as it applies to me. And I have a year to do so.

I recently had a really-pre-eminent-in-his-field-Dr. at my local Med School/Hospital, (someone who probably visits the Ad Com lounge on a regular basis, the guy is all over the Med School) who offered me a "job". Working on his clinical trial. Medical background not needed, per se, per him, just someone really detail oriented. I originally sent him my resume asking to shadow him, after watching a Grand Rounds lecture he gave that I really liked. He thought evaluating me would be better if I worked, rather than shadow. Works for me either way. So, would this sort of phone call making/patient interaction/detail oriented dude work potentially get me a 3rd author spot? I mean, regardless, it's win win should I perform well with him. But I'd like to get something published as well. I have the time and interest...

Thanks. Submitting this thread for a 2nd time. Closing eyes. Crossing fingers. Crossing eyes...

D712
 
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NTF

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Honestly, it depends on your PI or the grad student/post-doc whose study it is. While technically in order to be listed as an author you need to have contributed to execution/design/analysis/writing of the paper, often times the people on the paper are put there for political reasons (ex. bigwig PI at another lab let you use his equipment or reagents but otherwise had little to do with the study).

Some PI's are more generous about giving ugrad students/techs co-authorship. But more often than not they are either stingy about it because they put alot of "political" authors on their papers or it just doesn't occur to them to consider you as an author.

The best bet is to address your desire for authorship with your PI or grad student/post-doc and see what they expect from you to consider putting your name on a paper. Be prepared to navigate that fine line between reminding them of your desire w/o being pushy/annoying about it. Be prepared that they might screw you over even after telling you you'd be on the paper.

But hopefully you have more generous researchers around you. I've met PI's who actively look for publication opportunities for their students, puttin their names on abstracts/papers where the student did nothing but run a few assays. I've also see PI's who getting your name on a paper is like pulling their teeth out. If you have flexibility, try to find a lab where they are actively trying to mentor you. But you'll also help your cause by being a team player in the lab and being proactive. This means staying late, feeding cultures, etc on weekends, coming in on time, and finding time to consistently be seen at the lab. Nothing pisses researchers off more than ugrads/techs that are flaky - and it's almost impossible to shake off a bad first impression.

Good luck!
 

doctor712

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Thank you, Fogie. Other's experiences are welcome of course...!

Fogie: How did you go about actually reaching out for your lab jobs?
Were you paid, volunteering etc? Is it along the lines of asking to shadow, or were your experiences more like formally applying for a job?

Thanks!
D712
 
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QofQuimica

Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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Review articles generally are written by people with considerable experience in the field. Journals will solicit them and/or accept them from prominent researchers who are well-established, senior scientists. I have one first-author review, which I wrote toward the end of my time in grad school on behalf of my PI and one of my committee members. But I only got to author the review because they were asked to write it by the journal, and they passed the job on to me because they were too busy. Unless you have a PI in similar straits, I don't know how you'd break in and get to write one as an unknown newcomer into a field.

An abstract is probably a more realistic goal to shoot for at your level. Most fields have some kind of meeting for their specialty, and there is often a student research section. Even junior grad students and UGs can present at those sessions. It's mainly to give students experience with presenting research, and you can put the presentation/abstract on your CV also.

For the clinical trial, it sounds like you're probably going to be the clinical equivalent of some kind of lab tech. In that case, no, you probably won't get any kind of pub from this job. Authorship is supposed to go only to the people who have contributed significantly to the project. In other words, you have to make some kind of significant intellectual contribution, such as designing the experiments, coming up with the hypotheses, etc. Being the person who physically carried out the experiments and/or performed clerical tasks for the PI does *not* merit an authorship. The expectations of a first author are even more stringent. You will have to be doing novel, independent work, and it's unlikely that you will do work at this level as a part-time worker. The vast majority of people don't get first author papers at the UG level for this reason. For a first authorship, you are the primary person working on that project with a PI's support and input. Usually, first authors are junior scientists (senior grad students, post docs, research fellows, junior PIs, etc.) who oversee the project on a day-to-day basis. Since it's extremely unlikely that you are going to be involved with designing or directing the clinical trial, you would almost certainly not have the opportunity to be the first author.

It sounds like getting a paper is the most important goal you have for doing this research. In that case, I suggest that you talk to your PI and let him know that you'd like to publish. Ask him if he thinks it is realistic for you to do some kind of independent project that will lead to publication. PIs are not always straight with over-eager UGs (and grad students too), so you should also look at this PI's pub record. (Just search for him as an author on PubMed.) If he has a lot of single-author pubs and/or doesn't let his students, post docs, and fellows co-author with him much, you should find another research group.
 

NTF

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Thank you, Fogie. Other's experiences are welcome of course...!

Fogie: How did you go about actually reaching out for your lab jobs?
Were you paid, volunteering etc? Is it along the lines of asking to shadow, or were your experiences more like formally applying for a job?

Thanks!
D712

Unless you have research experience or have a science major getting a paid position could be hard, but it's always worth a try to send out your resume to research labs at universities. (be prepared to be paid crap wages)

You can offer to volunteer in a lab as well, but if you're not a student at their university they may balk at it. I cold emailed professors about volunteering in their labs and most often got silence, but did end up hooking up with a researcher and contributing to a year long psychology study (didn't get a pub out of it though).

But your best bet is if you're taking classes to approach your professor about research opportunities. They may be able to introduce you to a researcher. Networking is key in general.

As far as my experiences, I've done it all. Volunteered, hired through HR, cold emailed, etc. Try as many avenues as you can.
 

KidXFiz

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So, in my experience, you just need to have a decent relationship with a grad student or prof who is a PI on something. If you have a university with a physiology (or exercise phys) lab that uses human subjects, they will probably welcome the help on a volunteer basis. We take lots of undergrads and even high school students who want to volunteer because the work is quite time consuming. It probably won't be paid work (at least in the beginning) as grants for these things are usually quite specific on where the money goes.
 

dragonfly99

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I agree most with Qofquimica
You are unlikely to get a 1st author paper. Shoot, I'm a fellow and I've never been 1st author on a paper yet. Also, keep in mind that many clinical trials take years to be finished...so you likely won't have any paper in <1 year.
I do think you should consider taking the job anyway...I mean strongly consider it. If your goal is to get in to medical school, then knowing this PI (particularly if he is an MD) could potentially help you do that. You may want to do some snooping around to find out what he's like to work for first, to make sure he isn't a jerk or something. Also, could do what fogie suggests and ask the PI what are the chances you could get your name on a paper at some point. Technically, one is supposed to have significant planning/intellectual contributions to be one of the authors...but sometimes people bend the rule. If it's a large clinical trial or you are working on multiple projects, it might be hard for you to get your name on the paper...otherwise they'd have to put every research tech/assistant and nurse of every one of the PI's as an author on the paper.
 
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