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First author and co-author

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by relentless11, Aug 31, 2001.

  1. relentless11

    relentless11 Going broke and loving it Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Mar 30, 2001
    Hi fellas, i'm just seeing if any of you guys have gotten any papers published thus far? I recently got my name in on a journal as co-author, which is a big wow for me as, i'm still an undergrad. The professor that i'm working under now has offered me a chance to do a paper for another journal as first author. And i would like to know what anybodie's experiences concerning the status of being a first author.

    I know it'll be .......demanding. But...its an opportunity i can't refuse, as its something i can be proud of for one thing, and secondly something that i can throw on that AMCAS app when i apply ;). Apparently i have another chance after this one to be a 1st author. Does being published a lot help? Anyone here got into med school's because of getting published in addition to whatever else they take into account?

    I definately know it helps(as its required :)) for the MD/Phd programs, so yea. I just want to get into an MD program. I'll think about something else later :)
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  3. Scooby Doo

    Scooby Doo IEatShavedPussyCats 10+ Year Member

    Jul 9, 2001
    Is there any difference between 2nd and 3rd author??
    (while we are answering questions)
  4. relentless11

    relentless11 Going broke and loving it Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Mar 30, 2001
    I think.......and correct me if i'm wrong, the 1st author is the one that takes the full brunt of the paper. Which is writing, organization, and research involved in doing it. The co-authors(2nd, 3rd...and beyond) probably either help edit it(as in my case) or contributed their knowledge of the subject into it. Thats just in general though. Its also possible that they all had a hand in writing each section of the paper, and their names are placed in ABC order.

    Is that correct?
  5. kutastha

    kutastha 2K Member Physician 10+ Year Member

    Jun 24, 2001
    Generally, a published paper's first author is the one who headed the project, did the majority of the work and wrote it. The last author is the PI. The 'filler' consists of those who contributed research, with second doing more than the third and so on. People that edit the paper, or critique it, are not usually included in the authorship, but most likely in the acknowledgements.

    The fact that your PI asked you as an undergrad to write a paper is phenomenal and I must ask what the lab work you did was that garnered you such an honor.

  6. leorl

    leorl Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Jan 2, 2001
    just a comment on being listed as an author. It's a tremendous achievement, but it also has to do with what school you attend and the research facilities. For instance, my univ. is definitely known as a research science/engineering/tech school. Usually anywhere from 30-50% of incoming freshmen are premed. So I think researchers take that into account when offering authorship. Not saying that they think premed transcripts would be lots enchanced by publication, but just that they grant authorship more freely than others.

    I'm also getting published as an undergrad for work I completed last summer. Well, maybe on that paper I was just acknowledged, I don't know what she decided. But she's offering me authorship again if I work for her lab this year, even though my preliminary duties won't be involving research. (They're really backed up on image files so my job at first would be to figure out which photo editor prints the best/highest resolution images hehe. And she'd be so grateful at just that, that she'll give authorship.) however, my work from last summer still remains the best images/samples they have concerning that project. Definitely won't be a 1st author though! Go you! that's a TON of work!!!
  7. racergirl

    racergirl Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Here's how it works in my lab: 1st author is the one who does the primary research, last author is the PI (who doesn't do research any more), second author contributed substantial research, and other authors are kind of lumped in the middle. For instance, the paper we have coming is pretty big. One whole section of the paper is histology, and this work is all mine. The bulk of the rest of the research was done by my boss (who's been working on the problem for over a year), and we meet with the PI every week who provides suggestions and other imput. On the paper, my boss will be first author, I will be second, and the PI will be last. Other people, like a Nephrologist I met with several times for advice and input, will be listed in the middle.
  8. ssd

    ssd Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 17, 2001
    los angeles, ca
    i'd pretty much have to concur with what is being said here about significance of name placement for authorship. that answers one of the two questions that were originally posted. one question still remains: how much can authorship help your chances of gaining admittance?

    i,for one, am hoping that it makes a big difference. i applied last year and didn't get in anywhere. my numbers aren't the worst, but they don't shine either. i am hoping that the reason why i didn't get in had to do with turning my secondaries in so late. however, i still had to do something to improve my application for this year. i tried to do it through publications. i now have 4 abstracts and 5 manuscripts that are either published, in press, or submitted for publication. i have also given two oral presentations of my research at scientific meetings. can this be enough to make a difference?
  9. sandflea

    sandflea Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 23, 2001
    from what i've been told, papers that have been submitted but not yet accepted don't pull any weight, because it could be years before they go to press (if it's rejected and you must revise, etc). and papers that are in press pull less weight than those that are actually published and that you can list a reference for.

    also, clinical papers pull a lot less weight than basic science papers, since clinical papers/abstracts are really pretty easy to put together while benchwork can take years before something publication-worthy results.

    that said, it depends on the school as to how much value is given to publications. some love it, some don't care.

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