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How do people get multiple publications during med school? Do people usually do multiple projects at a time or just finish one project then do another

CuriousMDStudent

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Title sums it up. I got matched with a research mentor that I think is awesome and he put me on a clinical research project that is estimated to take a few years to complete. I am really excited about it and the topic seems really cool.

However, I feel people on SDN are like you should aim for several publications. If I only do this project, I'll only have one pub done by residency applications (if it's successful). Does this mean I should, over my time with this mentor, ask for other projects to be a part of?

I'm new to the clinical research game so my question is: To get multiple pubs, should I aim to be a part of multiple projects simultaneously? Is this normal or too much effort?

I used to do a lot of basic science research and we always were tasked with one project at a time hence I am seeking some advice based on the experiences of others.
 
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slowthai

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Yeah, just one project's not gonna run. You're gonna have to do multiple smaller projects. Doesn't have to be all at the same time. You can just hop on one and then finish it and then go on to the next one. I feel like it's not very common for people to work on more than one at a time, but if you're highly motivated and good with time management, you could swing it.

You can ask someone else like a resident if they need help finishing any projects. The reason why I said resident is because they're often under pressure to publish at least a project, so you can help take off some of their load in exchange for your name on a pub. You can develop a strong relationship with this attending that you're currently working with (for an eventual LOR) and you can pump up your pub numbers by working with residents.
 
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Like all things, depends on the person. I have 3 pubs since starting med school: 1 from a year-long standalone project, and 2 related to a student clinic I worked for (1 case report, 1 perspective piece).

I know some people who just churned out a bunch of case reports, some jumped into projects that were already getting ready to publish and snagged co-author spots, some working multiple projects at the same time. It all depends on the type of research/publications you're doing and how good you are at time management.

The downside of coming on early to a long-term project is that most of the big publications will come at the end. Before med school I worked with several large research consortiums - sometimes their projects could yield no papers for years and then in the last year of the grant they'd put out dozens of papers.

There is also a lot of medical student research that quite frankly isn't really worth publishing, but people will do it for their resume anyway.
 
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efle

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Case reports and small retrospectives don't take much labor or thought. Just pull a bunch of data from the EMRs into excel and find your p<.05s. Or do a small/niche review paper. Med students are usually not involved in prospective work or trials because they take a long time and you don't have the research credentials to be trusted with anything very important yet.

It's very interesting to look up current residents at competitive programs on Scopus or Pubmed. You'll find that despite having 12+ research entries on ERAS, what they usually boil down to is a few middle authorships on retrospectives (read: they pulled data from EMRs) or first authorship on something like a case report. The people with legit research invariably took time off to do it, either before or during med school. If you want to play the game the way most people are doing right now, start jumping onto multiple chart reviews.
 
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rulerkk

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re: retrospective research

A strategy I've heard works well for older med students here-

1) Get on a research project with a mentor
2) Create a big database (1000s of patients, many data-points per entry)
3) Publish your original paper
4) Any resulting publication that uses your database for analyses and findings gets you a middling authorship as well.

Are these major contributions to science? Eh. It will fluff the CV though.
 
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aldol16

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It's very interesting to look up current residents at competitive programs on Scopus or Pubmed. You'll find that despite having 12+ research entries on ERAS, what they usually boil down to is a few middle authorships on retrospectives (read: they pulled data from EMRs) or first authorship on something like a case report. The people with legit research invariably took time off to do it, either before or during med school. If you want to play the game the way most people are doing right now, start jumping onto multiple chart reviews.

One area where med students can rapidly publish and in good authorship positions (i.e. first or second) is if you have experience doing data analysis using any sort of statistical software +/- cleaning big datasets. There are tons of large data sets out there that your school may have access to that you could use to look at outcomes that requires very little clinical experience. You still need guidance, hence a PI who will also likely pair you with a resident mentor but you can work on that kind of project and publish quickly. One just has to have the right skillset.
 
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aldol16

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It depends on the type of research you're doing. If you're doing basic science research (sounds like you're not), you probably won't be able to handle more than 2-3 projects at once, in earnest. More realistically probably 1-2 with school and all. Basic science is hard, there's a lot of trial and error that takes time, and it takes a long time to publish.

Clinical research is easier depending on what you're doing. If you're on a project that has a time frame of multiple years (some RCTs and prospective studies are like this) then you can expect to either not have that pub ready by the time you need it and/or to have low authorship position because more senior people will eventually come on to the project to do the brunt of the data analysis, etc. and you might get relegated to the end. Or worse, an acknowledgement. In that scenario, it would behoove you to be involved in multiple projects at once. Clinical research has a ton of bottlenecks, from waiting to enroll more patients, waiting for data to accumulate for analysis, or even just the analyst needing clinical input but the resident/PI takes a long time to respond.

If you're doing retrospective studies where the data already exists, then it becomes easier to take on multiple projects and publish. These are more governed by your experience and you set your own pace for the most part. Definitely have a few of these in your arsenal even if you're working on prospective studies. You can work on these on the weekends or evenings when you're done with schoolwork. Easier to get done and to submit - although not necessarily easier to publish.
 
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Frogger27

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re: retrospective research

A strategy I've heard works well for older med students here-

1) Get on a research project with a mentor
2) Create a big database (1000s of patients, many data-points per entry)
3) Publish your original paper
4) Any resulting publication that uses your database for analyses and findings gets you a middling authorship as well.

Are these major contributions to science? Eh. It will fluff the CV though.

This is what I did. Set up the database my summer of M1 (1300 patients).. did the red cap, chart review, etc. got a first author paper from this database published beginning of M3, another one late M3. Switched to a different specialty but I have 3 publications submitted where I am middle author due to people using my database for their projects. Plus a couple of small projects along the way (letters to editor, commentaries, reviews, etc) and publications start to stack up. It’s all about being in the right situation though
 
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Frogger27

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It depends on the type of research you're doing. If you're doing basic science research (sounds like you're not), you probably won't be able to handle more than 2-3 projects at once, in earnest. More realistically probably 1-2 with school and all. Basic science is hard, there's a lot of trial and error that takes time, and it takes a long time to publish.

Clinical research is easier depending on what you're doing. If you're on a project that has a time frame of multiple years (some RCTs and prospective studies are like this) then you can expect to either not have that pub ready by the time you need it and/or to have low authorship position because more senior people will eventually come on to the project to do the brunt of the data analysis, etc. and you might get relegated to the end. Or worse, an acknowledgement. In that scenario, it would behoove you to be involved in multiple projects at once. Clinical research has a ton of bottlenecks, from waiting to enroll more patients, waiting for data to accumulate for analysis, or even just the analyst needing clinical input but the resident/PI takes a long time to respond.

If you're doing retrospective studies where the data already exists, then it becomes easier to take on multiple projects and publish. These are more governed by your experience and you set your own pace for the most part. Definitely have a few of these in your arsenal even if you're working on prospective studies. You can work on these on the weekends or evenings when you're done with schoolwork. Easier to get done and to submit - although not necessarily easier to publish.

During covid I had 5 projects going... def don’t recommend this but the only way I was able o juggle this was because there was nothing else going on. Basically turned into a research assistant full time for 3 months.

I think having 2 projects going at once is smart (depending on what is required), since generally projects get held up for various reasons so it’s nice to be able to have something to work on in ones down time
 
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NotAnotherPreMed

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One area where med students can rapidly publish and in good authorship positions (i.e. first or second) is if you have experience doing data analysis using any sort of statistical software +/- cleaning big datasets. There are tons of large data sets out there that your school may have access to that you could use to look at outcomes that requires very little clinical experience. You still need guidance, hence a PI who will also likely pair you with a resident mentor but you can work on that kind of project and publish quickly. One just has to have the right skillset.

This. Theres an outcomes lab at my school that uses this technique. Every student that works with them M1 summer through application season usually ends up with 10-15 pubs on average which is incredible. Big datasets are def the way to go if you care about numbers
 
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AlteredScale

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Title sums it up. I got matched with a research mentor that I think is awesome and he put me on a clinical research project that is estimated to take a few years to complete. I am really excited about it and the topic seems really cool.

However, I feel people on SDN are like you should aim for several publications. If I only do this project, I'll only have one pub done by residency applications (if it's successful). Does this mean I should, over my time with this mentor, ask for other projects to be a part of?

I'm new to the clinical research game so my question is: To get multiple pubs, should I aim to be a part of multiple projects simultaneously? Is this normal or too much effort?

I used to do a lot of basic science research and we always were tasked with one project at a time hence I am seeking some advice based on the experiences of others.
If you are not looking to have a career in academic medicine as a clinician investigator or are wanting to match to a T10 residency, you really do not need to pump out a ton of publications. But any research is >> no research.

I got multiple publications by working with 2-3 clinical mentors who had timelines to publish their work in 6 months time. The term "publish" could mean many things, including submitting abstracts to conferences and getting the abstract "published" in a supplemental journal, or by actually submitting to a journal which can take a much longer time to pubmed appearance but truly counts as a "publication" compared to the the former.

Basic science takes a lot of dedication, technical and theoretical finesse, hence why projects and tasks are delegated one at at time for newer fold while PhD students, post-docs, and project sciences are able to run multiple experiments for projects at the same time.

This research project sounds like it'll take very long to get any results for you. You can still list it as a na experience, but you probably want to hop onto something smaller like a fast retro, or case report.
 
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deleted1005514

One area where med students can rapidly publish and in good authorship positions (i.e. first or second) is if you have experience doing data analysis using any sort of statistical software +/- cleaning big datasets. There are tons of large data sets out there that your school may have access to that you could use to look at outcomes that requires very little clinical experience. You still need guidance, hence a PI who will also likely pair you with a resident mentor but you can work on that kind of project and publish quickly. One just has to have the right skillset.

How much experience would someone need for something like this. Would a couple of grad school level classes in R be sufficient?
 

paimei42

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How much experience would someone need for something like this. Would a couple of grad school level classes in R be sufficient?

Probably more than sufficient but it is somewhat dependent on the dataset too.

Even one intro to r/stata class is probably sufficient to get something out if You're willing to pull some hairs on stack overflow
 
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aldol16

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How much experience would someone need for something like this. Would a couple of grad school level classes in R be sufficient?

You don't even need grad level classes. Undergrad level courses are sufficient. A lot of it involves data cleaning. You need to get the data structured in a way where you can do the data analysis. You can almost always find a package in R that does what you want statistically. The syntax can be a pain in the ass because all the packages are opensource so the syntax isn't consistent but you can always Google it.

The other tool you'll need is statistics. You need to know what the techniques are for these big data sets and a class on that would be helpful. Some common things that come to mind are simple linear/logistic regression, difference-in-differences models, fixed and mixed effects models, propensity score matching (used less and less nowadays given limitations).
 
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deleted1005514

You don't even need grad level classes. Undergrad level courses are sufficient. A lot of it involves data cleaning. You need to get the data structured in a way where you can do the data analysis. You can almost always find a package in R that does what you want statistically. The syntax can be a pain in the ass because all the packages are opensource so the syntax isn't consistent but you can always Google it.

The other tool you'll need is statistics. You need to know what the techniques are for these big data sets and a class on that would be helpful. Some common things that come to mind are simple linear/logistic regression, difference-in-differences models, fixed and mixed effects models, propensity score matching (used less and less nowadays given limitations).

Thank you. I took courses in R in grad school, and they included statistics and experimental design. I might look into this kind of work when school starts. I like working with data.
 

Sky138

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How much experience would someone need for something like this. Would a couple of grad school level classes in R be sufficient?
To be completely honest, I don’t think you need any experience to find something like this. If you show the drive, are at least decently likable, and are genuinely interested in not only the research but the profs, you’ll be fine. Also, be willing to do almost anything. Once you get your first project under your belt, everything becomes so much easier. Literally you can pick up more at will or use your experience to leverage gaining even more experiences in different departments. That’s the beauty of people. People are all the same in the sense they all are risk averse and love free labor
 
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aldol16

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I have used SPSS in my classes before and for my research, is this sufficient or are people moving towards other softwares?

You can use whatever works for you provided that it is compatible with the data set that you are using (some sets are stored on secure servers which may not have SPSS installed). At the end of the day, R, SAS, SPSS, Stata, Python are just tools to help you analyze and visualize the data. The data is the same and the statistical tools are the same. They're just different programs to help get you there.
 
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paimei42

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You can use whatever works for you provided that it is compatible with the data set that you are using (some sets are stored on secure servers which may not have SPSS installed). At the end of the day, R, SAS, SPSS, Stata, Python are just tools to help you analyze and visualize the data. The data is the same and the statistical tools are the same. They're just different programs to help get you there.


While I broadly agree I would advise that if anyone plans on staying in the analytics space longer term to become comfortable with a command based method like r python or even stata
 
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The Knife & Gun Club

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re: retrospective research

A strategy I've heard works well for older med students here-

1) Get on a research project with a mentor
2) Create a big database (1000s of patients, many data-points per entry)
3) Publish your original paper
4) Any resulting publication that uses your database for analyses and findings gets you a middling authorship as well.

Are these major contributions to science? Eh. It will fluff the CV though.

Yup. As others have stated above.

If you wanna really hit the numbers, make a database. Partnered with a resident and attending and spent M1 summer compiling like 400 pelvic fracture cases In a database for them. Learned a lot about the subject making the data set.

Then the attending came up with some things to derive from the set. Result was basically 1 research project (Operative Pelvic Fractures) into 2 manuscripts, 1 poster, 2 abstracts, and 2 presentations. So 1 project became 7 on ERAS.

M1 summer is really the time to boost your research cred.
 
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Eye-eye

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All research takes longer than you'd estimate. If it's basic science, don't necessarily expect getting a pub out of it even if you start on day 1 of med school. I'd recommend case reports. You can always beef them up with lit reviews and analysis of any trends in treatment and outcome, etc. That's how you turn fluff into "interesting research" with very little effort.

Doing multiple of these, ideally with multiple mentors, will help if you get stuck on a project because you're waiting for someone else's input or because a mentor is way too picky or indecisive or slow to get back to you, etc. All of these are very common and extremely frustrating when you're trying to get things published on a timeline. I'll have at least 5 decent first author pubs from this year (my 3rd) and none of them did I start before 3rd year. If you ask attendings (esp whom you work with in 3rd year, in my experience) for cases to write up, it can get you far.

I would really emphasize working on multiple projects simultaneously, though, because of you do it sequentially, and the first project keeps getting delayed, you're screwed. Research has a lot of work followed by a lot of waiting, rinse and repeat, so it's not hard to do multiple projects simultaneously / staggered.
 
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Dr G Oogle

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I know a lot of people recommend case reports, but unless you are SOL on research I really recommend against it. They are by far the hardest thing to get published and unless truly novel will be published only in the Journal of Clinical Esoterics (don’t look this up I made the name up). I recently joined the editorial board of biggish journal and they told us that they decreased the number of accepted case reports to from 24 to 12. The reason is that while they maybe interesting they do drek for the journal, I.e. very few citations, low impact so can’t be used for enhancing reputation.

someone above mentioned developing or helping out on a database which is actually an awesome idea, I have plenty of students who have worked on databases and even if they don’t get a paper immediately on it I often add them to another paper that I am working on. A chart review is also low risk high reward.
 
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rulerkk

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And chart review really does not have to take long. I have not seen too many people put hours of effort to their projects here on SDN, but my ~1300 person chart review into data entry has taken about 40 hours. If you can use any of the stat softwares people have mentioned for analysis, and are a good writer on top of that, a project could take 70-80 hours or less of total time from IRB grant writing to manuscript submission with a good mentor's guidance.

The post linked above describes a super-human putting in 2-3 hours a day over 9 months and producing 7 pubs (6 first author) before M2. 6.5 hours per project on intro + discussion. With enough stamina, the paper mill over the course of med school could be ridiculous.
 
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AnatomyGrey12

Yeah don't do case reports unless you are absolutely desperate. In addition to them being hard to publish, as mentioned above, they are given extremely little weight by PD's from what I've been told directly.
 
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deleted688779

So been reading through the comments and I’m seeing different ideas. My question is...would anyone be able to summarize to an M0 what type of research and strategies should one look at in order to churn out as much productivity as possible? I understand there’s a game to play, then what’s the best way to play it, tricks, high elo strats, meta game, etc.

Elsewhere and other threads I see pro-case reports, here I’m seeing the opposite.

Also I am seeing a lot of stats/programming language being used, is there is a good place to start learning that? My undergrad stats class was just formulas that I’ve all forgotten.
 
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Mochi2020

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#1. Research mentor who is willing to support you and work w you. Someone can be a published monster but does not seem to be dedicated to medical students then despite the fact that he/she has very high impact factor, it won't be beneficial you. Also, depend on how productive your program is, if you have a feeling that you don't get much from your home program...Don't be afraid to contact some top program people to get on projects with them...The difference between top and lower program productivity is ridiculous.

#2. Work on as many as projects as you can while still manage to ACTUALLY get the project done. If you don't actually get it done, it is worse than doing nothing because you put in time and effort and get nothing out of it. If you work on one or two at a time, and it falls through, you will also end up with nothing. Research is unpredictable...and the unfortunate side is not all projects will end up with publication.

#3. Find a already complete database: this saves you from spending time on collecting it...If not, build a database that you can get multiple papers out of it.

#4. It is good to know how to do stat: Idk if you necessarily need to know all the listed programs. Just know the common ones and be able or willing to learn more when one comes up. Stat methods often times you can use from one paper to the next.

#5. The more you can contribute to a paper the higher authorship you can get (though it depends on how open and understanding the person you work with as well). Ask to collect data, ask to do stat, ask to write paper etc...

#6. At appropriate time, be open with your expectation especially you are the one who comes up w project idea...Goal to have a first author or couple 2nd authors etc. It really depends on which specialty you want to go in whether a first author is needed and how big the project is too. Big project you probably won't be first author.

#7. if you are super researcher, apply for grant. The fact that you get a grant alone is enough to boost you resume.

#8. LUCK!!!!!!!!
 
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Dave1980

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It's all about choosing the right projects. Don't chose a huge project. Focus on smaller projects that you can actually complete within a year. It's also about luck. There is a really nice 2nd year med student I met who tried really hard to write a paper but it was essentially garbage and I rewrote it all. It was just accepted and he is on the paper because it seemed mean to drop him.
 
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CuriousMDStudent

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@Mochi2020 and anyone else who can contribute to this topic: What are some common statistics programs you recommend for us to learn? Do you have any books to recommend learning the necessary statistics?

I'm with @Fruitjuice . I took one course in business statistics in university and forgot everything unfortunately and am concerned at my inability to do statistics and want to learn but I don't know where to start.
 

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If you can learn learn R, very clunky and finicky (will tell you there’s an error in your code but won’t tell where or what it is) but incredibly versatile and powerful once you are familiar with it and don’t have anger issues.

SPSS, SAS and STATA are all more limiting but easier to use because you have to pay to play, but most hospitals, Med schools, even individual departments have these and can get you access. you can also buy these at a steep steep discount as a student
 
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deleted1005514

If you can learn learn R, very clunky and finicky (will tell you there’s an error in your code but won’t tell where or what it is) but incredibly versatile and powerful once you are familiar with it and don’t have anger issues.
Lol at the anger issues part. R literally reduced me to angry tears more than once during my classes.
 
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How are systematic reviews and/or lit review viewed on ERAS and residency app purposes? Pre-clinical students don't have access to EMR or nearby hospitals. All wet labs are closed for now.
 

slowthai

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How are systematic reviews and/or lit review viewed on ERAS and residency app purposes? Pre-clinical students don't have access to EMR or nearby hospitals. All wet labs are closed for now.

Systematic reviews are the highest quality paper you could write, especially if a meta-analysis is included. A literature review is significantly less time/work intensive, though. Personally, I'd go with whatever you could churn out more of. If you're good with stats, you could hop on multiple systematic reviews for multiple authorships. If you're not, literature reviews are usually faster/easier to publish.

Edit: I'll be honest and say that most aren't scrutinizing the type of papers you publish unless they're all or mostly case reports. Case reports are like low quality "checking the research checkbox" papers. Other than that, it doesn't matter much.
 
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cybermed2424

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For me the biggest factor was finding a mentor who is incentivized to publish a lot (ie. working towards tenure track), and who also doesn't currently have a lot of medical students under them (so you'll be apart of everything). This got me 5 pubs in a year.
 
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DameJulie

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For me the biggest factor was finding a mentor who is incentivized to publish a lot (ie. working towards tenure track), and who also doesn't currently have a lot of medical students under them (so you'll be apart of everything). This got me 5 pubs in a year.
How do you know if a mentor is on the tenure track? Assistant/Associate professors?
 

Skarl

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How are systematic reviews and/or lit review viewed on ERAS and residency app purposes? Pre-clinical students don't have access to EMR or nearby hospitals. All wet labs are closed for now.
Your school has no EMR access for all pre-clinical students? Isn't this screwing over any med students who want to start research before clerkships, which is not only common but probably wise for those trying to match into competitive specialties?
 
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If you can learn learn R, very clunky and finicky (will tell you there’s an error in your code but won’t tell where or what it is) but incredibly versatile and powerful once you are familiar with it and don’t have anger issues.

SPSS, SAS and STATA are all more limiting but easier to use because you have to pay to play, but most hospitals, Med schools, even individual departments have these and can get you access. you can also buy these at a steep steep discount as a student

When I was in grad school, I took a 3 part statistics course and then was going to take the qualifying exam at the end. First 2 parts were ok, but then when I started the 3rd course, the instructor we will need to use R for this course. Dropped the course that afternoon, said screw it, and took the qualifying exam anyway. Figured I could finish my doctorate sooner than it would take me to learn to get R to work
 

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How do you know if a mentor is on the tenure track? Assistant/Associate professors?

There is a lot of ways to find the right mentor and a lot of these assistant/associate professors have different priorities. I looked for the "young, hungry attending" who had a history of research and wanted to climb the academic ladder. For me, that was a faculty who just started out of fellowship in July of my M1 year. They were in a field that had 1 year of research during the fellowship, so research as a whole was emphasized in the field. I met them during a lunch talk about intro to said field and I could tell by the way they talked that they would be a great mentor. They really wanted to build a research profile at our university and needed a medical student to help them do that. I reached out in November of M1 and now 2 1/2 years later I have 8 or so publications from this mentor and now he/she has an awesome database to use for future studies. Win/Win
 
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Matthew9Thirtyfive

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Your school has no EMR access for all pre-clinical students? Isn't this screwing over any med students who want to start research before clerkships, which is not only common but probably wise for those trying to match into competitive specialties?

We don’t get Emr access until clerkship either. But I just went over to the IT people and asked to take the class and get access so I can do research. Was like a day of admin and a couple hours in a classroom. No big deal.
 
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davidxavi

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Systematic reviews are the highest quality paper you could write, especially if a meta-analysis is included.

I don't agree with this statement. Systematic reviews are the highest level of clinical evidence, but this is not to say that they're the most highly regarded paper that a medical student should aim to publish. When it comes to residency applications, I would say an original research paper would be just as well-regarded, or even moreso, than a review.
 
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slowthai

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I don't agree with this statement. Systematic reviews are the highest level of clinical evidence, but this is not to say that they're the most highly regarded paper that a medical student should aim to publish. When it comes to residency applications, I would say an original research paper would be just as well-regarded, or even moreso, than a review.

You're right, I should have added a qualifier to that statement. An original project is the most highly regarded, as are basic science projects, but how feasible is it for the average medical student to start these kind of projects and get a pub (manuscript) out of it before ERAS? You're better off working on these kind of intensive projects in conjunction with smaller projects that have a much higher likelihood of getting published. If you want to seriously dedicate your time and effort to publishing an original work, I would say that having some kind of protected research time is the most ideal.
 
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Dr G Oogle

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I don't agree with this statement. Systematic reviews are the highest level of clinical evidence, but this is not to say that they're the most highly regarded paper that a medical student should aim to publish. When it comes to residency applications, I would say an original research paper would be just as well-regarded, or even moreso, than a review.

systematic reviews with meta-analysis of Multiple randomized control trials is the highest level of evidence. These often take a very long time to synthesize, knowledge of advance statistics and are the best type of research that can accurately be described as evidence based evidence. This is much more impressive than any original work short of an RCT or perhaps an observational prospective cohort with a large number of patients, which are only more impressive because of the effort it requires to execute not necessarily because it is a valuable.

if a student can be the first author of a systematic review I would literally hound the PD at my program to accept them day and Night until the student was accepted oR they slapped me with a restraining order. A systematic review demonstrates both a deep knowledge of the material but also research methodology both of which make for a superstar academic physician.

Note this is different than a review of a bunch of retrospective chart based cohorts, or just a “review” paper, though I wouldn’t necessarily dismiss those either. And I don’t recommend trying to perform a meta-analysis as a student since the majority of attendings couldn’t even complete such a feat.

A student worked on a paper on overactive bladder and diabetes and basically did all the lit review and wrote the paper themselves and was first author. And I am sure this will not be viewed any less favorably than had they done an original paper.
 
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peachrings

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systematic reviews with meta-analysis of Multiple randomized control trials is the highest level of evidence. These often take a very long time to synthesize, knowledge of advance statistics and are the best type of research that can accurately be described as evidence based evidence. This is much more impressive than any original work short of an RCT or perhaps an observational prospective cohort with a large number of patients, which are only more impressive because of the effort it requires to execute not necessarily because it is a valuable.

if a student can be the first author of a systematic review I would literally hound the PD at my program to accept them day and Night until the student was accepted oR they slapped me with a restraining order. A systematic review demonstrates both a deep knowledge of the material but also research methodology both of which make for a superstar academic physician.

Note this is different than a review of a bunch of retrospective chart based cohorts, or just a “review” paper, though I wouldn’t necessarily dismiss those either. And I don’t recommend trying to perform a meta-analysis as a student since the majority of attendings couldn’t even complete such a feat.

A student worked on a paper on overactive bladder and diabetes and basically did all the lit review and wrote the paper themselves and was first author. And I am sure this will not be viewed any less favorably than had they done an original paper.

Couldn't agree more. Recently submitted a meta-analysis project, which ended up taking 5x the time of a retrospective cohort study of >2000 patients. Chart reviews are good for med students because you don't need deep knowledge of the field if the mentors came up with good variables.
 
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Eye-eye

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I want to echo everyone saying real reviews take insane amounts of time. Don't do this unless you are absolutely dedicated to getting it done no matter what, likely because of passion for the topic and not just to get pubs. And you'll likely need a lot of help or a lot of background knowledge on the subject to do it well, though you obviously learn a lot by doing it, too. But yeah, crazy amount of work.
 
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Eye-eye

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So been reading through the comments and I’m seeing different ideas. My question is...would anyone be able to summarize to an M0 what type of research and strategies should one look at in order to churn out as much productivity as possible? I understand there’s a game to play, then what’s the best way to play it, tricks, high elo strats, meta game, etc.

Elsewhere and other threads I see pro-case reports, here I’m seeing the opposite.

I mean, it depends on your goal. If your goal is to check the research box so you don't have a deficiency in your application relative to others, do a few case reports so the section looks like you put in some decent effort. If you want an academic career and are a serious research hound, then case reports are pretty low-hanging and aren't going to wow anyone (and are very clinical, so maybe not ideal if you're looking for a mix of basic science and clinical medicine in your career). I am definitely the former, so I just went for stuff I knew I would have time to finish reasonably, and ended up taking on a lot of them because they can be so short. Beefing up a couple into reviewing all the available cases made for some more interesting analyses, and something potentially more interesting to the application reviewer. This didn't take much additional time, but only because I saw some exceedingly rare stuff in M3 so there weren't many cases to sift through; can't do it with n>50-100 without more time investment, which may or may not be worth it. But I know the articles are unlikely to be read beyond the title by anyone looking at my app, so I made sure that in addition to "a case study," my title had "statistical review of the literature" or something like that in it. It's stupid crap like that that you do to game the system slightly in your favor if you're just checking a box. But if you're serious about research and an academic career, you really should shoot higher and assume the app reader may do a little bit more digging into your pubs, I would imagine.
 
D

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I mean, it depends on your goal. If your goal is to check the research box so you don't have a deficiency in your application relative to others, do a few case reports so the section looks like you put in some decent effort. If you want an academic career and are a serious research hound, then case reports are pretty low-hanging and aren't going to wow anyone (and are very clinical, so maybe not ideal if you're looking for a mix of basic science and clinical medicine in your career). I am definitely the former, so I just went for stuff I knew I would have time to finish reasonably, and ended up taking on a lot of them because they can be so short. Beefing up a couple into reviewing all the available cases made for some more interesting analyses, and something potentially more interesting to the application reviewer. This didn't take much additional time, but only because I saw some exceedingly rare stuff in M3 so there weren't many cases to sift through; can't do it with n>50-100 without more time investment, which may or may not be worth it. But I know the articles are unlikely to be read beyond the title by anyone looking at my app, so I made sure that in addition to "a case study," my title had "statistical review of the literature" or something like that in it. It's stupid crap like that that you do to game the system slightly in your favor if you're just checking a box. But if you're serious about research and an academic career, you really should shoot higher and assume the app reader may do a little bit more digging into your pubs, I would imagine.

In terms of goals, neither or somewhere in between? I likely want to match into a competitive speciality, which I assume likes a lot of research, and also at a large academic center for residency. I don’t necessarily want to be a research hound physician. I hope to do more clinical work than research but I definitely see research in my career. As for the “big name” places, mainly because my family and SO are located in an area where the closest academic hospitals are big name research institutions.

Say if I want to match into derm (just an example) at an academic center, what should my game-plan be?
 
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