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

Matthew9Thirtyfive

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Very useful thread; if anyone has any comments about finding mentors, it'd be really appreciated. Are professors really that receptive to email?

I found my mentors through interest groups and emailing faculty I had worked with as a TA. The faculty who get involved in interest groups get into that because they want to help students out and a lot of them will gladly take on students for research ime. Also, some of the interest groups at my school have sign up sheets to connect students to faculty members for research.
 
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Very useful thread; if anyone has any comments about finding mentors, it'd be really appreciated. Are professors really that receptive to email?

This is what I would do.

1. Email PD of field you're interested in and ask if they know any faculty who are good mentors. Some departments have research coordinators which will also work.
2. If #1 fails, cold email attendings in your field of interest. Convey why specifically you're interested in their work and what you hope to contribute and get from it. Then ask for a meeting. Repeat as needed.
 
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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?

You pretty much chose the most (top 3?) competitive specialty, so you would need lots of field-specific research. This can be clinical, translational, or basic. Academic derm programs will carefully scrutinize your research so you will need first author papers and more than just case reports.
 
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AnatomyGrey12

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

Real peer reviewed publications in addition to presentations at national conferences.

This is in addition to 250+, AOA, honors on most if not all rotations.
 
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You pretty much chose the most (top 3?) competitive specialty, so you would need lots of field-specific research. This can be clinical, translational, or basic. Academic derm programs will carefully scrutinize your research so you will need first author papers and more than just case reports.
Browsing around SDN and even in this thread, I see a lot of mention of the strategy to just pump out as many research items as possible, not necessarily first author papers. In my hypothetical scenario, would one need to do both (pump out volume AND first author papers) or shift focus into first author papers and not waste time with volume fluff?

Would this change if it was a relatively less competitive specialty at a big name research places? (idk, like gas or something)

Just trying to get a sense of how this all works.
 

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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.

Properly designing and analyzing a quality original research study often takes more statistical knowledge than synthesizing a meta analysis, which is fairly standardized. There is high variability in the quality of both types of studies though, and clearly any medical student that can do a high-quality paper of either type (capable of getting into top journals) is far beyond average. Not that any of this matters that much, if doing research solely for the sake of the match. I've seen many students who just publish high quantities of bs that got into top tier programs in competitive specialties. The expectations at this level are not very high.
 
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Browsing around SDN and even in this thread, I see a lot of mention of the strategy to just pump out as many research items as possible, not necessarily first author papers. In my hypothetical scenario, would one need to do both (pump out volume AND first author papers) or shift focus into first author papers and not waste time with volume fluff?

Would this change if it was a relatively less competitive specialty at a big name research places? (idk, like gas or something)

Just trying to get a sense of how this all works.

I think there has been a shift towards both quantity and quality. Lots of items where you're middle author, but there should be 2-3 that are first authors where you did most of the intellectual work. Safest strategy is to take on a portion of safe projects where you just hop on and some long-term projects that you can really own.

I'm not too sure about less competitive specialty at big name places. Step 1, AOA, and clinical grades probably still trump anything else at top tier places for specialties like IM, gas.
 
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AnonymousDoctorGuyPerson

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To hop on to this - as someone with little clinical research experience what are some skills I should acquire so that my time is actually valuable to a PI? Any recommended resources? Thank you!
 
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Dwan

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Browsing around SDN and even in this thread, I see a lot of mention of the strategy to just pump out as many research items as possible, not necessarily first author papers. In my hypothetical scenario, would one need to do both (pump out volume AND first author papers) or shift focus into first author papers and not waste time with volume fluff?

Would this change if it was a relatively less competitive specialty at a big name research places? (idk, like gas or something)

Just trying to get a sense of how this all works.

First author papers have a lot more weight. However, you want a high number count still, otherwise your publications/application might not be noticed. Most people applying competitive specialties will have a very high # count (as seen by the charting outcomes) because people are also counting abstracts (sometimes the same one multiple times) and submitted "manuscripts". Not saying I would recommend dampening your CV like this if you have legit papers, but your # count should be somewhat comparable at least.
 
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Dr G Oogle

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Browsing around SDN and even in this thread, I see a lot of mention of the strategy to just pump out as many research items as possible, not necessarily first author papers. In my hypothetical scenario, would one need to do both (pump out volume AND first author papers) or shift focus into first author papers and not waste time with volume fluff?

Would this change if it was a relatively less competitive specialty at a big name research places? (idk, like gas or something)

Just trying to get a sense of how this all works.

it is probably specialty and even program dependent. If I was interviewing you in urology or obgyn and you had one first author I’d view it more favorably than 3 middle authors. I think it unlikely that anyone would be overly impressed with someone with lots of middle author papers and no FA papers. I would always try to shoot for a FA project and if you get more than One paper out of it, great, if not then you still have an FA. If you’re applying for a specialty that you need multiple high yield projects than a research your is probably needed.
 
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bGMx

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A quote that stuck with me from Laozi or another Chinese scholar in my undergraduate was to never start a new book until you finish the first one. There is a clear trade-off between quality and quantity, and it is not clear to me that it is zero-sum. Quality > quantity.
 
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To hop on to this - as someone with little clinical research experience what are some skills I should acquire so that my time is actually valuable to a PI? Any recommended resources? Thank you!

stats programming: R, STATA are most common. R is objectively superior IMO but a lot of ppl like STATA.

outcomes analysis and statistics. Your university/med school hopefully offers a course on this. If not a lot can be learned on the job / stackexchange but need someone/a mentor who will help you. We have a ton of How To Clinical Research electives of varying levels, I imagine other places have something similar.

Being rly good at excel helps too but if you’re really good at R you don’t need to be really good at Excel
 
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AnonymousDoctorGuyPerson

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stats programming: R, STATA are most common. R is objectively superior IMO but a lot of ppl like STATA.

outcomes analysis and statistics. Your university/med school hopefully offers a course on this. If not a lot can be learned on the job / stackexchange but need someone/a mentor who will help you. We have a ton of How To Clinical Research electives of varying levels, I imagine other places have something similar.

Being rly good at excel helps too but if you’re really good at R you don’t need to be really good at Excel

Very helpful post, thank you!

EDIT: My friend is a data scientist for Microsoft and recommended Datacamp for R and/or Python and pointed out that Microsoft Visual Studio gives you a 2 month trial of Datacamp (Enhance your data science skills today with the DataCamp benefit in selected Visual Studio subscriptions.), so I think I'll jump into this to learn R.
 
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Frogger27

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Browsing around SDN and even in this thread, I see a lot of mention of the strategy to just pump out as many research items as possible, not necessarily first author papers. In my hypothetical scenario, would one need to do both (pump out volume AND first author papers) or shift focus into first author papers and not waste time with volume fluff?

Would this change if it was a relatively less competitive specialty at a big name research places? (idk, like gas or something)

Just trying to get a sense of how this all works.

So here is my 2 cents. These two things are not mutually exclusive. It is not either "publish a first author paper" or "get multiple middle author papers". From my experience, these two are highly intertwined and opportunities tend to arrive once you have proven yourself/work hard.

The important thing is to a) find a good mentor who publishes and wants to get involved and b) do a good job - become THE PERSON for your mentor. This will breed opportunities where they will depend on you and ultimately lead to publications

I will use my experience as an example:

First thing he had me do was read about his research and discuss with him to make sure I had an idea of what was going on. After that, it involved creating the database and doing hundreds of hours of chart review. This was no small task. I busted my a** to get this done and it did not go unnoticed and I earned his trust. This inevitably led to my own project with the database that I was first author on. He began recruiting other medical students who were interested in research into his lab, except he did not have the time or intricate knowledge of the database/chart extraction to teach them. This led to me becoming the "research coordinator" in essence and it was my responsibility to train people and handle the database. After successfully building his research database, working hard on the opportunities given to me, and being dependable and productive, his trust in me was established and I officially become "The research guy." Opportunities started flowing to me: "I just got an offer to write a commentary on this. Want to do it?"... "Can you help this medical student with a letter to the editor?".... "I have this project that has been sitting around for 2 years and needs a little push, want to take it?".... "Student X is working on a manuscript but it is their first time writing... Can you help them with it?"

I ended up applying to a different field. But the lessons I learned from this research experience allowed me to quickly become productive in my new field as I fully understood the publication process and was able to contribute to projects in a variety of ways. This is incredibly important - you learn a lot by going through the publication process and helping out on research in a variety of ways. I will be able to intelligently talk about during interviews every part of research (IRB, data collection, statistical analysis, writing, etc). This is the most important thing you should learn as a medical student because you will inevitably be much busier and not have the time to learn this in residency.

so TLDR; the correct mindset is not "Is it better to get a first author or multiple middle pubs", you need to focus on getting the right opportunity (which in hindsight takes some luck), work incredibly hard to prove yourself and learn everything you can with the opportunities given so you can contribute to projects in multiple different ways. The publications will come once you do this.

Also, @DNC127 thread is the best example of this. It is the most informative/my favorite thread on SDN. I WISH I would have read his post as an incoming M1. He absolutely mastered this process and took full advantage of the opportunities given. I did this on a smaller scale, but still I would highly recommend reading his thread on research and apply what you can to your situation.
 
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So here is my 2 cents. These two things are not mutually exclusive. It is not either "publish a first author paper" or "get multiple middle author papers". From my experience, these two are highly intertwined and opportunities tend to arrive once you have proven yourself/work hard.

The important thing is to a) find a good mentor who publishes and wants to get involved and b) do a good job - become THE PERSON for your mentor. This will breed opportunities where they will depend on you and ultimately lead to publications

I will use my experience as an example:

First thing he had me do was read about his research and discuss with him to make sure I had an idea of what was going on. After that, it involved creating the database and doing hundreds of hours of chart review. This was no small task. I busted my a** to get this done and it did not go unnoticed and I earned his trust. This inevitably led to my own project with the database that I was first author on. He began recruiting other medical students who were interested in research into his lab, except he did not have the time or intricate knowledge of the database/chart extraction to teach them. This led to me becoming the "research coordinator" in essence and it was my responsibility to train people and handle the database. After successfully building his research database, working hard on the opportunities given to me, and being dependable and productive, his trust in me was established and I officially become "The research guy." Opportunities started flowing to me: "I just got an offer to write a commentary on this. Want to do it?"... "Can you help this medical student with a letter to the editor?".... "I have this project that has been sitting around for 2 years and needs a little push, want to take it?".... "Student X is working on a manuscript but it is their first time writing... Can you help them with it?"

I ended up applying to a different field. But the lessons I learned from this research experience allowed me to quickly become productive in my new field as I was fully understood the publication process and was able to contribute to projects in a variety of ways. This is incredibly important - you learn a lot by going through the publication process and helping out on research in a variety of ways. I will be able to intelligently talk about during interviews every part of research (IRB, data collection, statistical analysis, writing, etc). This is the most important thing you should learn as a medical student because you will inevitably be much busier and not have the time to learn this in residency.

so TLDR; the correct mindset is not "Is it better to get a first author or multiple middle pubs", you need to focus on getting the right opportunity (which in hindsight takes some luck), work incredibly hard to prove yourself and learn everything you can with the opportunities given so you can contribute to projects in multiple different ways. The publications will come once you do this.

Also, @DNC127 thread is the best example of this. It is the most informative/my favorite thread on SDN. I WISH I would have read his post as an incoming M1. He absolutely mastered this process and took full advantage of the opportunities given. I did this on a smaller scale, but still I would highly recommend reading his thread on research and apply what you can to your situation.

Thank you for the insight! Btw do you mind linking the specific @DNC127 thread you are referring to? Having trouble finding it.
 

Frogger27

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Thank you for the insight! Btw do you mind linking the specific @DNC127 thread you are referring to? Having trouble finding it.

 
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deleted688779

So here is my 2 cents. These two things are not mutually exclusive. It is not either "publish a first author paper" or "get multiple middle author papers". From my experience, these two are highly intertwined and opportunities tend to arrive once you have proven yourself/work hard.

The important thing is to a) find a good mentor who publishes and wants to get involved and b) do a good job - become THE PERSON for your mentor. This will breed opportunities where they will depend on you and ultimately lead to publications

I will use my experience as an example:

First thing he had me do was read about his research and discuss with him to make sure I had an idea of what was going on. After that, it involved creating the database and doing hundreds of hours of chart review. This was no small task. I busted my a** to get this done and it did not go unnoticed and I earned his trust. This inevitably led to my own project with the database that I was first author on. He began recruiting other medical students who were interested in research into his lab, except he did not have the time or intricate knowledge of the database/chart extraction to teach them. This led to me becoming the "research coordinator" in essence and it was my responsibility to train people and handle the database. After successfully building his research database, working hard on the opportunities given to me, and being dependable and productive, his trust in me was established and I officially become "The research guy." Opportunities started flowing to me: "I just got an offer to write a commentary on this. Want to do it?"... "Can you help this medical student with a letter to the editor?".... "I have this project that has been sitting around for 2 years and needs a little push, want to take it?".... "Student X is working on a manuscript but it is their first time writing... Can you help them with it?"

I ended up applying to a different field. But the lessons I learned from this research experience allowed me to quickly become productive in my new field as I was fully understood the publication process and was able to contribute to projects in a variety of ways. This is incredibly important - you learn a lot by going through the publication process and helping out on research in a variety of ways. I will be able to intelligently talk about during interviews every part of research (IRB, data collection, statistical analysis, writing, etc). This is the most important thing you should learn as a medical student because you will inevitably be much busier and not have the time to learn this in residency.

so TLDR; the correct mindset is not "Is it better to get a first author or multiple middle pubs", you need to focus on getting the right opportunity (which in hindsight takes some luck), work incredibly hard to prove yourself and learn everything you can with the opportunities given so you can contribute to projects in multiple different ways. The publications will come once you do this.

Also, @DNC127 thread is the best example of this. It is the most informative/my favorite thread on SDN. I WISH I would have read his post as an incoming M1. He absolutely mastered this process and took full advantage of the opportunities given. I did this on a smaller scale, but still I would highly recommend reading his thread on research and apply what you can to your situation.
Thanks for your detailed thoughts on the question. I was initially under the impression that one would have limited time on their hands, thus need to choose between quality vs quantity to avoid ending up with neither, especially since some say a high-volume is what gets you in competitive matches while others say it’s high-quality FA pubs.

Regarding your point in finding a mentor, would this be an established PI or a resident/fellow? I am assuming you’re talking about a PI but I’ve also read other comments suggesting one to approach residents and fellows because they’re pressed to produce research items.

On the topic of mentorship, what do you suggest if my school has a small department in a specialty I’m interested in? After speaking to current students, it seems like there is high demand for opportunities in this specialty given a high student interest to faculty/opportunities ratio typical at the school. The M4s also mentioned there is an especially well-known hot-shot PI who always ends up with at least 1-2 students matching at tippy top places every single year, regularly the places in my home city. At first glance, that’s the guy I probably want to work with.

When do you think is a good time to start reaching out for research? To be honest, I feel pressured to reach out asap given the demand but I also worry about my performance in school and whether I can adjust while taking on research. My school is true P/F, however.
 

AnonymousDoctorGuyPerson

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When do you think is a good time to start reaching out for research? To be honest, I feel pressured to reach out asap given the demand but I also worry about my performance in school and whether I can adjust while taking on research. My school is true P/F, however.

I'm personally reaching out shortly to get a headstart, but I also have ties to the institution and have an idea of who to contact. If you're concerned about performance I would wait until after your first block is over, especially if your school does all of anatomy in the beginning.
 
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Eye-eye

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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?
If you're more interested than box-checking, I would go for something a little more meaningful like chart review stuff. Basic science also can be good if you can dedicate some longitudinal time to it, but I wouldn't only do that in case you can't get any pubs on it while you're in med school.
 
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Goro

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Apologies if this has been posted already, but I don't feel like reading through the two pages.

See post #21 here:

 
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