How important is getting published ?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by FreeMeDoctor, Apr 13, 2007.

  1. FreeMeDoctor

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    I have been offered the chance to work on a research project with one of my professors. He said he is certain the project will be published. He said I could be the second author if I committ to working at least 15 hours a week in his lab. Do you think this is worth all the effort ? It is an immuno project which is my fav subject but 15 hours a week is a lot of time.

    Also, is there any real difference between being the first author, second author and third author ?
     
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  3. FizbanZymogen

    FizbanZymogen Guitar Hero Champion
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    Its always looks good to have your name on a publication, especially one medically related. At all my interviews my research/publication was always brought up and was regarded very favorably. I would take the oppurtunity as it will make you more competative and you could get a very nice LOR out of it.
     
  4. Wanna_B_Scutty

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    Yes, totally worth it. If you're shooting for a big US News Research school, being published is kinda like the keys-to-the-kingdom. And even if you're more interested in primary-care focused schools, being published will still look pretty honkin' good.

    There's a big difference between first author and second author-- first author implies a great deal of leadership, especially for an undergrad. There is not, however, a huge difference between second author and third author.
     
  5. ssquared

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    First author is generally seen as the person who did most of the work, and the last author is the PI of the lab. Everybody else has to fight to be in the middle.

    I suppose your choice comes down to whether you want to do the research or not. Who cares if you're published if you hated every minute of the research involved? If it's not something you're interested in, then don't bother. It may look good, but only to the research oriented schools (do you want to go to those schools if you don't like research?).
     
  6. bluesTank

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    well first of all there is a HUGE difference between being primary author, and a secondary author. Primary author tends to be the one who designs the experiment and does most of the work. Unless you are in some research fellows program or something, there is very little chance that anyone in undergraduate will be a primary author.

    I guess it would depend on your major, how much free time you have, and how involved you are with other things. That sounds like a nice opportunity, but it also may take a veeery long time to get a publication. Also keep in mind that just becasue he says it will be publishable, doesnt mean it will be published. My girlfriend completed a project in her lab with a post-doc end of her sophmore year. They are just now (end of junior year) finalizing everything and making final corrections.
     
  7. swissmiss

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    I agree with the above poster that publications are very good.

    As I understand it, it doesn't really make that much difference what number author you are when you're a student. Obviously it looks more impressive if you are the first or last (senior) author but in between, they're all the same. It becomes more important if you enter the academic world and are trying to get promoted or to get grants.
     
  8. msa786

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    i know plenty of students that got accepted without any publications but strong research backgrounds so while a publication will definitely help you not having one will not hurt you either
     
  9. Law2Doc

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    I probably would do it if you can spare the time. Publications look good on an app. But most people who get into med school will get in without one.
    As for order of publications, first slot is most prestigious, second is ok although not as good as first (I disagree with the prior poster who equated it with third, though), last slot is the PI, and anything after second and before the PI is of lesser significance.
     
  10. 45408

    45408 aw buddy
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    Most med students aren't published prior to matriculating, if that tells you anything. Most have done some research, but it's hard to get published in your spare time.
     
  11. sendwich

    sendwich you rock!
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  12. Winter

    Winter Googleholic
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    In the lab where I work, I do literature searches. My job is to find specific information, but also to stay on top of developments in our field of research, so that we are always up to date. Basically I spend a lot of time reading and searching for journal articles and going through databases. I don't really do much bench work...

    My teacher said that I could get my name on the paper...where would I fall...last? Just wondering how much weight the work I do carries...
     
  13. gujuDoc

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    I agree with Law2doc. 2nd author is not equal to 3rd or 4th author but not as high as 1st author either.

    Order or authorship indicates how big your role in the project is. The closer to one you are the more likely you had a bigger role in the project. Getting published is not easy so if it happens it is a big deal to adcoms. It isn't necessary but if your goal is a top tier RESEARCH school then publications will definitely help.

    If you think you can do it without schoolwork suffering I say go for it.
     
  14. Law2Doc

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    Again, last would be the PI -- the person whose name is on the lab. You would not get to be last.
     
  15. Winter

    Winter Googleholic
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    Sorry...
    I guess what I meant, is how far down the list would I be? A lot of times I feel like my job isn't that important because it doesn't actually involve any bench chemistry. Just lit searches. I don't work with chemicals or make anything like some of the other people in the lab. I just look for information in scientific journals for people.
     
  16. GreenShirt

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    Second author is very good for an undergrad. It's true that first author is the one who's done the most work, but on a paper with many authors First and Second are the most significant positions. After that three, four, etc. are not significant unless there is a note saying they contributed equally.

    Top MD schools look very favorably upon research, so if you haven't done any this is a good opportunity. 10-15 hrs/week isn't a lot of time for an undergrad job. The amount of work you do each week is going to vary greatly, 15 is likely an average. If the lab is used to Undergrads, they should be sympathetic if you have to come in less some weeks b/c of tests.
     
  17. blargh

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    if you can do it, go for it. a lot of pre-meds who get their names on publications are piggybacking on their PIs though.
     
  18. Law2Doc

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    A lot of undergrads get stuck onto papers in eg. the 4th or 5th slot as a courtesy, from a benificent PI, just so they get their name on a publication. So these spots don't mean as much. I would still list it as a publication, because it at least means someone with professional credentials liked you enough to list you. But it certainly doesn't carry the clout of the initial spot or two.
     
  19. SpartanBlueJay2

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    Seriously, only 15 hrs. a week for a second authorship? That's pretty darn good. 15 hrs/week is really very little in a lab. I'm applying in the upcoming cycle and I should have at least 3 first-author manuscripts under review somewhere before I (hopefully) start med school in fall '08, but I've been a full-time graduate student for the last 3 years. Full-time meaning 40+ hrs/week. There are people in my lab who worked for 8 years to get a paper. For my undergrad research project, I was in lab >15 hrs/week and never even came close to a publication, so if I were you, I'd jump at the chance to have a publication for so little time.
     
  20. 45408

    45408 aw buddy
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    Don't count on it. I did a lot of the legwork for a project in a lab, but because I didn't design it or write the manuscript, I wasn't even in the running to be put on as an author.
     
  21. Tired Pigeon

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    Do it for the following reasons:

    1. Second author is really good for undergrad
    2. Any published research is going to look great on you med school application
    3. The opportunity is in a subject area you're really interested in -- many people aren't fortunate enough to get an offer in something the love
    4. 15 hours really isn't bad, especially if it's interesting
    5. You'll have a chance to build a personal relationship with your PI; strong personal relationships make for great LORs

    Good luck to you!:luck:
     
  22. vixen26

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    Jump at this opportunity please...15 hours is nothing for a chance to be published and get really good research experience.
     
  23. Tartheheel

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    :confused: Is getting a pub (basic research) on a medically related issue really important?

    (I understand that simply getting res. experience is very imp. BUT, what i mean here is basic (non-medical) vs. basic medical res.)

    And what should an undergrad choose :confused: ? : (This is a Q for a friend :) )

    a 50% chance for a first-authored pub in a 'crappy journal' for a basic physical science res. project (a 100% chance of a poster/lec. at a conference) that DOES NOT have so much of a significant 'impact' on too many people, but attempts (pretty successfully) to refute res. someone did earlier....basically certain nitty-gritty aspects of it that wouldn't so much affect too many people (probably just intrigue :eek: a very narrow sect. of scientists...), but nonetheless demonstrates an aptitude for res. analysis/physical science, and ability to actually do "research" (not just do slave/B**h work in a lab...)...It'll be done under the guidance of a highly respected factuly member (not a med faculty however). The opportunity costs are not being able to do most of what's mentioned below...:smuggrin:

    OR?

    A chance to play an integral role in a medically-related project (again NOT clinical, but basic) under a med. school faculty member, from whom he/she'd probably get a strong LOR and 'favoritism' benefits (during the app. cycle..maybe :rolleyes: ), and at least a chance for a poster/conference lect. & honors thesis?..

    Thanks...He/She'd appreciate ANY advice.
     
  24. AnEyeLikeMars

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    I totally agree. I was just about to post this
     
  25. AnEyeLikeMars

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    Definitely. Getting your work published is great, but your participation doesn't need to end in a publication for it to be a great experience.
     
  26. dantt

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    I would say do it only if you're interested in the research/lab. Although being published is a great objective marker, the reality of research is that the things you learn from it, the subjective markers, are far more important than what you get from it. It's kind of like if you were graduating as a PhD student. The quality of your work is far more important than the number of publications you list in your CV when you're looking for a job or position.

    The quality of your research is more important than being listed as a second author on a manuscript. If you were a primary author, that would be a different story because the quality of your work to some extent has been validated by your peers in the field.
     
  27. ssquared

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    Like L2D said, you might get to be listed as an author, but you'd probably be last in terms of priority. Undergrads simply don't get listed all that often for papers, and if you've only been doing lit searches then your chances aren't nearly as high as people who did the experiments (not to say what you do isn't valuable-it certainly is, and I'm sure they really appreciate your effort).

    I did an experiment last summer: did background research, ran the dosage trials, performed the entire thing (it was behavior based, so it took forever), and processed the data (not to mention I wrote part of the paper draft). I'm the second author on the paper. Talk about getting shaft...but because I'm an undergrad with no degrees, they can do that. Such is life.
     
  28. premeddick

    premeddick Junior Member
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    Whats the deal with authorship where a person might be listed second or third but has an asterisk that indicates, "this author contributed equally to this work" Does it mean that the person is a co-first author and is it looked upon equally (by adcomms, colleagues, SDNers) to the person actually listed first.
    Thanks.
     
  29. Chargers

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    Wow only 15 hours/week? that's a pretty good deal. I have been working 20 hours/week in 2 years for my paper. Although it's my own paper and my name is on it first, but it's still a lot of work. I would jumped to another opportunity like yours to get my name on a second paper. I love to publish stuffs:D
     
  30. Tartheheel

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    Yes.
     
  31. premeddick

    premeddick Junior Member
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    Whats the difference between in press and accepted? Is this an important distinction?
     
  32. remo

    remo Senior Member
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    It would be awesome to get published and Adcoms would love it. Keep in mind that actually getting a paper accepted in a decent journal is much harder than the PI will admit. It could take multiple rounds of submission, doing extra experiments, etc... before it is finally accepted. It may not be accepted before you have to submit your AMCAS. I would look at the track record of the lab and see if other undergrads have been published and where they have gone after leaving the lab, etc... You might have a PI that is exaggerating the potential of the project in order to get some cheap labor.
     
  33. FreeMeDoctor

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    Thanks everyone. I am going to do the research and get published. I hope my classes dont suffer from the extra 15 hours of lab work.

    No more weekends !
     
  34. LaMedecine

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    I definitely agree with this post, depending on the nature of the research you're attempting to publish and how "relevant" it is will determine the timeliness in which you get published and where you are published. Most importantly, some PI's really want their students to get published and encourage them :) , while others are grimy :mad: and tell you what you want to hear, so that you will devote your life to their research. There is never any guarantee.

    I've had both kinds of PIs...
     
  35. 45408

    45408 aw buddy
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    This has never happened before!



    :smuggrin: it happens all the time, trust me.
     

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