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How to know if a research opportunity will lead to publication?

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MickyMyki

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Hey ya'll

so I am interested in the field of ENT and was wondering how to make sure I find a research opportunity which will likely lead to publication. In undergrad/high school I always ended up with lame projects in which I helped the boss more than the other way around. So:

1) How do I broach the topic about publishing in the first convo with a PI? Obviously I also want to research to advance the field of medicine, but getting something out of it would also be nice. How do I frame the question of future possibilities about first author, etc in the first meeting?

2) How do I know I can trust the PI? What are things to look for? A lot of PIs make things seem better than they are...

3) Should I email more than one mentor and talk with multiple to evaluate options? or will PIs most likely talk and feel like I'm feigning interest in their respective projects?

4) Should I email attendings about clinical research or residents? Which would be better?

You help is appreciated. thanks in advance guys
 

ProfMD

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Get to know some of the ENT attendings and residents. You can start by going to their educations conferences. Once you get to know some of them, you can broach the topic of research. Possibilities about being first author might not be best in the first meeting. However, in general, if you take the lead on a project, and do the lion's share of the work, any honest attending should make you first author.

Find out which attendings have a good track record for publication. This can be done with a simple PubMed search. Pay the most attention to the manuscripts for which they were the senior (last) author. If they are on a bunch of manuscripts, but always in the middle of the author list, this does not mean as much.

Find out which residents have a good track record for publication. This is less important than the attending, but still helpful if you are planning on collaborating with that resident. Focus on manuscripts where the resident is the lead (first) author.

At this stage, you are probably going to be looking mostly for clinical manuscripts. Case reports are nice resume padding, but try and get involved in some retrospective reviews or database studies. The chances of you publishing a basic science article without taking time off is pretty slim although some people have managed to end up in the middle of the author list from a summer research project. Prospective clinical projects are not realistic as a medical student, in my opinion.
 
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OnePunchBiopsy

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    Short answer:

    You won't know. There is a lot of luck involved with getting a pub, and the shorter the research duration the more luck that is involved.

    Just be humble, and always hungry to contribute to the project. Best of luck!
     
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    Redpancreas

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    Hey ya'll

    so I am interested in the field of ENT and was wondering how to make sure I find a research opportunity which will likely lead to publication. In undergrad/high school I always ended up with lame projects in which I helped the boss more than the other way around. So:

    1) How do I broach the topic about publishing in the first convo with a PI? Obviously I also want to research to advance the field of medicine, but getting something out of it would also be nice. How do I frame the question of future possibilities about first author, etc in the first meeting?

    2) How do I know I can trust the PI? What are things to look for? A lot of PIs make things seem better than they are...

    3) Should I email more than one mentor and talk with multiple to evaluate options? or will PIs most likely talk and feel like I'm feigning interest in their respective projects?

    4) Should I email attendings about clinical research or residents? Which would be better?

    You help is appreciated. thanks in advance guys


    Take this all with a grain of salt because I haven't been very successful in my pursuit of publications, but I'm not trying very hard to be fair.

    The best thing to do is just ask. I feel the mistakes many including I myself make is to assume opportunities are finite. I mean, of course they are...but like there are way more than you might thing and it's always worth alienating one than staying around to be nice. I'm probably one of the more passive, nice guy's out there and I even asked this question straight up to a PI who invited me to an interview and I declined when I found out he/she was hoping to publish one paper in a couple years. That being said, I regret that decision because I ended up going to a competitive research externship where I ended up paired with a not-very-academically minded physician whereas the opportunity I turned down had a student win an award at a national conference.

    1) When there's time for questions, tell them you're interested in academic medicine and that you're expectation is to publish and was wondering what the chances of that are. The publication mindset is too well-known for that question to appear rude. Don't ask about first author though. Just start mentioning it and then kinda of reading their body language. In some cases, the PI may be put off but I think this is the way to go

    2.) Just try to see what kind of physician they are. Do they see a lot of patients? Do they seem aloof? Some red flags are when they don't reply to emails often or are not able to give you definitive answers to your questions. If they can't do this when they need to make a good impression, chances are doing research with them will be a wild goose chase.

    3.) Absolutely email more than one. My school had an Excel spreadsheet with hundreds of names and I sorted them and emailed all the ones I was interested in doing research with. I ended up hearing back from like 3 out of maybe 25-30. People say the academic world is small and PIs talk and whatever but the thing is everyone's still human man. They understand that you want X to fulfill your goals and if they do some back-talking that's weak on their part not yours. You shouldn't act based on the possibility of that happening.

    4.) Both because either can be the PI. I personally think residents are likely dole out busy work whereas attendings and program directors may give you something more substantial.
     
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    SurfingDoctor

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    1) How do I broach the topic about publishing in the first convo with a PI? Obviously I also want to research to advance the field of medicine, but getting something out of it would also be nice. How do I frame the question of future possibilities about first author, etc in the first meeting?

    2) How do I know I can trust the PI? What are things to look for? A lot of PIs make things seem better than they are...

    3) Should I email more than one mentor and talk with multiple to evaluate options? or will PIs most likely talk and feel like I'm feigning interest in their respective projects?

    4) Should I email attendings about clinical research or residents? Which would be better?

    1. Email them or if you've seen them, ask them directly if they have any project you could help out with. They may say yes, no or direct you to someone else who can take on a student. Don't take it personally if they say "no", it actually takes effort on the part of the PI to take on and teach a student in research. Sometimes, people will not have time for that for that commitment. As far as 1st author publication, I think it depends on how much time and effort you put into the project. If you do 8 scattered weeks, getting you name on something should be enough. However if you work on a project (intermittently) over a long period of time, it may be reasonable to be first author. I don't think you should ask up front though. 1st authorship is a reward for good work.

    2. Trust? I'm not sure what it meant by that. The better question is how do I know a PI will be a good mentor? The answer is you can never know. Even if they have 100+ publications and a 3 R01s, they may still be an incredibly crappy mentor, even though from a funding and publication standpoint, they are really successful. And just because they publish doesn't mean they will necessarily include you. Personally, I tell students and trainees what to expect, but not everyone is going to do that. It really is just the luck of the draw. People who may have collaborated or worked with a particular person (but aren't currently) or who have a loose association may be able to tell you past mentee's experiences, but again, if they know the person, they are unlikely whether to tell you if someone is really good at mentoring or not for fear of burning bridges.

    3. Yes. The more people you talk to, the better your chances of dealing with Question 2.

    4. I've never had an experience talking to residents about how to get research back when I was a student, since most residents get their research from attendings. Better to go straight to the top of the food chain for research projects. However the residents may give you an idea of which attendings to talk to.
     
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