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question about publication

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Legend, Jul 6, 2001.

  1. Legend

    Legend Super Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Mar 29, 2001
    is receiving 'acknowledgement' different from 'publication'?

    I submitted AMCAS yesterday, but today I realize I have been acknowledged by the first author of the paper. "I thank legi2000 for techincal advice... blah blah"

    Is it worth anything?
     
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  3. lilycat

    lilycat Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Are you actually listed as an author on the paper/abstract? If you are a co-author, you could count it as a publication. If it's just an acknowledgement, it's probably not necessary to mention on your application.
     
  4. Legend

    Legend Super Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Mar 29, 2001
    thanks! that's what I thought.
     
  5. sandflea

    sandflea Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    yeah, acknowledgements don't mean much. i work in a lab and we've acknowledged people in publications that we just got cell lines from or something trivial like that. something like that doesn't really count as scientific merit--it only 'counts' if you are listed as an author.

    some schools even take into account how 'high' on the author list you are and won't really count it as a publication if you are too far down the totem pole.
     
  6. lilycat

    lilycat Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    I think the "cherry" positions for authorship are first author, second author, and last author.
     
  7. sandflea

    sandflea Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    one school told me that they only consider an applicant's listed publication towards their admissions decision if the applicant is one of the first three authors. this makes sense, i guess--if you are the ninth of ten authors, then your contribution towards the published work was probably minimal anyway, especially since some PIs are extremely generous in adding people on as authors.

    frankly i would be impressed if an applicant was the last (senior) author, as senior authors are generally the PIs! that's an admit in my book! :D
     
  8. Legend

    Legend Super Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Sandflea. I don't know if you are really right about the last author.
    During my freshman summer, I did my own project and wrote a paper after getting some cool data. Two years passed by and the first author (my professor) mailed me the final manuscript to be published and there were three authors. I was listed as the third author (or last author). I am pretty sure I am not a PI. :)
    Also, I don't know what distinguishes 2nd author from a 3rd author. I have thought my professor listed the other authors in alphabetic order. This publication thing is really new to me because I didn't realize its value until now.

    What's the definition of author anyways? Isn't author someone who WRITES the paper? I (last author) wrote the half of the paper, and my professor (first author) wrote the half. But, the 2nd author person didn't write anything even though she did more experiments than me.

    Can anyone get rid of my confusion?
     
  9. Jamier2

    Jamier2 SDN Hillbilly Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    The placing of the senior author's name isn't always the last one, but it usually is. Most PI's I know list their name last, while others, including the one I work under, list their name first. I think, with my boss at least, it's an ego thing.
     
  10. imtiaz

    imtiaz i cant translate stupid Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    It's different for every PI. Personally, I think it's futile for the PI to try to list their name first. Their name is on every publication out of the lab, why hog the first spot? Everyone knows that they are the "mastermind" behind the research. It should be the person who actually physically writes the paper and did most of the work first, people who helped with the research second, third, etc, and the PI last. It's safe to say that 80% of labs work this way.
     
  11. imtiaz

    imtiaz i cant translate stupid Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    By the way, some PIs actually write the manuscript for students sometimes. In this case, it's OK for the PI to write his/her name first.
     
  12. Jamier2

    Jamier2 SDN Hillbilly Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    I agree, most labs do work the "right" way, and I also agree that it is senseless not to let the real workhorses get some credit by being first. That said, I will never be first author on the research I'm working on now. Maybe that's the source of my newfound lethargy? ;)
     
  13. TheAce

    TheAce Attending 10+ Year Member

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    Acknowledgements are worthless. The only thing worthy of your CV/AMCAS application are published or submitted works.

    The PI I worked for always put his name last and the project's main contributor first, regardless of who wrote the paper. Some PIs may have an huge ego and put their names first, that way the publication is always referred to as Smith et al., with Smith being the PI.
     
  14. sandflea

    sandflea Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    no, i realize that the last person isn't *always* the PI, but i'd say the majority of the time, it is. if not the PI, then it's usually a very senior member of the lab, or whoever puts up the money to fund the research. the first author is *generally* the one who does the majority of the work and actually writes up the paper. different people list the authors differently. but i'd agree with imtiaz's post above--that most labs list the PI last.

    actually, legi2000, i'm very surprised that you were the last author on your publication and your prof was first--that's generally not the norm. i had an abstract where there were three authors, and i was supposed to be first. but for whatever reason it was typed incorrectly and my PI wound up first author and i was senior! we had a nice laugh about that one. :D
     
  15. lilycat

    lilycat Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Just thought I'd add more to the fire. In both of my research settings, the PI usually put their name first, and the most senior person of the group came last, whether or not they actually did serious work on it. Kind of made me think of a tribute payment or something (or in New Orleans, lagniappe).

    As for the comment someone made about only listing as co-authors people who actually wrote part of the paper, that's often not the case. Many times, people who significantly contributed to the overall data collection and analysis of a project are listed as co-authors as well, even if they don't actually write any portion of the paper.
     
  16. imtiaz

    imtiaz i cant translate stupid Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Usually, one person writes the paper. That person goes first on the list of authors. There are several puny people (like undergrads, etc) that helped with the paper. These people come after the first author. The PI goes last, and you have an author list.

    You don't need to write anything to get on the author list. But often the person that writes the paper goes first. A lot of students don't write their own papers. Maybe this is why the PI writes his name first?


     
  17. rxfudd

    rxfudd 1K Member 10+ Year Member

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    I worked in a dept for a while where it was standard for the PI went first, the actual workers in the middle, and the dept head went last. It used to annoy me to no end that he went on most of the papersublications. I used to wonder if he even knew what the research was about...
     
  18. imtiaz

    imtiaz i cant translate stupid Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    That's stupid. Was it a small department? Only depts that don't publish often resort to crap like that.

     
  19. lilycat

    lilycat Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    HA! Actually, rxfudd is describing what went on exactly in both of the research settings I worked in -- and they both published like mad. A lot of very established, seemingly well-respected departments do operate like that. Also, there was another department I didn't work in, but was loosely associated with, and the dept. head (or division head) would sometimes rearrange the 1st/2nd author positions to cater to his own fancy, regardless of who was the PI or who actually did the write-up.
     
  20. imtiaz

    imtiaz i cant translate stupid Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    But you agree that it's stupid, right?

     
  21. Barton

    Barton Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    I also had a situation like this, and it was at a respectable institution (the Mayo Clinic Department of Nuclear Medicine). My partner and I did all the actual research work and data analysis, as well as first drafts of our manuscripts. We published four. I got primary authorship on one, secondary authorship on two, and additional authorship on one. My partner didn't getany primary authorship. We had no say in how the papers were listed. The director of our department (who had little input) got primary authorship on three of the papers. And some doctor from UCLA (who I had never seen or heard of) got authorship on one of our papers. That's the way it goes. I am just happy to be published at all. I believe that the dept. head's name on these papers is what got them published. I'll take any publications i can get. I guess this is probably the reason that our department head has 235 articles published.
     
  22. imtiaz

    imtiaz i cant translate stupid Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    I feel for all you guys who did research, wrote up a paper, and didn't get first authorship.

    I'm lucky, in that whenever a paper goes out from our lab its directly from the professor to the journal. No department heads involved.

    Now if I could only just get my experiment to work right!

     
  23. Jamier2

    Jamier2 SDN Hillbilly Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Same here. It that happens, I'll be famous, at least at the second author level. ;)
     
  24. lilycat

    lilycat Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    I agree to an extent that it's kind of stupid for someone who had almost no involvement with the actual study to be the first or last author, or any kind of author. However, I think that some of the rationale behind it is that without the clout of the department head or division head, we wouldn't have had some of the lab space or money that allowed the project to begin in the first place. (It's illegal, but it's not unusual for some PI's to get very creative with their grant money, especially depending on the restrictions that come with it). That's why I view it as a kind of tribute -- it's almost like they give you seed money for a business.

    Like Barton, I was pretty much just grateful to be a co-author on any publication -- I was a secondary author once, and just a contributing author for the others. I think it's far worse when your work and data contributes to a publication, and you aren't listed as a co-author at all, which just happened to me this year. :rolleyes: Sometimes I get really tired of being just a student -- I'm looking forward to the days when I have more power. :D
     
  25. kutastha

    kutastha 2K Member Physician 10+ Year Member

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    I couldn't agree with this part more.. In a rotation I was doing, I generated several charts and graphs of data that was the basis of an entire paper (in MCB, no less). Seven of the eight figures were actually my work, yet no co-authorship, not even an acknowledgement. I asked the PI what the deal was - he said, "Well, you were just a rotation student and anyone could have done those figures." Uh, yeah, but who did them, chief?

    Anyways, acknowledgements aren't realy much of anything. If you list them in your app, they'll wonder why you listed it, yet your name's not even on the paper.

     

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