Bikini Princess

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:cool: Hi all, <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> I'm an MSTP-hopeful..2003.

Does anyone have any advice on how to be published?

I've just been hired, after graduating two weeks ago, as a full-time research assistant . My new PI said he *might* let me write a paper...of course, only if we publishable results.

Here's my dilemma: I feel like I'm competing with the grad students (and likely a new post-doc) for research credit. I sense that even if I do a ton of work, it would all be interpreted and made into figures, etc by the grad students. .

I love doing research, but i don't want to be a tree for everyone to pick fruit from. I want to be responsible for interpreting my own there anyone who has advice or can identify with this?

thanks!! : )
- melissa

PS - I'm having fun with the AMCAS 2003 application right now.


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I think you may be expecting a bit much from your undergraduate research experience. You are the bottom of the totem pole and, if you're lucky, everything will rest on top of you. Being published is actually pretty rare for MSTP applicants and definitely isn't something you should demand of the lab you work in. If you can get a 4th or 5th authorship, or even just an acknowledgement...that really should suffice for your application and even that definitely isn't required or expected!


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First of all, congrats on your decision to apply MD/PhD. I am new here too, and I think we are in good company.

About publications: If you really want to be published, seek out a lab where people of your rank have been published before, recently. There are some PIs who don't think techs contribute intellectually to the work enough to get authorship. On the otherhand, there are PIs who were once techs too and they sympathize and will give you authorship.

If you donate alot of brainpower to a project, not just pipetting ability, there is no reason why your name should not be on a paper. So give your input whenever you have something insightful to say. Always ask questions about the bigger picture. In your own mind, do not treat any project as a 9-5 job. You are a scientist for life, no matter what others think your role is or should be for your level of education. Good luck Princess!
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Ogori-Magongo Warrior
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True point! The lab tech in my old lab has a behemoth publication record. despite the fact that they're all 4th author or less, it's still huge! I was comending her the other day when she told me she doesn't even care about her publications <img border="0" alt="[Wowie]" title="" src="graemlins/wowie.gif" /> . She said she's still trying to figure out what she wants to do. She has no clue just yet! she's looking at areas as divergent as Culinary school and vet school.


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</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Bikini Princess: "In an ideal world, you want to be the person interpreting the results, not the person doing them. And get a chance to write proposals or abstracts for meetings too. You want your name first; not wedged between the post-doc, the PI, and five other people." </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I think you're exactly right in the above statement. And your questions are almost the same as mine a few months earlier.

It's good that your PI said that you might have a chance being the first author. My PI explicitly mentioned that he won't have the students write papers. At this stage, I think it's good enough to just have your name as one of the authors. Reasons are that :

1. the postdocs have a much easier time writing them.
2. we're the labor force :) spending time writing papers, we'll lower our productivity.
3. at the postdoc level, people tend to look at the # of pubs and recent publications, not pubs that were published years back.

So my tips for getting names on publications:

1. choose an active PI.
2. discuss with your PI about the # of possible papers
3. discuss about the amount of work necessary to be one of the authors
4. be involved in many projects
5. express an interest in having pubs
6. work hard and provide as much brainpower as possible.
*. Though grasp every opportunity to be 1st.

We could be the 1st author only when it's our project or when we write the paper. It's definitely more worthwhile to analyze data and interpret results than to do experimental procedures. However, most likely we're expected to do lab work, so avoid competing with postdocs and grad students because it's a competition that we don't often end up winning. :)

At my current laboratory, I have been doing lab work and interpreting data though I'd prefer writing papers instead. It's okay 'cause I had decided to settle for the number of publications.

Good luck in finding the balance of power.



Btw, where's the bikini?
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