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Updates

ButImLETired

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So I have a question.

I have recently spoken to my PI who has promised that I would be included as an author on 2 papers and posters we're working on. These are my first publications, so naturally I'm excited and would like to update the schools I'm still waiting to hear from. However, I have a couple of issues.

1) This is still the very beginning of the process. I have begun to write the abstract but we're still not sure "what author" I'm going to be (probably 2nd or 3rd), and don't know which periodicals the papers will be sent to, much less if they'll be accepted (however, my PI has done about 60 of these things so if he says he thinks they'll be published, I believe him). We're also submitting the abstracts to this big national conference, so that's much more likely to be a sure deal soon. Should I wait until I know exactly what's going on before I write an update, risking that by then it'll be too late, or should I say something like "I am excited about the prospect of having two publications...yadda yadda" making it sound vague?

2) How does one write an update? Should it be an update/LOI (I love your school (here's why), would love to interview (here's why you should let me), btdubs here's what's going on in my life) or just "hi, remember me? I'm applying to your school. Here's what's going on in my life"?

3) To whom do I send it?

Thanks oh wise ones!
 

savant

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I'm also interested in the answer to this question, ---

I was a co-author on a publication before the admissions process, and I said something like 'publication pending' or 'under review' next to where I listed the publication (the publication was sent for review).

I imagine that in an update letter you could be much more detailed about your publication -- you could have a sentence on what the research is about, and the fact that the paper is being sent for review or something.

But I know someone will have a better answer ...

Woot Palo Alto :)
 

kac714

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I'm also interested in the answer to this question, ---

I was a co-author on a publication before the admissions process, and I said something like 'publication pending' or 'under review' next to where I listed the publication (the publication was sent for review).

I imagine that in an update letter you could be much more detailed about your publication -- you could have a sentence on what the research is about, and the fact that the paper is being sent for review or something.

But I know someone will have a better answer ...

Woot Palo Alto :)
Hi guys, I sent update letters to schools bc i presented my research at a national conference. i just said, here's whats been going on since i submitted my secondary, etc. i used the same letter for each school. pm me with any other questions.
 
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ButImLETired

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If you're writing the abstract why aren't you the first author?

I'm actually not writing the entire abstract. We have the "data person" and the PI on board as well. I coordinated most of the study and dealt with all the primary data stuff, and apparently that hasn't been deemed worthy of first authorship. I genuinely don't know what the "study etiquette" is though and I'm too excited to question the PI's decision :D
 

iA-MD2013

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1. Hmmm...it's hard because the paper hasn't been published yet. I'm currently writing a paper which I'm sure is going to be published. So, I always mention that I'm writing up a paper on my current research project during interviews. And I think it's great to mention it in an LOI...but I don't know how big of a deal they think it is (just because it hasn't actually been published, you know?)

2. Either way is fine, I think. If you like the school, write an LOI and mention it in there.

3. Call the school and ask. They all prefer some method (email vs mail) and they'll always tell you exactly where to send it.
 

chessodoc

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Publishing a paper is a very long and arduous process...you can update schools when you submit it. Then update again when its accepted. Another update when its in press. Another update when its published.
 

linguini

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Publishing a paper is a very long and arduous process...you can update schools when you submit it. Then update again when its accepted. Another update when its in press. Another update when its published.

You're right about it being a long process. However, I wouldn't update a school at all of those steps. In my opinion, there is a big difference between a paper being submitted and a paper being accepted. There is less of a difference between a paper being accepted, in press, or published - those are all equally more meaningful than just saying a paper was submitted.

OP, if your desired school is rolling then I think it'd be okay to send an update before your paper(s) is published, as long as your honest about your role in the process (i.e. obviously don't say you are going to be first author and that the paper is going to be published in NEJM if that is not the case). It can't hurt to tell admissions more about the research that you're doing, even if you aren't an author yet. However, if your desired school is non-rolling, I would wait until later on to send an update when the paper may be further along in the publishing journey.
 

PandaBrewMaster

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You're right about it being a long process. However, I wouldn't update a school at all of those steps. In my opinion, there is a big difference between a paper being submitted and a paper being accepted. There is less of a difference between a paper being accepted, in press, or published - those are all equally more meaningful than just saying a paper was submitted.

OP, if your desired school is rolling then I think it'd be okay to send an update before your paper(s) is published, as long as your honest about your role in the process (i.e. obviously don't say you are going to be first author and that the paper is going to be published in NEJM if that is not the case). It can't hurt to tell admissions more about the research that you're doing, even if you aren't an author yet. However, if your desired school is non-rolling, I would wait until later on to send an update when the paper may be further along in the publishing journey.

I tend to agree. Having a publication, in any step of the path, is an awesome thing, and you have every reason to be very excited! As far as updates go, my humble, not-very-well-informed opinion is just that having a paper "in press" (accepted for publication) makes a significantly stronger statement than just one "submitted." I mean, I could theoretically write a paragraph on tasty hamburgers and submit it to Nature, and have a paper "submitted for review" (obviously, I know your paper is real and not on hamburgers, but you get what I mean). Plus, often times papers are rejected and re-written many times before they are finally accepted, and I think adcoms would know this. Once it's accepted, than it's validation of good, significant scientific work that you have done and thats a big difference. So yeah, if its rolling, I guess it cant hurt, but if it's a school that doesn't decide till March, maybe wait till you know its been accepted (and to what journal!) and then your update letter will make a stronger statement. Just my $0.02.

Good luck, and congrats!
 

ButImLETired

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Thanks everyone for your advice! My first instinct was to wait as well, so I agree that it's what I should do. I guess I have a very strong "omg why arent you getting back to meeeeee" side though that just wants to be proactive about SOMETHING....sigh....
 

disorder

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What about...

Working for a biotech company where your work obviously is not "your own", but my data was displayed on a poster as compelling data at an international conference. What then? I did not present the data nor did I attend the conference.
 

linguini

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does it matter that you'll be the 2nd author or the 3rd or the 12th? can't you just say, we submitted our manuscript to journal x and its pending review?

The authorship order does matter. It generally indicates how involved a person was with the project. So being 2nd author is obviously a more meaningful event than being 12th.
 
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