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Rushing publications

Kathleen Ann Sindt kas4e at galen.med.Virginia.EDU
Sat Jul 13 09:17:02 EST 1996

Susan Jane Hogarth  writes:

> microscopic, biochemical, etc. One of my committee members (who is
> almost a co-advisor since he works in the same lab and gives me lots of
> training and advice) keeps talking about "several papers" from this
> work. I feel that all of the analyses together would make one nice,
> meaty paper, which would be a nice resource for others in the field. 
> He's a fine scientist, and I _very_ much respect his thinking about
> science, but I can't help thinking that he is very eager for more
> publications (he has a non-tenured soft-money position here). To be
> I suppose that it comes down to a matter of style, and I just don't feel
> like this is my style. How strong a stand should I take on this type of
> issue?

First of all - he is almost a co-advisor - you have ONE primary
advisor - it's the ADVISOR who has the most important say on

I think you will be surprised at how "meaty" that first paper
will end up being.  Most people don't like to publish too
little info in a paper if they know more could be included
within the next few months.  Most people will wait a few months
for more data if it means a higher level journal.  On the other
hand - sitting on data too long gets you scooped or the
significance may decrease.

When you think about one big meaty paper - think about the fact
you are going to have to look for a post-doc before you are
done.  You need to have a paper published already when looking
for a post-doc (well, it definitely helps).  Also think about
at the end you are going to want to be out of there and will be
writing your dissertation.  Speaking as someone in the middle
of writing her dissertation - those chapters are alot easier to
write when they fall right out of an already published paper!
I still have another short paper to try writing - and I
really wish we had done it earlier - because we have been
sitting on the data awhile and it would have made my life easier
right now.

So - if you wait until the end to write it all up - you won't
have a paper to list when applying for post-docs and you will
have to write the paper and your dissertation, find a job, plan
your move and arrange your new housing, and worry about an oral
defense - all toward the end of your grad career.  My advice
would be to publish at least some of it as early as possible. 
Kathie Sindt
kas4e at virginia.edu

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