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Career advice is needed I feel I'm failing.


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#16 Trof

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 02:57 AM

It's interesting to hear that Germany doesn't require PhD graduates to have a paper.
Even on our university (just a border east from Germany) the requirement for finishing a PhD is at least 3 papers, two of which has to be first author, two of which (not necessarily the same) has to be original papers (not reviews) and at least one in a journal with an impact factor. This also means that if your PI prefer to submit only as high impact as possible, you spend 7 years doing PhD, but that's a different story ;)

Our country has a serious deficiency in lighthouses. I assume the main reason is that we have no sea.

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#17 pito

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 04:25 AM

It's interesting to hear that Germany doesn't require PhD graduates to have a paper.
Even on our university (just a border east from Germany) the requirement for finishing a PhD is at least 3 papers, two of which has to be first author, two of which (not necessarily the same) has to be original papers (not reviews) and at least one in a journal with an impact factor. This also means that if your PI prefer to submit only as high impact as possible, you spend 7 years doing PhD, but that's a different story Posted Image

Pretty stupid that you need to have first author publications. And that your PI can keep you at the lab like that... a shame!
If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some then not ask and stay stupid.

#18 Trof

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 04:41 AM

I don't think so. PhD here is defined also as ability to acomplish own project with tangible output. So you work on something that is mainly your work, so you logically have at least one first author paper. The second one usually is a review you write about subject into local peer-reviewed paper. Then you have paper or more from other projects you participate. I don't think it's such bad to require this, completion of at least one main project and participation on other.
And for the other part, that honestly not solely a fault of my PI, and more he doesn't want to stall papers, but.. he kind of does when he's waiting for enough complex data to be accepted in a better journal. Since both the financing of the department and even the student's reputation grow up with a higher-impact journal publication, it's really not a malevolence. And since I work mostly on clinical samples, this could create considerable delays, too. And when the work on main project depend almost exclusively on me, additional health and other issues for example can also prolong the overal time spend doing PhD.

Our country has a serious deficiency in lighthouses. I assume the main reason is that we have no sea.

I never trust anything that can't be doubted.

'Normal' is a dryer setting. - Elizabeth Moon


#19 pito

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 05:48 AM

I don't think so. PhD here is defined also as ability to acomplish own project with tangible output. So you work on something that is mainly your work, so you logically have at least one first author paper. The second one usually is a review you write about subject into local peer-reviewed paper. Then you have paper or more from other projects you participate. I don't think it's such bad to require this, completion of at least one main project and participation on other.
And for the other part, that honestly not solely a fault of my PI, and more he doesn't want to stall papers, but.. he kind of does when he's waiting for enough complex data to be accepted in a better journal. Since both the financing of the department and even the student's reputation grow up with a higher-impact journal publication, it's really not a malevolence. And since I work mostly on clinical samples, this could create considerable delays, too. And when the work on main project depend almost exclusively on me, additional health and other issues for example can also prolong the overal time spend doing PhD.

I am not saying that you should not publish anything, but stating that you need 3 papers and 2 first author- papers.. thats just a bit harsh. Keep in mind that sometimes things dont go as planned. You can be the best researcher out there, if you have bad luck , its possible you end up with 0 or perhaps 1 publication (and 1 review paper just to get an extra paper). 7 years for a PhD is just too long.... I also wonder what the fuzz is about those impact factors... People should start to realise that impact factors are not always a great thing or the best thing. What if you work in a field that is very specific and you can pretty much only publish in journals that have low impact factors because only a select group of scientists will read it? And what about nature: papers need to be so short that its pretty hard to publish anything in it that needs some more explenation/results etc...
If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some then not ask and stay stupid.

#20 Trof

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 06:31 AM

Yes things don't go as planned. But there is this opinion, that PhD have to create someting, accomplish something. And that is usually proven by a paper.
They were telling us in college, you may do your masters thesis on something that failed, you just write there you could do it because... you are not required to have an actual accomplishment. That you tried, is enough for MSc. But..not for PhD.
If something fails and you have a bad luck.. well you need to try again, as part of the PhD title is an actual accomplishment. Not everyone will finish it, but not everyone need to finish it.

I think that the idea that somewhere in the line of a scientists growth you actually have to prove you are able to finish something meaningfull to get a title is not that bad.
If you are the best researcher there is, and you have bad luck, you will try again, it will take time and definitelly some people are forced to drop due to external factors they couldn't influence, but.. that's life.
And not every scientist need to be a PhD too, that doesn't makes him less.

And it's mostly not that harsh here, as the grave majority finish. And still there are differences, some institutes just want to produce PhDs (because they are payed for having them) so they finish within 3 years with papers needed, and written just to fullfill the requirements.
Our PI just doesn't want that, writing papers for papers, it takes a time to get a good paper, but it's better than to have a quick paper and we and colleagues are fine with this.
I would definitelly agree that 7 years is too much, it's also the last possible limit, even here I kind of stick out with that ;)

And as for impact factors, there has been kind of conclusion reached widely, that it's not the best scientometrics.. even in the biology field where it was designed to fullfill it's function, but it's really difficult to find something else that would take this role. So far this is just a very easy way for goverment to compare the efficiency of the money they give out, eventhough it's a bad way.. there is still no other.
Of course IFs are always compared within the field of study, and it's not an absolute classification, there are more specialised journals and more broad ones, still IF stays at least as a general way to weight journal quality (eventhough I know about journals with high IF, that actually has a very variable content in regard to quality). And as for Nature.. it stays as a bit popular journal and a hallmark of belonging to "the top", usually you have a brief breakthrough paper in Nature and at the same time you publish the real detailed results in some normal journal.
Deciding on the "quality" of reseach is probably one of the most complex and complicated things nowadays.. but it needs to be adressed, because there is so much fields today and money is limited, that only those quality ones should be supported.. and then you need to chose which one is it. But that is probably a very wide topic for some other time.

Our country has a serious deficiency in lighthouses. I assume the main reason is that we have no sea.

I never trust anything that can't be doubted.

'Normal' is a dryer setting. - Elizabeth Moon


#21 hobglobin

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 08:53 AM

It's interesting to hear that Germany doesn't require PhD graduates to have a paper.
Even on our university (just a border east from Germany) the requirement for finishing a PhD is at least 3 papers, two of which has to be first author, two of which (not necessarily the same) has to be original papers (not reviews) and at least one in a journal with an impact factor. This also means that if your PI prefer to submit only as high impact as possible, you spend 7 years doing PhD, but that's a different story Posted Image

that's not completely right....it depends on university, faculty and even supervisor...Some have this requirement already, some not. And some professors want this too (though it's not officially in the regulations) and would give you a bad mark if you did not publish. Anyway compared to these three papers, the regulations here are softer as you have the foreign-language bonus Posted Image
One must presume that long and short arguments contribute to the same end. - Epicurus
...except casandra's that belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.

#22 Inbox

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 08:53 AM

I have seen many times people are more interested in finishing PhD early so they could get to Post Doc which is more lucrative. In post-Doc you have to run project independently & can leave if you do not like there. I know some university keep high standard for publication and research but then they require 7-8 yr. to finish PhD. In other places people finish within 3 years, in that situation one who extends his research for 5-7 years gets very much depressed by situation, Its very hard to not to compare with peers who complete within 3 years. Also it is hard economy time too.
And truly speaking the external factors are major hindrance, some places peoples are out of basic resources required; other places peoples run out of zeal for research, many don't thinks their advisor have so much command on subject/ is irritating. In either cases one have to decide on giving up or to finish somehow. Then Finish somehow is obvious choice, may be publications out of that scenario are poor quality or Spurious high quality.


#23 pito

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 01:30 AM

Of course IFs are always compared within the field of study, and it's not an absolute classification, there are more specialised journals and more broad ones, still IF stays at least as a general way to weight journal quality (eventhough I know about journals with high IF, that actually has a very variable content in regard to quality). And as for Nature.. it stays as a bit popular journal and a hallmark of belonging to "the top", usually you have a brief breakthrough paper in Nature and at the same time you publish the real detailed results in some normal journal.

Dont you see the stupidity of this? I mean: you publish a short statement about it, but the "real" researchresults and more details are published in another journal.... I find this pretty stupid.
If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some then not ask and stay stupid.

#24 Trof

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 06:50 AM

] Dont you see the stupidity of this? I mean: you publish a short statement about it, but the "real" researchresults and more details are published in another journal.... I find this pretty stupid.


Yes. But Nature is more like a badge of "cool top science" than a place to find a detailed paper. And AFAIK Nature address the prospective authors in many cases (based on their reseach success) insted of authors asking for submitions there. I think people understand it like this.

And.. there is actually a badge for publishing in Nature ;)

Our country has a serious deficiency in lighthouses. I assume the main reason is that we have no sea.

I never trust anything that can't be doubted.

'Normal' is a dryer setting. - Elizabeth Moon


#25 pito

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 07:30 AM


] Dont you see the stupidity of this? I mean: you publish a short statement about it, but the "real" researchresults and more details are published in another journal.... I find this pretty stupid.


Yes. But Nature is more like a badge of "cool top science" than a place to find a detailed paper. And AFAIK Nature address the prospective authors in many cases (based on their reseach success) insted of authors asking for submitions there. I think people understand it like this.

And.. there is actually a badge for publishing in Nature Posted Image

Are you stating that its nature that goes after the authors to publish? Not sure what you mean by Nature address the prospective authors rather than authors asking for submissions.
If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some then not ask and stay stupid.




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