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First-year postdoc with few papers - (Oct/16/2012 )

I was just submitting my postdoc extension form today that I saw some new applications on the office desk. Some of these new PhD graduates had 16+ papers and many awards already. I felt so terrible as I only have 6 papers so far.

I know that quantity of papers are really not as important as the quality and citation, but still 16+ papers sounds scary and competitive.

I'm very upset about the number of my papers. It is not my fault actually because the project that I am working on is production of a recombinant virus, and those who have done it know that it's really difficult. My two students and I literally go through hell everyday. Last year we only managed to publish one paper and submit one whole genome sequence to NCBI. Now we are halfway through the genome assembly, but it's really difficult to predict when it will end. Even if it ends it will only give me one paper and one patent. Not more than that. And when it comes to finding a new job the number of papers is a really important parameter.


Don't feel bad. 6 papers can be regarded as very productive.


Curtis, no worries. Is not about the amount, but the quality matters. Imagine 1 Nature/Science vs 10 unindexed journal?
Also, different field different amount papers produced. There is one chemistry Professor in my university produce extremely lots of paper a year (used to be near to 150 papers a year) in Acta Crystallographica..
But as you know, he is not in biological we can't compare apple with orange.

Be happy Bro.

-Adrian K-

I had this one colleague, that worked on mouse model for all her PhD and little big longer (together I think 7-8 years?) to finaly get ONE paper out of that. It's true that was her decision in the first place, she wanted to go big, but still eventhough it's Cancer Cell with impact 27, it's still one paper.

On the other hand I heard about some practice, that PhD student had to publish a paper each half a year, noone cared where (so logically nonindexed czech journals that take anything) but they had to write it. So these are two big extremes.
Also it matters if you are person doing the majority of project, or just do simple task for many (even high-impact) projects. In that case it's logical you can get 10 papers a year, some position near the end. If project takes years to finish, It's not possible to have paper from that every year.


Thanks guys...the other problem is that they would have raised my salary if I had more than 10 papers. But now I will be paid the same. If you are married then money is always a big issue.


Does they count review articles too? if yes it could be better option to write review.


yeah good point, i will.


Is this the trend of where early scientific research life is heading? Publish or perish?

In actual fact, 6 papers is considered as ok in most lab standards. I know some postdocs who only have one per year. With the ever increasing intensive review processes at 'higher' impact journals (>5), it seems like its harder to publish nowadays. Depends on the boss as well, I know those pumping out papers on the monthly basis at unindexed or 'low' impact journals. And the other end of the spectrum - a few in >5 impact journals. Thoughts?

-science noob-