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Publication record

PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2005 3:04 pm
by TF
Thanks Doug! Frankly I was expecting a major flame war with my seemingly anti-establishment comments.

With regard to the top journals, I know of one person who submitted a journal to one of the off shoot Science pubs and apparently they screen the papers quite rigorously with a number of different stages of peer review. I could be wrong on that, that's just what the person told me about the review process for this prestigious journal. In any event, I think publication in any journal takes a number of months and most pubs don;t just go though unaltered. So I think the more stringent pubs would have even higher standards and require more work before something is accepted for publication.

Never had a Science/Nature/Cell pub myself, so maybe I'm all wrong. But I know of others who have been scooped submitting to lessor journals.

Publication record

PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2005 3:32 pm
by Julia
I agree with David -

having a number of publications looks good, especially 1st author publications, but its very hard to beat the zing that a Nature or Cell paper adds to your CV. Of course I come from a similar position to David per my own personal time line and number of papers and I too, am lusting after that big splashy name paper. BUT aren't we all getting carried away with the whole impact factor thing here?

From my observations over the last 5-6 years, getting published in top journals requires one (or more) of the following
a) outstanding, novel, high calibre research
b) a big name school and/or PI
c) a "hot" research area.
While a) and c) seem reasonable to me the fact that b) is on the list really depresses me. It seems that the science community as a whole ought to see past the whole ?big boys club?. Of course big name PI's at big name schools generally get there because of their outstanding, high quality research in the first place so perhaps I *am* just carping here!!

One more thought, a lot of this discussion has centred on a very Biochem/life science/subcellular science level. What about a field such as, Ecology. If a researcher is doing ecological research and they have a really interesting finding, Cell, Nature, Science &c are likely to say ?no? because the manuscript isn?t ?subcellular? enough i.e. no MALDI/TOF; Confocal; array; transfection or other whiz bang methodologies? But it could still be extremely important research.

So I guess I?m asking is this Impact-Factor-Cell-Science-etc obsession limited to those of us who are "micro" life scientists rather than the macros?


Publication record

PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2005 5:13 pm
by Carlysle Tancha
Macro vs micro?

Well, where is most othe funding going these days--for research in fields that may feed the pharma industry. That is where the money is, A vicious cycle, some might say, but the discovery of a particular altered pathways could very well become the next hot drug, so people seeing the dollar signs at the end may want to propose projects that get funded. This kind of science is expensive to do. Much of it takes place in North America and Europe. Upon meeting others from different backgrounds in science, this micro science is seen as almost being elite. Consider the cost of buying the reagents, paying the vendors to sell the products--the product shows! It is an industry unto itself. The number of journals in the other fields cannot match the number of journals in the micro field--it has spun out of control and dazzles the mind. All in the name of sci... no, publishing!!!!

Publication record

PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 8:28 am
by Polly
I agree with TF. I also receive negative feeling from what people say. I can understand that that is how system works but I mean if you dont have nature/cell pub during your PhD, should you leave science now? I am working in an area where you cant publish cell/science easily. I know people who are really talented, independet and hardworking but cant publish (you need to be lucky mostly to get everything working). And I know people who are disabled to even plan the next step of experiment(and pipetting the exact microliter what their PI says) are getting science publications because their field is so hot. It is also difficult to publish in europe compared to US. I think people should really look at the quality of the work rather than where it is published when they receive an application for a position.


Publication record

PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 10:16 am
by Madison
While ?getting published in top journals requires ?. outstanding, novel, high caliber research, a big name school and/or PI, a "hot" research area? ? This is sooo true! The reality is that if you want to have a chance to succeed in science you have to play this game. Once you have a faculty position you can try and change the game a bit, and make a name for yourself publishing in the very good society journals, but you have to get to that point in the first place. So you need to postdoc at one of the ?big? schools, do novel research, and get it into a top journal ? or at least you need to work towards that. If you go after this, and your works doesn?t get published quite so high, you try and make up for that by securing extramural funding while a postdoc, or doing some teaching, or something else to shore up your CV a bit. If this happens, then you will be competitive for a good job.

Even though the top journals all advertise about their quick turn-around of papers, I think they actually mean after they are accepted. My Cell paper was published 3 weeks after it was accepted, but it spent eight months in review.

I don?t think you have to be at an Ivy to do excellent science or have a great career; I just accepted a job at a top 25 medical school. However, if you want a job like that, I think you improve your chances of producing quality, high profile work by doing a postdoc at one of the Ivys. Of course you still have to pick your lab carefully??.

"I think people should really look at the quality of the work rather than where it is published when they receive an application for a position."

I agree that this would be nice. But imagine the typical overworked search committee with 200-400 applications. When they come across someone with one of the "big three" on their CV, that person automatically gets put in the "consider" pile. Who has time to read the papers of all the applicants? It would be difficult to read more than one from each top applicant, even.

Publication record

PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 4:38 pm
by Kim
I have heard more than one people mentioned it on this forum.

Why is it difficult to publish overseas, for example, in Europe compared to the US? Because PhD training in the UK (only 4 years) is relatively short? But I know most German PhD students take even longer (more than 6-7 years, and sometimes forever) than the students in the US to graduate.

Or because for non-English speaking people, there is a language barrier and they do not publish in English?

Or does the publicatin record say about the quality of scientific research in Europe vs in the US in general? After all, how can you measure the success of scientific research without publications?

Publication record

PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 9:59 pm
by Andrew
I'm not sure its more difficult, but there is certainly less pressure to publish. I know a top scientist in Heidelberg that almost never publishes his work. He has a shelf of Diplom theses thats worth maybe 30 papers. He has reached a status in the German system that he does not have to worry about funding for the rest of his life, so what is the pressure to publish? The question that I have is - What is the value of his work and why is his country paying for it? I don't get it frankly and I prefer the American system with all its flaws. At least US society gets value for its research dollar.

Publication record

PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 10:52 pm
by Shehan9762
Hi Kim,

In my area (organic chemistry), publication records are very important for one's career and often reflect the quality of the research of the lab you re working in.

Unfortunately there is a huge obstacle for the publication in Europe: MONEY. Academic labs in Europe dont get a lot of money compared to the ones in USA. The structure of the research labs is also different from country to country. In countries like France, Italy and Spain research is slowing down due to lack of governmental funding. Industrial funding is available but a lot of pharma companies are merging and relocating in the US (tax problems, market?) Therefore, the number of active researchers has been decreasing dramatically in the last 20 years. For example, if you want to become a Professor, you probably need to do 2 post docs and have some exams in order to become an Assistant professor. To do a Ph D in these countries in science is also very demanding. Students can t just talk to PI's and say: ?I want to do a Ph D?. There?s an entry examination for grad school. You have to be among the top 10% of the class. It?s very competitive and unfortunately the job market is really really bad so a lot of people don?t even attempt to get into grad school.

Probably as a result of that, research groups are structured like pyramids with a well known professor at the top of the hierarchy. Freedom of ideas can become problematic. A lot of labs just publish 2-3 results as short communications in order to get their grant refunded. Hiring in academic labs is very rare. They never try to initiate new projects otherwise, their yearly publication record would be poor and will hurt their application for "re-funding". How can you imagine any labs publishing lots of good papers with limited workforce and limited resources?

I don?t think there is a lot of difference of level due to the difference of length in the training for the ph d. The education systems are really different. Being a foreign post doc, I can tell you that all the american students (11 including graduate and senior undergraduate students) that I had to train in the lab are lacking of a lot of knowledge that we?ve learned during the first 2 years of university back in Europe. But, basically grad school in USA includes 1-2 years of intensive classes, lectures, seminars? in order to ?catch up with the time?. I strongly disagree with the fact that there?s a difference in quality between US PhD?s and European Ph D?s

In UK, the Ph D in my field usually takes 3 years (up to 4 sometimes). The situation is slightly different than in Europe. Funding for universities is decreasing dramatically for the last 2 years. Some departments of chemistry are forced to close because of government policy to cut down on the research budget.

-> sufficient funding -> good research -> good publications ->sufficient funding?

Publication record

PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 12:08 am
by Kevin Foley
Reports of the demise of Science in Europe may be premature. According to this analysis, the proportion of the scientific literature accounted for by the US is steadily sinking: