A query on your publication practices

October 24, 2012

This one is mostly for the PIs in the audience but I’m sure trainees will have experiences to share as well.

What fraction of the people who have spent time in your laboratory have ended up with authorships on published papers?

(Including students and techs)


No Responses Yet to “A query on your publication practices”

  1. Dr24hours Says:

    Bearing in mind that I have no budget for students/trainees but that I have occasionally mentored students on projects which, if successful, I attempt to publish? 22%. But I am not their advisor or anything. I’m just a guy with a project.

    Two of my mentee-undergrads have assisted on projects which were published. They received authorship credit on both. I have another paper currently under review with a student as a co-author.


  2. Zen Faulkes Says:

    Ugh… maybe a third, all time total? But recently, more like 80-90%, I think. I’m doing better at converting student projects into papers now.

    Context: Mostly undergraduates I’m working with, plus occasional high school student and master’s student.


  3. odyssey Says:

    I’m guessing somewhere around 50%. The ones without pubs are/were all undergrads.


  4. proflikesubstance Says:

    If we include manuscripts on the verge of being submitted by recent grads, then 80%. Like Odyssey, it’s only some undergrads who wind up without a pub for their CV.


  5. Earlytobed Says:

    Almost everyone. All the grad students & postdoctoral researchers. About 2/3 of the undergrads. My lab target is ~ 1 1st author published paper per person per year .


  6. Annika Says:

    All the grad students and postdocs have published stuff, but with masters’ students and techs, maybe only like 50%. Rotation students/undergrads – never. With the masters’ students and techs, it really depends on how long they are in the lab (like on tech was here for 7 years, and published several papers, whereas another was only here for 2 and published none).


  7. Dr Aust Says:

    Depends on the category of person.

    This is speaking from the UK, where set-ups for masters’ and u/grad students in the lab may be rather different from the US. Master’s students typically are doing projects on a rotation, so maybe only 2 months in the lab, or perhaps a max of 4 months. Undergrad students do project stints amounting to only about 20 lab days TOTAL And techs pretty much don’t exist in UK labs any more.

    Anyway, with those caveats:

    Postdocs: 100%
    Academic visitors/collaborators (PIs from other in-institution collaborating labs, or on sabbaticals of varying lengths) 3/4, so 75%
    PhD students: 100%
    Master’s students: 1/3, so 33%
    Undergrad students: almost 0%, though a number have co-authored conference abstracts and sometimes attended conferences.


  8. Bashir Says:

    Current lab I’m pretty sure postdocs/grads are at 100%. There may be an exception or two, especially with postdocs who are ‘co-advised’ or change situations after a year. Undergrads? Very very few. 10% max. We currently have about 25 undergrads in the lab. 3 are honors students and those are the most likely to be involved enough to warrant a pub. Techs/RA’s maybe 50%?


  9. gerty-z Says:

    So far, all my grad students have a pub and my only undergrad is an author on one we are writing up now. New postdoc not on anything yet, but I expect that will change. So, leaving out rotation students, I’m at 100% (but it is early and small N, of course).


  10. miko Says:

    In my PhD and postdoc labs, you cannot graduate without a first author pub. So unless you quit (n=2 that I knew), 100% for students.

    Postdocs. 100%

    I’ve mentored 4 undergrads. 2 have been authors on papers. Many others have come through the lab. Less than half get authorship.

    Technicians. Phd lab yes, postdoc lab no. Techs do not do research in my postdoc lab.


  11. DJMH Says:

    And techs pretty much don’t exist in UK labs any more. –Dr Aust

    Wait, what? Really? Funding problems?


  12. Jim Woodgett Says:

    Around 95% but my two research associates have been in the lab for almost 20 years run their own projects and most of my students do PhDs. The exceptions are typically people who decide to change career during their training. I am not a great believer in one paper per year though. We already publish way too much. The problem is that many jobs seem to weigh the CV instead of reading it.


  13. Crystaldoc Says:

    All of the postdocs (3).
    4/5 techs (the 5th only stayed 1.5 yrs, but she will be on probably 2 papers that haven’t been written up yet.
    0/1 phd student, but he only joined a few months ago so I have hope.
    0/~10 summer undergrads and rotation students.

    When I was a postdoc myself I mentored 5 undergrads, and 3/5 became deserving coauthors.


  14. pinus Says:

    postdocs – 100%
    permanent grad students – 100%
    rotating grad students – 50%
    techs – 100%
    undergrads – 20%


  15. Namnezia Says:

    Only 2/14 former members have left the lab without being an author in a pub or who will be soon one. Both were undergrads who didn’t engage much. The expectation is 100%.


  16. sciwo Says:

    I’d like to see each MS student have a publication come out of their work, but the truth is that I have to do a LOT of reanalyzing the data and a complete rewriting of the paper before that can happen. So far, I’m 1 for 3 with a paper out, but by the end of the year I should be well on the way to getting another student’s paper out (though zie’s work will only earn hir middling authorship) and the 3rd could happen eventually if I ever find the time to find the jewel in the rough. Undergrads I’m currently 0 for 2, but they have both been one semester independent studies. That may change after this year too, we’ll see.

    For PhD students, they better have 3 or more first-authored papers come out of their dissertation. And I’d better not be the one writing them. But I have no anecdata to confirm that yet.


  17. Ewan Says:

    Grad students, postdocs = 100%, can’t imagine there’s a lab where this isn’t the case. Even for grad students who quit the lab and/or drop out.

    Undergrads: 2/5 for those who dropped out and vanished after a few months; too early to tell for the ones who do decent work but I strongly hope 100%, looking good thus far.


  18. Joe Says:

    PhD students 8/8 = 100%
    MS student 0/1 = 0%. Paper still needs to be cleaned up and submitted.
    Techs 2/4 = 50%. The other 2 were in the lab less than 6 months.
    Undergrads 5/25 = 20%. If you’re here for two yrs or work for the student with the hot hands, you end up published.


  19. Spiny Norman Says:

    Not counting the rotation student in the lab, ~90%. About the same as for Joe, though no masters’ students and only one tech who’s been here since year one and has had authorship on five papers.


  20. Spiny Norman Says:

    …and it depends how you count undergrads. I’m counting only the ones who were serious.


  21. DrLizzyMoore Says:

    I’m a n00b, so for the first paper, it will be 100%, because it truly was a group effort. Once the grad students get settled into their own projects, it will start to look differently. If they (grads, undergrads, RA) contributed to a figure, they get on the paper…


  22. blatnoi Says:

    My PhD advisor wanted tenure and expected only top journals in the field pubs. Other stuff, if you didn’t push him, he just left to die. I pushed him on one of those papers once, and it ended up in the third best journal in the field, but he didn’t care at all. Post-doc boss who’s a big shot is the same way. If you don’t publish in one of the best journals you are dead to him. Everyone has a paper at the end… but who cares? My two bosses only ever cared about the glamour pubs, you might as well count all the rest as “not published during their time in the lab” if the bosses were to be honest. Not much collaboration with others if you’re trying to be first author in a big journal all the time as well.

    That’s why I have twice as less papers as my peers competing for academia jobs after PhD and postdoc, but almost all are first author in glamour journals in the field. Lots of good research that could have been published went wasted never to be remembered… except maybe 30 years from now by a group from somewhere where a university doesn’t exist yet.


  23. Virgil Says:

    General goal is for anyone spending longer than 6 months in the lab to get their name on a paper, and anyone more than a year should make it to a first author publication. This means no paper for rotation students, but always for tech’s and long term undergrad assistants. Generally we are not a glamor mag lab, mostly publishing in I.F. 5-12 range – JBC, society journals, and maybe a NCB paper via collaboration every couple of years. Certainly post-docs should be getting at least 2 papers a year including a review every so often. Grad students so far have been averaging 3-5 papers total for the thesis.


  24. aaaa Says:

    Starting 3rd year at TT.
    Postdocs: 1/1.
    Someone else’s student who wanted to work with me while advisor was on sabbatical: 1/2 (the other one was not an interest match)
    Undergraduate: 0/1.


  25. aaaa Says:

    Forgot to add: own students: 0/2 (but they have been in the lab for only one year, and paper is being written)


  26. Grovie Says:

    Here at the USDA-ARS, we are prohibited from including technicians as authors on publications. PIs can attempt to petition for the inclusion of a technician as an author, but approval is rare. And never, ever as first author, no matter what! I’ve seen colleagues publish single-author papers (just the PI), with all the research and analysis performed by a technician who was listed in the acknowledgements.

    ARS Post-docs are required to publish one paper/year (PIs are required two papers/year).

    Permanent grad students=100%, undergrads=50%. This year I have three high school interns in my lab — they spend every afternoon in the lab for the entire year, and my goal is to have all three earn an authorship (even though the tech who trains them might not!).


  27. drugmonkey Says:

    Here at the USDA-ARS, we are prohibited from including technicians as authors on publications. PIs can attempt to petition for the inclusion of a technician as an author, but approval is rare. And never, ever as first author, no matter what! I’ve seen colleagues publish single-author papers (just the PI), with all the research and analysis performed by a technician who was listed in the acknowledgements.

    Do you know what the rationale is? This seems dickish in the extreme from my perspective?


  28. Grovie Says:

    I’m not aware of the official reason. Rumors abound about how in the old days, USDA-ARS technicians were authors on papers, but then they complained that they should receive the same pay as PIs based on the fact that they also were credited as authors on publications. I can’t say whether there is any truth to this or not.

    And it is a rotten system for the technicians — many spend their entire careers working in a single laboratory and provide substantial input into research. Lots of grumbling, hurt feelings. Not great for the PIs either — it really gets in the way of building a team effort when not everyone has the opportunity to be an equal partner based on their contribution.


  29. Bioorganic Chemist Says:

    10 years TT faculty…

    Post-docs 100% (excluding the one I fired for fraud)
    Ph.D. students 100% (average three first author)
    M.S. students: 100% I am proudest of my effort here: average 2 per M.S. student, minimum one per student. They all have a defined completed body of publishable work, even if a mix of first and later authors
    undergrads: 15%. I take a lot in my lab (3/year, though many last just a semester). As noted by others, depends on student motivation. In my group, undergrads end up owning the project and getting first author (5) or go without pub. My undergrads either direct the project to success or don’t; they definitely don’t just help grad students.


  30. juniorprof Says:

    postdocs 100%
    grad students 100%
    undergrads (who spent 2 years in lab) 25%
    medical students 75%
    techs 0% but only had one and for a brief period of time


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