Writing, scientific and otherwise
After three months of not posting, I’m back. For a while, I didn’t have a lot I could talk about, and I wasn’t feeling motivated. But I want to keep blogging. I want to keep writing about what I’m working on.
Speaking of writing…I have the potential for middle authorship on a scientific paper!
First, a little intro about scientific authorship. It’s expected that all grad students publish at least one paper while they are in school. Generally speaking, multiple publications are better, especially if you plan to have an academic career. The first author on any paper is the person whose project it is, and did the majority of the work and writing. The last author is the senior author, i.e., the PI. Authorship can be obtained by the contribution of ideas, writing, or data interpretation.
I didn’t expect to have any more than the one paper I will write on my thesis project. However, a former lab member just had a manuscript rejected by a journal, and my PI asked me, along with another member of our lab, if we’d like to rewrite portions of it.
It would be awesome to be listed as a second or third author,but I feel kinda intimidated by this. My PI has witheld many of his comments about the reviewers’ criticisms, because he doesn’t want to “unduly influence” us. In some ways, it’s like “You want to know what I think about how to improve this paper? I’ve never written a journal article.” There were several things I noticed that caught my attention, but initially dismissed. For instance, when looking at the data, I thought there needed to be measurements taken at more time points, but didn’t give it further thought. When I saw the reviewers’ comments, they said the exact same thing.
Despite my intimidation, I’ve really gotten into the project. I read through the thesis the work is based on (all 191 pages), and I’ve outlined a number of improvements. My main criticism is that the introduction and the language need to be more concise. I’ll keep working on it, and we’ll see if it gets published.