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kasuto

To what extent should my PI modify my draft?

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Brand new in academia here.

I'm wondering to what extent our PIs should modify our draft, especially when their logic and ours are different?

My mindset is, as the first author of the paper (which some people say I should be grateful for), I should at least try to write and submit the paper using my own logic so that I will be able to learn how I can improve it. Another problem is, my logic and my PI's are different and I believe his is no better than mine - which again, could change my mind if my paper eventually gets rejected.

I'm just feeling so lost and demotivated; it feels like he's micromanaging me and I don't have any freedom in writing my own paper... I understand that if the paper gets rejected, it will affect him (that's what he said), so am I not supposed to feel this way?

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If I understand what you're saying correctly......your PI wants you to write the entire manuscript from their point of view and theoretical orientation and you have a differing opinion?  I think the first question to ask yourself is who's paper is this really.  Meaning is this something your PI has wanted to do, but lacks the time so its been assigned to you?  Is this an independent project you proposed and should be doing the bulk of the work on?  Was this an idea the two of you created together?  If its the first one then it doesn't sound like its really your paper, but that the PI has a vision of what it will look like and that's what is is expected.  Whether you agree or disagree with the papers position is likely not going to matter.  If your PI gives you first authorship that does sound generous in this case and probably why others have mentioned you should be grateful.  If its the second or third then it is possible that there is something wrong with the theoretical framework you're proposing.  There's nothing wrong with you asking for guidance on how to make it better or if you should expand your reading in some way.  It might help to consult someone else that is familiar with this type of work to get their input on what you're proposing and if its better or worse than what your PI is proposing.

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13 hours ago, kasuto said:

my logic and my PI's are different and I believe his is no better than mine - which again, could change my mind if my paper eventually gets rejected.

You have an adviser. They're better at this than you are, for no other reason than the fact they've done it before. They've given you advice. How you treat their advice will determine both their opinion of you and the kind and quality of advice they will give you in the future.

Choose your course wisely.

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It sounds like you're weighing reviewer/editor comments more heavily than your advisor's if you would rethink the logic only after hearing their comments, but not after hearing your advisor's comments. I would be careful having that discussion, as that suggests you can't learn as much from your advisor or that you don't trust his judgment. 

Also, if your paper is rejected, you can't always resubmit it to the same journal unless there are substantial changes - though this may differ by field/journal. That's why it isn't wise to "test" things or use reviewers as tie-breakers as it may close doors for a particular project. It's great to have confidence in your logic and abilities, but you also want to keep an open mind so you don't miss out on opportunities. At this point, your advisor will have much more experience with what journals are looking for.

Now, you asked if you shouldn't feel this way. I think it's fine to question the process and we all feel unmotivated at some point (or many points) during our programs, so it's completely normal. But there are certain expectations we have to learn if we want to build good relationships and be successful. This is my least favorite part of the process - learning the politics - but this can be very important to some advisors, departments, and fields. Take each experience as a lesson learned even if it doesn't go your way, and you'll be fine. You will gain freedom in your projects as you progress through the program, and you may feel grateful for those early guardrails when you look at your past work. 

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Thank you so much for all of your comments! 

On 5/23/2019 at 12:52 AM, MarineBluePsy said:

I think the first question to ask yourself is who's paper is this really.  Meaning is this something your PI has wanted to do, but lacks the time so its been assigned to you?

I guess yeah, it's the first. But as he gave me the first authorship, it made me feel that I had the responsibility to "own the paper", which I guess was wrong of me...? (Correct me if I'm wrong tho, I'm still figuring it out.... x.x)

Thank you for also reminding me of how important it is to build good relationships,  @telkanuru  and  @Meraki!! I was at a point where I didn't care about it anymore 😖

My biggest issue is that I have had so many questions regarding his logic and suggestions from the beginning yet he hardly answers any of them, that's why I started to doubt him, which has been preventing me from having an open mind... But you're right, I need to be wiser and more patient when dealing with his advice since he's definitely much more experienced than me. 

 

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Well you do have a responsibility to "own the paper" as you suggest, but that doesn't mean your ideas are better than those of your PI.  This is a great opportunity for you to find out which readings they'd suggest so that you can expand your knowledge on this area in order to better understand their logic.  After doing that you're not required to agree with your PI's logic, and perhaps you'll have a different perspective that will lead to the development of an independent project.  Or perhaps you'll find you like their point of view after all.

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