Jump to content

Early publications ever hurt more than help?


Recommended Posts

Sup sociolo-geeks,

I have a non-sociology specific and, perhaps, non-grad school admissions specific question. It's more of a general "professional academic" question.

Is there a risk involved in being a second author on a weak publication? I am an RA and have been involved on a project that, in my opinion, is not high enough quality for publication. The paper will be part a white paper or put on SSRN, so is not subject to blind peer review.

If I plan on applying to fellowships, grants, and (eventually jobs), can this hurt my chances?

Similarly, what are the ethical/academic honesty norms around covering up or getting out of poor scholarship? That is, could I be second author on this paper and not list it on my CV? Could I ask the first author to not list me as a co-author? It's a dilemma because I didn't volunteer to do this project. I do this for a living and don't make the executive decision on what gets published when, so it's impossible for me to hold the final product to my own personal standards. I just do the work that's assigned me, and the powers that be think they're doing me a professional favor by listing me as a co-author.

Any advice, anecdotal experiences, or musings would be most welcome. Thanks!

P.S. In the rare chance that you know my secret identity, discretion about my place of work is appreciated. I don't want to disparage or make over-broad generalizations about a center that does, in fact, produce fantastic work (just not this time). :ph34r:

Edited by SocialGroovements
Link to comment
Share on other sites

To clarify my question: Is it possible that a fellowship committee (or, down the line, hiring committee) would look at this publication and say "Ew, no NSF/Fulbright/fellowship for you!"

OR, do these committees look simply for experience and not necessarily quality of scholarship. That is, would they say "Looky here, SocialGroovements published with so-and-so hot shot professor as an RA at such-and-such hot shot research center. Good enough for me, let's sign this check already."

Edited by SocialGroovements
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't believe having a publication of any sort can hurt your chances of fellowship admission. Having a poster or an article - no matter how poor you believe it is - is going to show you can jump through hoops, and that is really what they care about. Very few fellowship applicants will have had something published in top journals anyway.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would agree with Ladril, his response was my first hunch to. Especially as a second author, I think they would mainly see it as proof that your efforts in that collaboration was valued enough that they thought it was reasonable to put you as second author. Seen from this perspective it is a positive thing. Also, if the first author is somewhat famous or the institute you are at is somewhat famous, then a publication with these people would associate you with them, which is always good because it means you have learned their view on these topics from the inside. I think there is little risk of this being negative for you, unless the publication causes a lot on controversy (and even then, as a junior author...).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And yeah, I don't want to sound rude, but it would probably be a good idea not to be so open about your opinion of your current institution. People can probably infer who you are from the evidence you give in your posts, signature and profile.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And yeah, I don't want to sound rude, but it would probably be a good idea not to be so open about your opinion of your current institution. People can probably infer who you are from the evidence you give in your posts, signature and profile.

Not rude at all. It's good advice, and I did update my profile to conceal my location (which didn't really give too much away, since there are soooo many institutions in my area). I suppose I'm counting on the good will of grad cafe users. Moreover, I don't work in a sociology field nor for a sociologist, so the gossip isn't all that juicy for our purposes. But I understand the Internet archives everything. If I ever run for president, those halloween pictures are really going to bite me in the ass....

But you're right, I could have likely asked the same questions without so much backstory.

In any case, I appreciate all of the advice so far. Any dissenting opinions out there?

Edit: Cut out some chunks from original post to protect secret identity. *Smoke bomb!* :ph34r:

Edited by SocialGroovements
Link to comment
Share on other sites

To clarify my question: Is it possible that a fellowship committee (or, down the line, hiring committee) would look at this publication and say "Ew, no NSF/Fulbright/fellowship for you!"

OR, do these committees look simply for experience and not necessarily quality of scholarship. That is, would they say "Looky here, SocialGroovements published with so-and-so hot shot professor as an RA at such-and-such hot shot research center. Good enough for me, let's sign this check already."

I have an NSF and several non-refeereed publications. I think the important thing is that you don't exclusively have non-refeereed publications and that you're working towards peer reviewed publications. Several of my non-refeered work projects also produced peer-reviewed publications.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.