How To Produce a Highly Ranked Publication

May 14th, 2014

 

This text was fully written by humans.



  • Working in a new lab with a more collaborative and focused atmosphere has helped me regain control over my project and feel like I’m making progress in my PhD. The supportive environment and availability of knowledgeable Postdocs have been valuable for my growth.
  • Witnessing the process of creating a highly ranked scientific publication from scratch during lab meetings has been fascinating. It has taught me that successful research doesn’t require genius-level intelligence but rather starts from a simple idea that is methodically validated and communicated effectively.
  • I feel a sense of rejuvenation and youthfulness in my mind, as I reflect on my college years and maintain long-lasting friendships. Writing emails to a friend from a decade ago brings relaxation and connection, reminding me of the enduring bonds forged during my studies and the joy of shared experiences throughout the years.

The Mid-Term Evaluation Is Coming Up!

Time flies… I got down to work and worked on the bonkers mode in the recent weeks. I had to rush with my project — as a result of living in South America, I lost my working rhythm, while the mid-term PhD project evaluation hangs over my head… This is the same evaluation that eliminated me from my PhD project last time. But I’m slowly starting to get control over the situation, and it is a wonderful feeling.

My Work Atmosphere In My Work Environment Has Changed For The Better.

Now I’m sitting in a lab that is different from the two previous labs I’ve dealt with. The first lab I worked in had an atmosphere taken straight from a cemetery. It was quiet, which is appreciated, but there was no collaboration between students as each student had an individual PhD topic, separate from all the other students. 

And somehow, the social community was lame in that lab: no friendships, no meetings for drinks, no parties. Then I worked in a lab where there were lots of girls chatting nonstop and doing research on a topic other than mine, mostly in genetics and genomics. Well, I felt I had no environment, and since there were too many parties and lunches in this lab, I felt constantly distracted.

But now I work in a lab that is very compact, masculinized, but not to exaggeration, and has its own line of research, which is quite well defined — to the extent that there is software that you can work on, there is the know-how, and there is always someone to ask for advice, because there are some strong, knowledgeable Postdocs around. So I feel like I’m finally moving forward.

So, How To Create a Highly Ranked Publication?

By the way, I recently had the opportunity to see what it looks like to build a serious scientific article from scratch. I usually encounter articles from the other side: I first get the article in my hand and try to figure out what the author’s intentions were.

I read through the thousands of details of the experiment or methods that were in use to find the logic behind the paper and try to figure out the author’s thought process. And eventually, the whole creative process can generally be summed up in one or two sentences, not more. 

This time around, however, I attend lab meetings, where I witness brainstorming sessions on how to make an influential paper from scratch. This is so interesting!

So, it all starts with a very simple thought, such as A = B + C. Then, a bunch of Postdocs sit together and brainstorm how to carry out a detailed validation that indeed A = B + C rather than A = B + C + epsilon. And, how to argue that in general, A should be categorically broken into B and C in the first place, despite it has been known for centuries that you simply can. 

You would think that scientists are hired to simplify things. No, they usually take a simple thought and mold it so that it’s so complicated that no one notices anymore how simple it really is.

And week after week, more and more charts and content are created around this simple thought, that will probably convert into a high-rated paper in the future. At some point hardly anyone notices that what we are going to initially sell is in fact a trivial concept. 

I enjoy seeing this process unfold to my very eyes. This is what science has always been and will always be. So, it’s good to have an insight into what the process looks like — and apply it by myself in the future if necessary. 

You Don’t Need to Be a Genius To Produce a Highly Ranked Publication!

Besides, it gives me hope. It turns out that in order to be a successful researcher, you do not have to be a genius touched by God’s hand. You just need to start from a simple, almost obvious thought and consistently, methodically prove this statement using a lot of long, wise-sounding words and sentences. And complex, colorful pictures.

Science has just been stripped of much of its mysticism in my eyes. But in a good sense — in the sense that science is not art for the chosen ones. It’s a game, available for everyone who likes to take risks and puts their heart into it, including me.

A Decade Younger.

Besides, I guess I’ve gotten a decade younger in my mind. Or so I feel. 

I am 28 now, and I remember well what I did in the evenings when I was an 18-year-old college student. Well, I just went to my first year of college and wrote a lot of emails to my friend whom I had met in high school. We were both pretty science-oriented and my friend was very talented and crazy. 

Now, in retrospect, we have a completely different life, but we are still friends. But things are similar at this point — it looks like I found my next pen pal. I remember when, ten years ago, writing emails brought me relaxation after a hard day or a hard week at school. It works the same right now. And of course, it is good to have someone to think about on gloomy, rainy, and cold days in May in the Netherlands.

Speaking of the last decade, I also realized that I have a lot of decade-long friends. We met at the beginning of my studies and we are still in touch. And I think that they are probably going to stay my friends forever. If we have endured so much, especially in bad times, then we will endure even more now, when good times have come. It’s touching, really.

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Please cite as:
Bielczyk, N. (May 14th, 2014) How To Produce a Highly Ranked Publication. Retrieved from: https://nataliabielczyk.com/how-to-produce-a-highly-ranked-publication/



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