New Ph.D. students in the empirical sciences should be recruited into ongoing scientific studies right from the start
All too often we come across Ph.D. students who after 2-3 years of effort still struggle with their first (co-)authorship. In many cases, this may be considered a waste of financial resources and human potential1-3. We’d like to pitch the idea that newly started Ph.D. students should be invited to an ongoing study – thesis material or not – within the first weeks of their employmentcf.4. The study should ideally be close to completion, and the task assigned to the Ph.D. student should comprise perhaps 2-3 days of work (plus manuscript revision5). We have employed this approach many timese.g.,6, and the results so far have been encouraging: the Ph.D. students get a dose of positive energy from being part of a successful scientific enterprise and publication; they gets to feel that they and their work are taken seriously; and they obtain a quantum of experience of the scientific process. Furthermore, an early introduction to the notion of collaborative research efforts – a routine practice in academia and industry these days – is accomplished7. This approach means little extra work for the project PI, but what strikes us is how long-lasting the positive effects for the Ph.D. students seem to be.
Attachment: References.pdf (44.5 KB)