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taro_curly Offline
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Post: #1
On publications
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Of late, I find myself asking the same question to people who claim to have published as under/post-graduates. The questions are usually along the lines of 'Where exactly have you published?' and 'Which IEEE conference?' It's rather obvious that there are a number of misconceptions about venues, brands and even terminology in some cases. I'll address some of the issues which I have seen most often.

As usual, if you feel there is something else that I should talk about, let me know and, if I feel it's appropriate, I'll update this post (with due credit, of course).

DISCLAIMER: I am in CS, and although I shall try to be general, I might end up spending more time talking about issues which are more relevant to CS than other disciplines (conference proceedings and their importance are a prime example, they aren't all that relevant for most other disciplines, but in CS, they are more prestigious than journals).
  • Not all publications are equal

    Having a publication might distinguish you from someone who doesn't, but it doesn't necessarily do you any good. There are all sorts of conferences all over the world and there are any number of journals that get published as well. Some of them are good, but the majority are not. In every discipline, there are a small handful of venues which are accepted as the best because the most influential papers are published there. If you publish a paper in such a place, then it's going to make a difference. If it's a conference/journal that the admissions committee has never heard of, then it'll most likely be ignored.
    Invisible
  • Brands don't matter

    A lot of people seem to think that just because they have the name IEEE or Springer or ACM or Wiley in the name of the journal/conference proceedings, it's automatically a big deal. It is NOT! What matters is the actual journal or conference in which the paper was published. If you talk to academics here, you'll never hear them talk about the body sponsoring the conference, it's always the name of the conference (POPL, SIGMOD, SOSP, etc.).

    The same goes for journals. There are journal series like Springer's LNCS for computer science. Not all journals in a series are equal either. Even Nature has a number of specialized publications like Nature Chemistry and Nature Neuroscience which aren't nearly as prestigious as Nature.
    Invisible
  • Indexing does not imply quality

    I have heard a number of people say that the paper was indexed by IEEE Explore as if that were a big deal. Once again, it isn't. Anything that is published under the auspices of IEEE will be indexed by IEEE Explore. Even if that paper wasn't particularly good.

    On a related note, IEEE Explore doesn't "publish" a paper. It can't because it is just an indexing site. That's like saying, "I got the answer from Google". It can't be right because Google by itself doesn't contain anything. It merely points you to some website that does. Same principle applies here.
    Invisible
  • If there ain't any proceedings, then it probably ain't worth much

    There are a number of "conferences" which don't publish any proceedings. Some of these are called "workshops." Workshop papers don't tend to be worth as much as full-fledged conferences. Having said that, there are certain workshops which are known within sub-fields of some discipline and might make a difference if the right person looks at your application. But I wouldn't bank on it.
    Invisible
  • Quality, not quantity, affects admissions

    Multiple publications might make your CV or your application form look really impressive when you print it out, but universities aren't swayed by that. At least, the good ones aren't (and you really should be trying to get into the good places). If all of your publications were in obscure places, it suggests that you merely published for the sake of getting these "bullet points" onto your CV. It might actually work against you because it looks like you are trying to game the system.
    Invisible
  • A word about profile evals

    Since this post was motivated mostly by some profile evaluation requests that I have seen of late, it seems appropriate to me to include this here. When you are asking people to evaluate your profile, don't just say that you have $x$ conference papers and $y$ journal pubs. As the earlier part of this post tries to clarify, numbers are meaningless. Also, don't say that it's an IEEE conference. Since there are many pointless ones, you have to tell us which conference it is if we are to make any guesses about its potential impact on your chances of being admitted. Finally, if you don't really know where, it was/will be published, then ...

I am not very active on this forum any longer. Most PM's will not receive a response.
10-14-2011 03:25 AM
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Sam007 Offline
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RE: On publications
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Generally students from Pune Univ and other non-Elite Univs, don't have the Professors or resources to publish such papers. What are your suggestions they should do? Where should they go, whom to approach?

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11-21-2011 11:32 AM
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GravityEyelids Offline
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RE: On publications
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To publish, in general, you'd need access to literature, decent equipment and tools, good knowledge resources and the will.
1. Access to literature: Google is your friend, but tread carefully. Always verify the source of the literature and the credibility of the authors and the conference.
2. Equipment: Unless you really need specialized labs such as for those in pure life sciences, a computer should solve most equipment related issues. As for tools, well, this can be a serious issue. I would always recommend buying student discounted software and hardware. If you are cash-strapped, you can seek the help of research organizations, corporate houses and other academic institutes.
3. Knowledge resources: I understand most Indian colleges don't have 'excellent researchers' who are professors and with the interest to publish. Always try and seek help at other places such as the IITs, IIITs, IISc etc. There are many universities with top notch researchers evolving as the day passes. You will be surprised to see how responsive some of these professors can be. For what it is worth, try for internships or RA-ships at places such as the IITs or even at places in the US, Europe, East Asia etc.
Another method I have seen work is through exchange programs or informal exchange students. Watch out for exchange programs in many top schools in Asia, Europe and N America. This will give you good exposure to learn and research (not to mention, network). Informal exchanges are those where you get in touch with students that are interesting in more fortunate universities across the world. Some of them will be willing to work with you.
4. Will: Enough said. If you work hard, you can always publish (even if it means you are the only author). The initial phase can be frustrating, but with proper guidance and hard work, publishing can be a reality even for folks without any access to typical research facilities.
11-21-2011 11:44 AM
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rakgenius Offline
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RE: On publications
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(10-14-2011 03:25 AM)taro_curly Wrote:  Of late, I find myself asking the same question to people who claim to have published as under/post-graduates. The questions are usually along the lines of 'Where exactly have you published?' and 'Which IEEE conference?' It's rather obvious that there are a number of misconceptions about venues, brands and even terminology in some cases. I'll address some of the issues which I have seen most often.

As usual, if you feel there is something else that I should talk about, let me know and, if I feel it's appropriate, I'll update this post (with due credit, of course).

DISCLAIMER: I am in CS, and although I shall try to be general, I might end up spending more time talking about issues which are more relevant to CS than other disciplines (conference proceedings and their importance are a prime example, they aren't all that relevant for most other disciplines, but in CS, they are more prestigious than journals).
  • Not all publications are equal

    Having a publication might distinguish you from someone who doesn't, but it doesn't necessarily do you any good. There are all sorts of conferences all over the world and there are any number of journals that get published as well. Some of them are good, but the majority are not. In every discipline, there are a small handful of venues which are accepted as the best because the most influential papers are published there. If you publish a paper in such a place, then it's going to make a difference. If it's a conference/journal that the admissions committee has never heard of, then it'll most likely be ignored.
    Invisible
  • Brands don't matter

    A lot of people seem to think that just because they have the name IEEE or Springer or ACM or Wiley in the name of the journal/conference proceedings, it's automatically a big deal. It is NOT! What matters is the actual journal or conference in which the paper was published. If you talk to academics here, you'll never hear them talk about the body sponsoring the conference, it's always the name of the conference (POPL, SIGMOD, SOSP, etc.).

    The same goes for journals. There are journal series like Springer's LNCS for computer science. Not all journals in a series are equal either. Even Nature has a number of specialized publications like Nature Chemistry and Nature Neuroscience which aren't nearly as prestigious as Nature.
    Invisible
  • Indexing does not imply quality

    I have heard a number of people say that the paper was indexed by IEEE Explore as if that were a big deal. Once again, it isn't. Anything that is published under the auspices of IEEE will be indexed by IEEE Explore. Even if that paper wasn't particularly good.

    On a related note, IEEE Explore doesn't "publish" a paper. It can't because it is just an indexing site. That's like saying, "I got the answer from Google". It can't be right because Google by itself doesn't contain anything. It merely points you to some website that does. Same principle applies here.
    Invisible
  • If there ain't any proceedings, then it probably ain't worth much

    There are a number of "conferences" which don't publish any proceedings. Some of these are called "workshops." Workshop papers don't tend to be worth as much as full-fledged conferences. Having said that, there are certain workshops which are known within sub-fields of some discipline and might make a difference if the right person looks at your application. But I wouldn't bank on it.
    Invisible
  • Quality, not quantity, affects admissions

    Multiple publications might make your CV or your application form look really impressive when you print it out, but universities aren't swayed by that. At least, the good ones aren't (and you really should be trying to get into the good places). If all of your publications were in obscure places, it suggests that you merely published for the sake of getting these "bullet points" onto your CV. It might actually work against you because it looks like you are trying to game the system.
    Invisible
  • A word about profile evals

    Since this post was motivated mostly by some profile evaluation requests that I have seen of late, it seems appropriate to me to include this here. When you are asking people to evaluate your profile, don't just say that you have $x$ conference papers and $y$ journal pubs. As the earlier part of this post tries to clarify, numbers are meaningless. Also, don't say that it's an IEEE conference. Since there are many pointless ones, you have to tell us which conference it is if we are to make any guesses about its potential impact on your chances of being admitted. Finally, if you don't really know where, it was/will be published, then ...


Hi @[taro_curly]

Nice thread.Applause
I am planning to work on my first paper in wireless networks. Can you please tell me how can i start on this, who can help me and finally where and how to publish this paper.

12-16-2011 11:15 PM
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Wangdu Offline
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RE: On publications
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rakgenius start with narrowing down to one topic..then do a thorough literature review. For literature I think IEEE Xplore is the best option but to get access you might need some university's digital library, get as many papers as you can in that topic and read them properly. While reading there will be points where you think something else might work better ( which usually turns out to be wrong Sad ) but keep trying untill it does turn out to be right. But before testing make sure the same thing has not been done by anyone else.
for wireless networks I would suggest start playing around with NS2 first. Most of the simulations would be possible using it..


Pretty inactive now (CMU -sigh!). do not tag me for profile evals for CS. Info-sec is fine. If you have any infosec related queries PM me.
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12-17-2011 04:37 PM
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No doubt very informative post Applause
But I think, most important thing missing in this post is 'Area of Publication' ... Universities look for in which area you have published and what work you have done for it. When I got reject from Max Planck , I mailed professor to ask his opinion about my rejection. He told me that, though my profiles looks good, I don't have any research experience or theoretical subjects in area where I was applying. [ I was applying for neuroscience.. and my all other research work is in Biochemistry] .

And I was little disagree with Brand...
It is not generally possible for even IIT, NIT, IISc students to publish in reputed journals . And on other hand, if you have submitted your manuscript to reputed journal, peer review will take 6-7 months. And again no guarantee of publication. and looking at Indian education system, our final year projects work [ which has most probability for publication] will complete while we are applying to universities. So in my opinion, We should start with low Impact Factor journals [ around 1-2 ] and then go for reputed. We can start with Review paper and then go for Research Paper. [ It will give you idea about publication as well as publishing procedure, scenario ]

And one more thing I would like to add in this post.
When you are author in any paper. Most of the impact will be with First author and correspondence author. Rest of the authors has very less impact. [ You can easily find out such cases, when professors from same institute add his/her names as authors in his/her colleagues paper. That's why First and correspondence matter most]
Same thing happens when you are working on project in institute which is ongoing since last 1-2 years. Because in such case, you will be doing just routine lab work which we all do in our regular practicals.
[ Note exception here: It will not be the case in every Paper or project. I am just commenting on general practices ]

I was asked this question in my interview at one of the reputed research lab from India. Professor asked me whether I am first author or one of the rest. During informal tea , I asked that prof this question about this first author thing. At that time he explained me something like what I have posted above.

" The only thing that makes it a part of your life is that you keep thinking about it "
04-03-2012 05:59 PM
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taro_curly Offline
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RE: On publications
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(04-03-2012 05:59 PM)ded_unknown Wrote:  Universities look for in which area you have published and what work you have done for it.

This is not universal. Some departments look to see if you have any experience at all. Others would like to see experience in a specific area.

Quote:It is not generally possible for even IIT, NIT, IISc students to publish in reputed journals .

Nevertheless, when you are applying to top universities in the US, you will be competing with people who have published in the best journals. And these universities have such a fantastic pool of talented folk applying that they don't need to make allowances for you if you aren't up to the mark.

While the incremental approach that you advocate is alright to give you a taste of how to go about publishing, it's probably not going to do you a world of good when you apply. Having said that, I must reiterate my disclaimer. My experience has been with engineering research and computer science specifically. Things might very well work differently in the sciences which seems to be your background.

Quote:When you are author in any paper. Most of the impact will be with First author and correspondence author. Rest of the authors has very less impact.

This is again more true in the sciences than in engineering. In most CS papers - and I think this is true in other engineering disciplines as well, so correct me if I am wrong - the average number of authors is around three. While first authors do get more prestige, it isn't significantly more than the others.

Clearly, a lot depends on the area in which you are publishing and the culture in the field. For instance, in CS, the advisor's name is typically last even if the main idea was his and the student actually did most of the work (this is the reverse of some disciplines). In some branches of mathematics, authors are always listed in alphabetical order, so there is no distinction between first and subsequent authors. I am given to understand that in some life science disciplines, the department head always has his name on any paper coming out of the department/lab, in which case authorship itself can be meaningless.

I am not very active on this forum any longer. Most PM's will not receive a response.
04-03-2012 06:54 PM
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I am not debating, But according to me,
By statistics almost 90 % of papers published every year were from Life Sciences or Basic Sciences background . Obviously, Life Science journals are with very high impact factors. e.g. Annual Review Immunology has Highest Impact Factor [as single] and Nature with Highest IF [as combined] .On contrast most popular in Engineering IEEE is not in even top 150 of Thomson Reuters list.
So if you are looking for publication in our field [ Life Science/ Biotechnology ] is way harder than CS. One of the important factor you are forgetting is Lab work [ which is must for any kinds of research (except theoretical Biology and Mathematical Modelling)]
Again, I am not denying any fact you mentioned in your post But the scenario from your perception is way different than mine.
So, Even we are applying at top universities, situation will be nevertheless, same for IIT or other local college student. If you observed, most of the students shows their Conference proceeding publications [ Even I have 2 conference publications] . You will rarely find anyone with decent publication. There are some extra ordinary students who have published their work in reputed journals. [ One of my friend has published 3 papers in international journal and now his total impact factor is around 6-7 ]
I, myself from NIT and many of my friends are from IIT, NIT, BITS. When we discuss such topics, I find same situation at every place. The news we heard from news papers about innovative research of IIT student or extra ordinary paper publications are mostly from Post Graduate students.
And reason behind this is not just research facilities or opportunities but good impact factor journals have HIGH COST of publication. and getting funds for your publication from department is quite difficult.

" The only thing that makes it a part of your life is that you keep thinking about it "
04-03-2012 09:36 PM
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(04-03-2012 05:59 PM)ded_unknown Wrote:  [quote]It is not generally possible for even IIT, NIT, IISc students to publish in reputed journals .

Not really true. I know many students in top Indian schools who published in top journals / conferences in their area whilst doing their MS/BS. While the proportion of such students are low as compared to the rest (obviously), they do exist. These students are, in general, the top students in their department.

Now granted, that collaboration culture differs in different fields. However, if you are motivated enough then you can and will publish at good venues. Even if you start from the bottom of the barrel like I did.

And no, publishing in different fields in their top venues are equally hard. I take exception to your statement that life sciences are "harder" to publish in than say, CS.

Ready to Rumble.

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04-03-2012 09:53 PM
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(04-03-2012 09:53 PM)Ancalagon The Black Wrote:  Not really true. I know many students in top Indian schools who published in top journals / conferences in their area whilst doing their MS/BS. While the proportion of such students are low as compared to the rest (obviously), they do exist. These students are, in general, the top students in their department.

No doubt there are exceptions in every field. But I am talking about statistics. See annual research bulletin of IIT B or IIT D . and see how many students from B.Tech have published their work in reputed journals. You will find as I mentioned earlier, most of them are conference proceedings. And if you look carefully, I have written "Generally" in my statement.

Quote:Now granted, that collaboration culture differs in different fields. However, if you are motivated enough then you can and will publish at good venues. Even if you start from the bottom of the barrel like I did.
It is true .. No doubts about it !Very Happy

Quote:And no, publishing in different fields in their top venues are equally hard. I take exception to your statement that life sciences are "harder" to publish in than say, CS.
I agree, It is not appropriate to compare two different fields. But still I am sticking to my point of 'Harder'. It is like saying there are more jobs in CS than Biotech. [ It is statistical Fact, but if you look at opportunities and openings, Biotech's ratio of Student to Job is quite higher ]

and Btw @[taro_curly] .. You are from UIUC ... you might know Soham Mujumdar , i guess his department is mechanical ?

" The only thing that makes it a part of your life is that you keep thinking about it "
(This post was last modified: 04-03-2012 10:40 PM by ded_unknown.)
04-03-2012 10:21 PM
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Can you please name some journals which have the high impact factors?...I have my 1 paper in journal with impact factor 5.4.....

almost every other university sounds great on paper... However do you actually know somebody who studied (or is studying) there? There can be a lot of difference between what the website show and the ground reality!
05-31-2012 12:09 AM
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It may seem naive but can anyone tell me why not patent rather than publishing research paper. Am I right when I say patent are for innovations and research paper are for new theories?

05-31-2012 01:50 PM
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^
1. The idea of publications is to dissimate your ideas. The idea of patents is hold on to whatever it is that you have invented in order to make a buck out of it.

2. Not everthing that is publishable is patentable (what you have suggested is a small subset of this statement).

3. Patenting is an expensive affair. It can easily cost $200,000 to patent your stuff in all the large economies. So there has to be enough juice in your ideas to go ahead with this.

4. Finally, try patenting something. You will go insane. So, if you really want to go ahead with it and your idea is actually profitable you will need to involove a Venture Capitalist who will evaluate the worthiness of your ideas, take care of patenting, protect you from lawsuits and give you a tiny little percentage of cash for your efforts.

5. Of course, just for kicks you can come up with some tiny little invention, patent it just in India and then sell it off for a few dollarsSmile.

6. Also, in Academia a good paper is judged to be more valuable than a patent.

PS: I think, in the past few years some new developments have taken place in the patent laws in the US which allows one to patent stuff and publish it as well. Of course, there are certain clauses but they have become a bit fuzzy in my head.

Tag me to get a response.
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(This post was last modified: 05-31-2012 04:20 PM by pulse.)
05-31-2012 03:36 PM
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pulse so what you are saying is that one can write paper on anything that is patentable right?! but then suppose someone patents the same from your published paper then what?

05-31-2012 03:45 PM
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You cannot patent something which has been previousy published/ is common knowledge etc. The patent will never go through.

Tag me to get a response.
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05-31-2012 03:48 PM
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