I'm Published. Now What?


I'm Published. Now What?

—from the PI's desk

We received an inquiry from an undergrad about how to use their co-authorship on applications (edited here for brevity and to maintain anonymity):

I have been working on research projects for a year now. Just this summer I have received a co-authorship on a study. I was wondering, how do I record this information or something along those lines to be used for graduate school applications?

Dear Undergrad In The Lab,

Congratulations on your publication!

For a variety of reasons, even an exciting project coupled with the hardest working researcher isn't always enough to end up with a publication. So I hope you have taken time to marvel at your accomplishment, and celebrate with your labmates.

Not only is a publication an accomplishment to list on your CV, but also it gives you an application advantage: it will be one metric used by a graduate admissions committee to evaluate your success as an undergrad researcher. This is important because many graduate admissions committees use an undergrad's research performance as an indication of their future success in graduate school.

Most graduate school applications have a section where publications or other noteworthy items are listed so you'll definitely include your publication there. You can also mention it in your personal statement as you discuss the impact your research experience had on you if you can make the statement fit organically. Also, your PI will likely mention your contributions to the publication in their recommendation letter.

Moving forward, If you don't already have one, create a CV this semester and include details about your research experience and your publication. You can find CV templates on the web or use one from MS Word to help you get started.

To cite your publication, you can use almost any citation style that includes author names, title, journal title, volume, and year. For examples, view some citation styles in Mendeley. (By the way, if you aren’t already using a reference manager and PDF organizer, I recommend Mendeley.)

At the very least, start a CV file this semester. You don't want to spend your energy trying to remember important details and specific accomplishments when it's time to fill out grad school applications. Here's why.

I wish you the best of luck with the rest of your research experience.