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Wednesday, 14 October 2015 at 4:16am
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Thread: Unfair co-first authorship

21-Dec-18, 13:24
edited about 40 seconds later
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posted about 2 years ago
I am a PhD student in chemistry and my funding is specific for a certain project. This funding also funds another PhD student, a biochemist, with a different advisor (both our advisors are very well-respected). We're both in the 3rd year of our PhDs.

The project is now in its sixth year. The distribution of work is as follows:

-Some post-docs had done the first 4 years of this work
-The other student provides the animal samples and some biochemical test
-I do the "novel test". This test is labour-intensive and time consuming. I very often work on holidays, while the other student doesn't even answer mail after hours, despite having a technician to help her.

The problem is the authorship of the papers. We are now going to start our third sub-project on this work:

-Paper #1 [last year] was primarily the post-docs work, with authoring PostDoc*, OtherStudent* (where * denotes equal contribution)
-Paper #2 [last year] was mostly my work, with authoring me*, OtherStudent*. I was extremely heart-broken and wanted to quit, but my advisor assured me that this would not happen again
-Paper #3 [this year] is the problem. The other student sent a new batch of samples in for a new paper. My advisor said that it is very likely that the other group will ask a paper co-first authored as: OtherStudent*, Me*, since the other student had not been in the first position of the co-first-authorship yet.

I believe it is unfair that I have fewer papers than this other student despite doing much more work. Indeed, this other student has time to work on other things and get still more papers published, where I am working flat-out on this effort.

My advisor and I argued and I told him that I want to switch to a different project, but he said I can't because my funding is specific to this project. I'm thinking to quit and apply for a new PhD somewhere else but I have spent 2 years and 2 months in my PhD and I believe I will also have problems in the new place (hopefully not as bad).

Am I right to be angry? How should I approach this situation? How do people in academia actually look at co-first authorship? Is the order important?

Thread: Undecided of which supervisor to choose

14-Oct-15, 04:47
Avatar for EastWest
posted about 5 years ago
Dear all,
I've been reading a lot of postgrad forum but it makes me feel more overwhelmed and worried.

I got a potential supervisor from Oxford with a topic that is very new to me so I don't know if I'll like it. The supervisor said that the case is common among his students. His students said that the supervisor organise a lot of meetings to increase understanding about this field. The reason I choose this topic is because the place where I'm going to work (abroad) need a person with new expertise. I've never met him so I don't know about his personality.

I'm considering to approach 2 other supervisors from my previous uni in London (very good uni just below Oxford) because I'm also undecided between the two. One of them is very busy & famous prof. His field is very interesting for me and I really want to work with him. But the field is very common so it's not very impressive and the fact that he is super busy might be a problem for me (his student said that she is still able to meet the supervisor). The other person is in the same department and quite similar field, but he is younger (very young and new academic) and I believe he has much more time. I've met them before but I'm not very sure if my personality matches theirs. Since I had my master in London, I really love this place and Oxford might feel a bit dull.

Funding might not be a problem anywhere since I'm going to use scholarship from a third party but I have to finish it within 4 years.

Anyone has any thought about it? Thank you in advance.
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