I have been told that a candidate rarely enters the viva examination room without the examiners already having their decision made as to whether candidate is going to pass or fail. If a pass is on the cards, a candidate will have to really mess up, possibly raising doubts as to whether the work is their own etc, to end up failing.
Thus, there is no point getting nervous in the viva as our fates are usually already decided ! :-(
he then talks about how other labs are always in a race to just publish, but are unlikely to make unique contributions, because they take the "safe road" but the risky road, where the result might end up being negative is seldom taken.
"I had witnessed the frustration of scientists who were pursuing obvious experiments that were simultaneously being carried out in other laboratories. These scientists were constantly in a race. It had always seemed to me that, even if they were able to publish their results six months before a competing laboratory, they were unlikely to make truly unique contributions.
I had used a different strategy. My approach had been that of predicting how a particular biological process might work and then taking years to test whether my guess might be right. This was enormously risky. The good news was that I was carrying out experiments that were different from those being done by everyone else. The problem was that these tests could produce only a 'yes' or 'no' answer. If 'yes', I might be able to add something unique to the world's store of scientific knowledge. But if 'no', I would learn nothing of real value — in this case, I could eliminate just one of the many possible ways in which DNA replication might begin."
"The months of analysis triggered by the wake-up call of my PhD failure finally produced an answer. I would look for a unique experimental approach, but one that would have a high probability of increasing our knowledge of the natural world, regardless of the experimental results obtained."
that to me is great science. not focused on producing papers like some sort of factory. i didn't like the pressure my sups put on me to produce papers, everything was geared towards papers, instead of a phd. i'm seeing the same thing happening to my collegues, they almost are putting their phds in the back burner, and saying to each student, 'we expect at least 2 papers out of you'. instead of focusing on their phd thesis! i know sups have pressure to produce papers for grants etc, but they see phd students as "cheap labour" in producing papers. i may sound cynical, but i am not the only one that feels this way. its happening more and more these days.
and they try to make it out like you wont pass your phd if you dont have your work published first. its done so subtly, you dont even realise it!
Thanks for the article Juno, it was very interesting to read.
I agree with the comments he made about how the focus should be on producing a good thesis instead of submitting it within 3-4 years, and whether the work reflects the time instead of the quality, and originality and whether it contributes to the ether of knowledge.
I hardly ever agree with Commonsense, but in this case I do. BadHairCut, have they brainwashed you? Since it's going well and your the number two in your lab, you seem to completely have transformed into one of the academic monkeys? Or is it the money they paid you?
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