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I stumbled across the LinkedIn page of someone in my program who has 30+ first-author papers. We're in 3rd year. How in god's name is this possible...Well I guess if this is the caliber of student I'm competing against there's no hope for me. But honestly my first thought isn't even that this is impressive. It's that this makes no sense whatsoever. Some Nobel prize winning researchers don't even publish that many in their entire career....

Alright this is bothering me. No one should have 30 papers at this stage in their life. So after doing a little more sifting it turns out he and a bunch of others churned out a bunch of papers in their own "published magazine" that they started from high school, and the person that supervised them didn't even have an advanced degree, they published papers on like safety in sports or something. Honestly this is borderline cheating; it completely disavows the people producing valuable research. Someone please tell me med school adcoms will be able to sift through this nonsense...

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Not all pubs require equal effort/time/commitment. Writing letters for instance counts as publications but they may not require the same level of effort and time and resources as a basic sciences paper.

You don't need to be better than everyone else to get in. As long as you hit the average (based on admissions stats) on all the factors (GPA, MCAT, ECs, etc), and maybe have one or two unique things that differentiate you from the sea of premeds, you will be fine.

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Yes, a self-published magazine is not the equivalent of a peer-reviewed journal. However, was this publication disseminated in any way in print or online? If they're not selling it as original research, but rather promoting safety in sports, it's reasonable as a public service contribution.

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36 minutes ago, KeyzerSoze said:

I stumbled across the LinkedIn page of someone in my program who has 30+ first-author papers. We're in 3rd year. How in god's name is this possible...Well I guess if this is the caliber of student I'm competing against there's no hope for me. But honestly my first though isn't even that this is impressive. It's that this makes no sense whatsoever. Some Nobel prize winning researchers don't even publish that many in their entire career....

The nature of the research field and amount of time that needs to be put into each paper can differ. Some fields like epi, you're going to see someone with more pubs than someone in benchwork (given that they have equivalent time commitments) most of the time. This is because the nature of benchwork research takes a long time - prepping cell cultures/experimental animals, repetition in data reports for validity and accuracy, praying to the gods of research that your p < 0.05 so you won't feel like ripping your hair out when your hypothesis is rejected after years of work. 

Medical schools know the differences in the nature of the work. For example, UofT when they look at a Master's, an MSc in say immunology vs. an MPH/MSc in epidemiology, they look at the grad reviews differently because they know epi would be more likely to publish compared to immunology. You can find more information on this in their admission video. 

But guaranteed, anyone in the research realm would understand that 1 nature publication would probably be better than 30 publications in a zero impact factor magazine. 

On the last point about competition, it's understandable that you feel pressure due to all the competitive applicants, but the only thing you have control is your own application and journey. Focus on your own journey, as the additional effort that you're using to stress on others can be used to further build yourself into an even better applicant/individual. 

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3 minutes ago, CardiacArrhythmia said:

The nature of the research field and amount of time that needs to be put into each paper can differ. Some fields like epi, you're going to see someone with more pubs than someone in benchwork (given that they have equivalent time commitments) most of the time. This is because the nature of benchwork research takes a long time - prepping cell cultures/experimental animals, repetition in data reports for validity and accuracy, praying to the gods of research that your p < 0.05 so you won't feel like ripping your hair out when your hypothesis is rejected after years of work. 

Medical schools know the differences in the nature of the work. For example, UofT when they look at a Master's, an MSc in say immunology vs. an MPH/MSc in epidemiology, they look at the grad reviews differently because they know epi would be more likely to publish compared to immunology. You can find more information on this in their admission video. 

But guaranteed, anyone in the research realm would understand that 1 nature publication would probably be better than 30 publications in a zero impact factor magazine. 

On the last point about competition, it's understandable that you feel pressure due to all the competitive applicants, but the only thing you have control is your own application and journey. Focus on your own journey, as the additional effort that you're using to stress on others can be used to further build yourself into an even better applicant/individual. 

Yeah I definitely freaked out. At junior year of undergrad, 1 first author is incredible. 2 is insane. Anything more and honestly I wouldn't believe you. You can imagine my reaction at seeing 30+ first-author papers. And yeah this person is in epidemiology. Published a bunch of papers in useless topics, doesn't really feel fair.

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1. Try not to compare yourself to other people. Easier said than done, but try anyways.

2. "First-author papers" is vague and can literally represent a collection of anything. It's nothing substantial 99% of the time. I could be wrong though, and this person might be the second coming of Tesla, but probably not.

3. Research is irrelevant if stats are otherwise uncompetitive.

Don't stress about it. People worry too much about stuff they have no control over.

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I think I would be wary of saying that it's not 'valuable research.' I can understand that it might be daunting (and frustrating) to see someone that appears to be a complete outlier compared to their peers. Adcoms will indeed read through applications to the best of their ability - if they notice an applicant with an irregular number of publications at a younger age, it would obviously be scrutinized more heavily than, say, a 4th year applicant with 1 publication. At that point, whether or not they deem their research as 'valuable' or not is completely to their discretion. I would just be cautious against saying that 'it's not fair' simply because they appear miles above everyone else in terms of research. It's difficult to interpret if someone like that is actually legitimate - and if you have no control over it, why worry?

As Freewheeler and Intrepid mentioned, don't sweat it. Research is important, but it's not actually not crucial towards whether or not you're accepted into Canadian med. Focus on what you need to do to get where you want. There are tons of other ways to demonstrate your capability. 

 

 

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9 hours ago, KeyzerSoze said:

I stumbled across the LinkedIn page of someone in my program who has 30+ first-author papers.

(aside: Maybe I'm behind the times, but unless they have this side business etc., why does a third year undergraduate student need a linkedin page?) 

This person has full editorial control of what goes on their linkedin page. Can you even find their publications on pubmed?

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46 minutes ago, Briannaxox said:

Honestly it just seems like you're salty and jealous. Go write your own papers or whatever instead of being envious of others and complaining/crying lmao 

Well grandma, jealousy would imply I have a vested interest in obtaining what someone else has. I've no desire to become a researcher one day. Call it more inquisitiveness with an unhealthy dash of neuroticism. And "just go write your own papers", what the everloving hell kind of stupid advice is that? Go back to studying for the MCAT or something.

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9 minutes ago, KeyzerSoze said:

Well grandma, jealousy would imply I have a vested interest in obtaining what someone else has. I've no desire to become a researcher one day. Call it more inquisitiveness with an unhealthy dash of neuroticism. And "just go write your own papers", what the everloving hell kind of stupid advice is that? Go back to studying for the MCAT or something

:lol:

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GPA > MCAT > ECs ( not a law, just a general rule of thumb IMO). If you're killing the game enough to land an interview, it won't matter how much publications they have. If you interview well you should be fine!

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10 hours ago, Pakoon said:

GPA > MCAT > ECs ( not a law, just a general rule of thumb IMO). If you're killing the game enough to land an interview, it won't matter how much publications they have. If you interview well you should be fine!

There certainly are limits that logically you should apply to various categories - ha very likely in the order you have mentioned. Of course you always are going to get some random person that is just obsessed with something in particular - either through sheer skill or effort or both. Exceptions don't make the rule here though - you don't have to be super human to get into medical school - better to know the rules cold, work hard to achieve good rating in all the categories and not to go over board in one at the expense of the other. 

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On 11/7/2018 at 9:16 PM, KeyzerSoze said:

I stumbled across the LinkedIn page of someone in my program who has 30+ first-author papers. We're in 3rd year. How in god's name is this possible...Well I guess if this is the caliber of student I'm competing against there's no hope for me. But honestly my first thought isn't even that this is impressive. It's that this makes no sense whatsoever. Some Nobel prize winning researchers don't even publish that many in their entire career....

Alright this is bothering me. No one should have 30 papers at this stage in their life. So after doing a little more sifting it turns out he and a bunch of others churned out a bunch of papers in their own "published magazine" that they started from high school, and the person that supervised them didn't even have an advanced degree, they published papers on like safety in sports or something. Honestly this is borderline cheating; it completely disavows the people producing valuable research. Someone please tell me med school adcoms will be able to sift through this nonsense...

HOW? I was doing research in my third year and I can tell you it was hard to get first-author publication with the amount of effort I put in. It takes time to get papers published so they must have started research in first year or so, unless I am missing something. I am just so curious!   

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I know someone exactly like that too! (and he published some books as well <_< some of his research is a little sketch, but idk...), I think we have to take into account that there will always be those one or two outliers that have crazy resumes that look a little suspicious, and trust that adcoms will either take note of it, or even if they do get in, eventually they'll have to actually do real research, or at least work of real substance at some point

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On 11/9/2018 at 5:06 PM, AlynHoffman said:

I know someone exactly like that too! (and he published some books as well <_< some of his research is a little sketch, but idk...), I think we have to take into account that there will always be those one or two outliers that have crazy resumes that look a little suspicious, and trust that adcoms will either take note of it, or even if they do get in, eventually they'll have to actually do real research, or at least work of real substance at some point

Pretty sure I know exactly who this thread is about. The dude goes to Western right? 

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1 hour ago, xiphoid said:

Pretty sure I know exactly who this thread is about. The dude goes to Western right? 

Oh jeez... well I guess I shouldn't be surprised that someone this accomplished while still in undergrad is kinda well known on campus lol. But yeah we should probably PM.

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4 hours ago, KeyzerSoze said:

Oh jeez... well I guess I shouldn't be surprised that someone this accomplished while still in undergrad is kinda well known on campus lol. But yeah we should probably PM.

I'd say he's more notorious than well known...

But to answer your original question, the majority of his publications are not legitimate. They are in predatory journals that will accept essentially anything as long as you pay the publishing fee. The other papers, well his dad is an oncologist in Toronto. If you do a PubMed search, notice how many of "his" papers have his dad as the senior author... There is such a thing as overdoing it for a med school app. Him putting that he has 30+ first author publications will for sure result in the admission committee going to verify (whereas saying you have a few publications likely won't result in adcom performing a PubMed search to verify), and when they do, I'm pretty sure it'll be a red flag on his app.

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6 hours ago, xiphoid said:

I'd say he's more notorious than well known...

But to answer your original question, the majority of his publications are not legitimate. They are in predatory journals that will accept essentially anything as long as you pay the publishing fee. The other papers, well his dad is an oncologist in Toronto. If you do a PubMed search, notice how many of "his" papers have his dad as the senior author... There is such a thing as overdoing it for a med school app. Him putting that he has 30+ first author publications will for sure result in the admission committee going to verify (whereas saying you have a few publications likely won't result in adcom performing a PubMed search to verify), and when they do, I'm pretty sure it'll be a red flag on his app.

Yup Western, we are definitely talking about the same person :P he also started a whole bunch of clubs/associations on top of all of that. 

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