Wednesday, December 7, 2016

What do we think of "manuscript in preparation"?

Via Twitter, a fair bit of deprecation of "manuscript in preparation" or "manuscript submitted" for CVs and resumes. Does anyone disagree? It seems to me something that can be useful occasionally, but is probably not very helpful overall.

Hiring managers (academic, industrial or governmental), please chime in. If you could tell us what kind of hiring you're a part of, that would be great. 

14 comments:

  1. I think submitted is fair, but clearly doesn't count as much as an actual publication (and if we follow up a month later if it's still 'submitted' the value decreases).

    "In preparation" is just BS and shows you don't have your act together. I would, and have, tossed CVs that include these in citation list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What does one do if their adviser sits on their manuscript(s) well into their postdoc?

      I think a big problem nowadays, especially for people that worked with older (say 70+ established professors, is that their CVs get tossed before any hiring manager can read a supervisor's reference letter.

      Delete
  2. You're damned if you do; damned if you don't.

    There's a lot of research out there where "manuscript in preparation" essentially means "dead on the boss's desk", whereas sometimes it genuinely means that the work is going to hit the literature ASAP. At the very least manuscript submitted implies that the work is completed and that publishing is actively in motion. I would never want to exclude people from including brilliant work that has a legitimate shot at being published, but understand that "manuscript in preparation" is absolutely abused to fluff resumes.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Look to NSF for guidance, ye unbelievers. The NSF biosketch only allows permits certain classes of scholarly products (papers, patents, software, etc).

    "Unacceptable products are unpublished documents not yet submitted for publication, invited lectures, and additional lists of products."

    Based on this metric, submitted seems ok, but "in preparation" is not.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You can't easily evaluate something that hasn't been submitted - you don't know whether the work could be published anywhere, how much work it will take for it to be published, or where. Submitted work has the implication that it is ready for publication, but whether it's the equivalent of the Olympic opening ceremonies or a late-night informercial on cleansing your body of toxins still isn't clear (and if your judgement on publication is bad enough, maybe not even that).

    If your career is back-loaded on publications (late-year grad student hitting kitty's stride), you could easily run into this problem. Stuff might be submitted or not, depending on your advisor and their pull. If that were the case, you'd like to hope that your advisor could explain that there's papers coming, although since people can't verify, that still might not help.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think "submitted" is ok especially for early-career people who don't have that many publications. They should be listed separately, not mixed in with published/in press articles. "In preparation" means essentially nothing unless there's something to back it up (in the reference letter from the advisor, for example).

    ReplyDelete
  6. In preparation: meaningless.

    Submitted: if asked, you can produce a confidential copy of the manuscript. Synonymous with "under review"

    ReplyDelete
  7. submitted papers and patents are legit, to include in your CV (it can take more than two years for a provisional patent application to become a published patent application) - as a sign you did something useful in a medicinal chemistry job.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Submitted okay, but I just reviewed a CV that had 4 manuscripts in preparation all for JACS and Nature. That may be true, but I then have 20 manuscripts in preparation for ORPD. Call me crazy, but I was a bit skeptical after reading their research summary that 4 papers of that quality would come out of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I don't know how a manuscript in preparation can already be earmarked for a specific journal. In prep means you're still developing the narrative and probably collecting some additional data.

      Delete
    2. I always thought "In Prep" was when there was a complete draft/story, but it wasn't submitted yet. This can be for a number of reasons (backlogged on PI's desk for example).

      Delete
    3. I think this is what the original post was about. "In preparation" has no real defined meaning. At least "submitted" means that you finished putting it together and sent it somewhere.

      As an aside, I've been following a professor who has had a manuscript "in preparation" on his webpage for over 8 months now.

      Delete
  9. Submitted is ok but should go in a separate section.

    ReplyDelete
  10. i think there's a large disconnect here in science fields vs non-science (particularly certain humanities). in particular, for both history and philosophy i've heard that "in prep" papers are important to include.

    if applicants are getting job advice from a general "career services" place, the advisors are often not particularly good at understanding different norms for different fields (which is understandable as they deal with so many different people).

    i always have 5 to 10 papers in various stages of prep (mostly they're just a few paragraphs and figures slowly aging, like a fine wine). i would include submitted papers, with those probably in a different section just for clarity

    as someone on a hiring committee, i just don't want to get the impression that i'm being tricked by a candidate

    ReplyDelete