As a part of my research project, I am almost finished a first paper. I was proud of myself because of the contributions: I was able to take some ideas that has been used in the field for some years now, and I provided a unified point of view. However, as it turned out, some of those results had been already obtained before. Nevertheless, this results seems to be unknown yet in the community of the field.

A very important conference is coming up, in which the main leaders on the topic will be present. My supervisor wants me to give a talk about my results in this event. Given the fact that a few of these results had been already obtained (and of course, I am not taking credit for this), the paper with only my contributions (discarding what was done before) is not a strong paper. Although my supervisor thinks it is OK, I am afraid that giving this talk in front of these experts will result in them not taking me seriously as a researcher in the future. What are your thoughts on that?

  • 6
    "Not so strong" papers are published and presented all the time, everywhere. Don't worry. Don't be overly self-critical. It'll be fine.
    – user12956
    Jan 12, 2018 at 9:06
  • 6
    "some of those results had been already obtained before. Nevertheless, this results seems to be unknown yet in the community of the field." Raising awareness for overlooked but important results (even if they are not new) is a great reason to give a talk at a conference.
    – user9482
    Jan 12, 2018 at 9:31
  • 3
    Enjoy it, get your feet wet and remember, there are many papers presented at the beginning of projects : Everyone there has all had to present their first paper...
    – Solar Mike
    Jan 12, 2018 at 9:57
  • 1
    Maybe drop a hint at the beginning of the presentation to let the audience know it is your first paper. They will know what to expect and not be too harsh with their critique but instead maybe trying to give tips and improvements instead.
    – asquared
    Jan 12, 2018 at 12:01
  • Do your best, show enthusiasm and show awareness of what was done already. Innest your contribution to that. Every bo
    – Alchimista
    Jan 12, 2018 at 14:28

2 Answers 2


Answer inspired by @Roland's comment.

First of all, have a little faith in yourself, your supervisor seems to believe your work is good enough and so should you.

Otherwise, if you really do have some doubts about the relevance of the paper you can stress the fact that these results seem to be unknown in the community.

Raise awareness on the fact that your project is interesting and that some work and results have already been made, yet seem to have passed under the radar of many.


I like the answer by @everyone but I want to introduce another factor to consider, and that is the scoop factor.

Are you planning to continue working in this area? Do you think that identifying this area as insufficiently mined creates a special opportunity for you to build on what's been done previously, to come up with something novel, original and worthwhile? If so, you might want to play your cards closer to your chest, and wait before going so public.

If, on the other hand, you just want to see other people build on what's been done so far, and you yourself are planning to turn your attention to other areas and problems, then there's no reason to be circumspect. In this case, go ahead and present, and get people fired up about this potentially fruitful direction!

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .