I am a PhD student who works in theory. I was working on some problem for the last 6-7 weeks. After doing a survey for two weeks it took me about four weeks to solve a research problem.

Along with my research supervisor, I was able to solve the research problem, after having a conversion with my research supervisor I came to know that it is a very small result (not yet to publishable), he suggested to do the same kind of work for some closely-related problem and then we can submit by adding something more.

I am very much satisfied with my adviser's opinion. I am just wondering what else I should do in this situation. Should I write it and upload it on arXiv or to do something else.

Please note that I am not going against my research supervisor; I am just wondering what the other possibilities are. I am asking this question because I am new, not because I don't trust my research supervisor.

  • From your question it is not clear if your advisor plans to include your first result in the full paper or not, for example as a subsection. Otherwise, acting against his recommendations, especially for a just commencing researcher, is a sign of mistrust, and if discovered cannot positevely affect your relationships with your advisor, and thus would not be recommended.
    – avenir
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 13:24
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    Please do not vandalize your post or otherwise make it hard to decipher your question.
    – Mad Jack
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 16:57
  • One worry you might have is that you want to establish a prior public record of your finding, just in case somebody else publishes it. You might want to check if your department issues technical reports and what the guidelines for those are in terms of length etc. Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 8:02

1 Answer 1


In my opinion, nothing new is not publishable. Small results are not prestige-ly enough publishable, that's it.

So, if you want to publish this result, find a venue small enough for it and submit. Another issue, however, if your advisor tells you to wait, you should rather wait.

It might be, namely, that by combining this result with a minor further development, you might seriously bump up its "prestige", i.e. the possibility it gets accepted at a larger or more important venue. Advisors typically know this stuff better than PhD students.

To give you an example. I played once with PGP public keys and found a way to visualize them as a nice image. After a literature research I found that noone did it like this before. So, it was a new scientific result, but not very publishable, just as your issue. Then I thought a bit more, what properties does my visualization have. I found SHA1 collision data, applied my visualization, and saw that I can tell the two files with same hash apart with my approach. Now, this is quite big. (But little work for me.)

I further looked around where to publish it (Visualization or Security), it successfully landed at the Visual Computer.

enter image description here enter image description here

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    Well, I gave you an example of a similar situation, when I (myself) made similar decision to what your supervisor seems to have made. In general, you should trust your supervisor to have more experience than you do, hence their decisions are based on something you do not perceive yet. To put it short: your supervisor should know better. (Also, you seem to have updated the question after my answer.) Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 15:56
  • I'm taking an info security course as part of OMSCS and we recently just started covering cryptography. Do you mind if I share that link with the class?
    – user51076
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 16:13
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    Please provide ALT text for the images you have embedded in this post. This will help both the visually-impaired and users who do not have the time or background to read up on your work. Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 22:37
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    I disagree that you should try to publish all your small, uninteresting results in less prestigious journals. Many disreputable, predatory journals will publish anything, and having articles from known disreputable journals on your CV may be worse than not publishing at all. Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 23:26
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    @JairTaylor I think you misunderstand the answerer. I don’t see anything here advocating for publishing every result you get. Just the assertion that you can if you want to. Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 12:53

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