I work in physics.

Throughout my graduate career, I heard about people who have been known to see work done in a talk and subsequently catch up to that work and then-some, and attempt to publish first. I ignored this lore assuming it wasn't really true.

Now I am presenting at a conference where there will be someone (actually a big-wig) who has a reputation for this sort of maneuver, and I don't have a pre-print yet to post online.

Any recommendations about how to mitigate the potential for this to happen (besides being ready sooner obviously, I'm working very hard on this work). Thanks.


Give the impression that the preprint is almost ready so that big-wig sees no chance to be first.

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Assuming you have results that are developed enough that there is something to steal, why are you giving talks before writing it up? Write it up and put a preprint on arXiv or similar. It doesn't have to be in 100% ready to submit form, just include the important parts that you are trying to establish precedence for.

Alternately, give a big-picture overview that does not give enough small details that your results could be recreated easily. Presumably your work would take even a big-wig months of compiling data, running computations, or SOMETHING before they could write a paper and submit it before you.

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