I am a postgraduate student at a research-oriented university. I had spent about 2 months to work on a project. I collaborated with another postgraduate student who is the first author.

In the project, I mainly contributed to the paper writing such as whole parts of introduction, background, related works, discussion, and conclusion. Also, I wrote some subsections in the main body and made most of the figures and tables in the paper. So I think I put a decent amount of time and effort.

But my collaborator wants to discard this paper since he/she thinks the methodology of the paper is too outdated and thus it cannot be accepted for the top journal/conference.

It seems my 2 months of work is wasted. What do you think about this situation? and What should I do?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts and advice.


If your contribution is just to the writing and not to the underlying research then you don't have much invested. However, if it helped you improve your writing skill in any way then it isn't wasted.

But the best way to capitalize on it directly is to stay with the project if it continues but get more deeply into the research behind it.

But don't minimize the impact of the experience. Think of it as an investment that will only pay off longer term. I assume the first author also put a lot into the work and is a bit disappointed also.

But you should verify everything with your supervisor/advisor. Perhaps the other student is being overly pessimistic.

OTOH, discarding work partly done is common enough. Not the norm, perhaps, but sometimes you need to get fairly deep into it to learn that there is less there than first anticipated.

  • 2
    I would add: let a reviewer decide if the methods are too outdated, don’t decide on the reviewers’ behalf – Dawn Dec 27 '18 at 18:55
  • @Buffy Indeed this experience improved my writing skills and help me understand research better. Thanks! – user102372 Dec 28 '18 at 4:46

My advice is to try to put some pressure on the other researcher to get something out. Even offer to spearhead it (finish the writing) and maybe make any claims more modest, less controversial, and try for an "easy" journal. (IOW, make it more of a datapoint paper.) But get it over the goal line. If necessary, I would even go to other colleagues or his supervisor or the like. [Squeaky wheel theory.]

Oh...and don't work with this person in the future. And try to get better commitments for eventual publishing before offering help again. And of course if you are in reverse situation make SURE to get something, some least publishable unit, over the goal line when you have collaborators relying on you as first author.

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