I am currently employed as a postdoc in Europe.

I am writing a survey paper reviewing the literature on the topic I am investigating as part of the project I am working on.

A member of faculty in the lab said that I should try and find ways to get the most out of the survey paper, in addition to publishing it in a journal. He wasn't specific as to what else I should do with the work.

My question is therefore, how can I get more out of the work that I am putting into a review paper?

Does he mean to use it as part of a funding proposal or to publish a short version in a conference followed by the extended full paper in a journal?

  • 2
    Have you asked this faculty member what he meant in particular? From my recent experience with writing a survey (I'm also a European postdoc), it's hard to get it published unless you've got a senior researcher's name on it too.
    – user108403
    Nov 19, 2019 at 16:35
  • Welcome to Academia SE! I find part of your question relevant and part not so much. The relevant part is, "how can I get more out of the work that I am putting into a review paper?" The irrelevant part (for Academia SE) is, "what did this person mean when he told me so and so in a conversation"? For what the person meant, you should directly ask that person; we can't help you much with that. So, although it is perfectly fine to present the faculty member's suggestions as background that motivates your question, I recommend that you revise your question to focus only on what you want to learn.
    – Tripartio
    Nov 20, 2019 at 9:32
  • To reach more readers you could distribute the paper without waiting for publication in a journal. Depending on your field of work, this may be done using a preprint archive. Nov 21, 2019 at 8:52

1 Answer 1


Writing a review paper gives you several opportunities. Especially when it is invited an published in a renown journal in your field. But the purpose can not be to use or optimize towards a funding proposal. A review paper should serve your community and especially new researchers in the field. The chances I see are:

  • doing a complete review of the literature up to the time the last related review was published. When do you really have the time to do this in time of information overload and time pressure. Now you are asked and paid to do this
  • outlining interdisciplinary relations to your field that emerged in recent years or which are prospective
  • making yourself a name in the community, review papers are often very much cited, but this also means you should take your time to judge very thoroughly which results published in the field in the past you should push into the foreground to not offend some peers
  • contact other peers in your field to ask to review the article before submission and discuss with them. In a big field you will not be able to judge importance of all publications on your own and you will need the help of peers to decide what has to be referenced and maybe explained and highlighted in detail
  • outlining what the open questions in your field are and suggesting new PhD topics to students. Often also so called "roadmap" or "opportunities" articles are published, so you chould check if recent articles of that kind exist.

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