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I've done some work at my industry research internship that has led to a draft of a paper. I am currently applying to PhD programs, and the company at which I interned has a lengthy internal review process which will result in an inability to submit the paper to either a publication venue or a preprint server until after most of my applications are due. The abstract has been approved by internal review and submitted to a journal, but I will be unable to share the paper in time.

Is there a best practice for demonstrating that I've done research that has led to a paper, while also not yet having published the paper someplace due to these constraints? My supervisor has agreed to write a letter of recommendation on my behalf, so I suppose they can write about this, but I'm wondering if I should perhaps add a section on my CV to accommodate for this situation, or address it in my personal statement. I'd appreciate any and all suggestions, thanks!

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    Do they let you share the title? Nov 4, 2021 at 18:41

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This is an example of a situation in which having a personal web page might be beneficial. Specifically, I suggest doing the following:

  1. Set up a personal web page with a section titled Preprints and any other details about you you think are worth highlighting.

  2. List your preprint-under-internal-review there, in the format:

    adamcatto. My grand theory of everything. Preprint (2021), under internal compliance review at Acme Corporation, Inc.

  3. In your CV or elsewhere in your grad school applications, include a link to the web page. Also include a link to the preprints section of the web page from the CV entry listing your paper.

  4. As soon as the paper passes the internal review and you are authorized by the company to make it available publicly, update the web page entry referencing your preprint to

    adamcatto. My grand theory of everything. Preprint, 2021.

    with a link to a PDF of the actual paper (or to the arXiv page of the paper if you upload it there). If you submitted it to a journal you can add “Submitted”.

In this way, people reviewing your application will get the most current, real-time information about the status of your paper, with the option to view the paper itself once that’s been made possible. The benefit of this approach is that it buys you more time to have the paper approved and still make it accessible to the people reviewing your application (without having to contact the grad programs and beg to be allowed to update your file, which I’m guessing is not likely to work). This can be a meaningful advantage, since between the application deadline and the time people are actually reviewing your application there is a delay of typically a few weeks, even a month or more.

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Your CV can have a section "Work in Progress". You can list titles (or tentative titles, even obfuscated titles if needed) there. You can mark some of the items "In preparation for publication" or something similar that seems right. "Pre-submission company review" can probably be understood, though it may need a footnote.

It doesn't belong in the SoP, but might be mentioned (or the meaning made clear) in a personal statement. But a footnote in the CV is probably enough.

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Listing your publications bibliography style, and using a parenthetical comment, or change of font (removing italic, APA style) to identify those works under review, unpublished, or pre-publication is perfectly acceptable. This is often appropriate for technical reports under a grant, or government agencies.

If not publicly available, you might have a copy on hand to show, however.

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Make sure you are clear about what your company's policies are about what you are allowed to share about the paper. This is something you should talk about with your boss.

Assuming you are allowed to share that the paper exists, who the authors are, what the title is, and the journal where you submitted the paper, you can add a line to your list of publications like

  1. Author name 1, Author name 2, "Title", Submitted to Journal X.

An unpublished paper counts less than a published one, but having the line in your CV is better than not having the line.

Of course, you may have to modify this to remove any information the company's policies don't allow you to share.

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