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I am a master student and I haven't published any paper yet. I have a manuscript of research but it recently got rejected. I wonder if I can put this in my CV (I might apply for a PhD) since it's empty in my publication section. Can I mark it as manuscript or something?

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    Do you have a preprint uploaded anywhere? If so, I would list it with the preprint link and put (to be submitted) in the CV entry if you intend to submit elsewhere. Commented Jul 10, 2022 at 4:45
  • Some journals will not accept submissions that have been made public as preprints.
    – JRN
    Commented Jul 10, 2022 at 5:28
  • OK. Thanks. I will not put it I think! Commented Jul 10, 2022 at 11:40

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(Building on comments by @CameronWilliams and others under the question.) Many journals, including those in the Nature and Lancet groups, accept submission of a paper uploaded to a preprint service that they approve. So it's worth checking the journal websites. Also, if you submit to a journal you might not get the initial response, never mind reviews, for months. Uploading preprints to Arxiv, Medrxiv, Biorxiv, etc or to journal own preprint servers speeds up research dissemination and is pretty standard nowadays.

If you think your paper is worth showing to people, I'd put it to a good preprint service and link it up on your CV. Before that, it could make sense to accommodate reviewer's suggestions and others' feedback on your paper (eg, your instructor's, especially if you'd need a reference from them later).

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If you are working to improve the paper or its underlying research with the hope of publishing it later, include a "Work In Progress" section on your CV and list the project there instead. Give the project a descriptive name and indicate that you have a paper in preparation. Don't say that it was already rejected, since it would be different in any future submission.

Having work in progress is an advantage in any academic application.

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Don't do it - mainly because it's easy to get rejected (just submit something in gibberish) but much harder to get accepted.

Instead submit it somewhere else and put "so-and-so paper, submitted to [big name journal]" in your CV.

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    -1. I'd strongly recommend against the suggestion in the last paragraph. Some people (including myself) are quite allergic to this "submitted to" thing - for the reason explained in your first paragraph. Commented Jul 10, 2022 at 9:31
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    Maybe I'm not cynical enough. But I wouldn't assume that people would actually submit gibberish to a journal just to be able to list it on their CV... Plus, if it's listed as 'under review at X' it must have passed editorial review and presumably can't be complete gibberish. Commented Jul 10, 2022 at 19:44

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