I am increasingly in a position where I am writing papers with students I am mentoring. Since these projects are primarily meant to expose them to research, I will often have them take the lead on the writing/figure generation/etc.

What I am wondering is to what standard should I hold the presentation quality of their papers?

On the one hand, these are students who are still developing as academic writers, so some (to a lot) of guidance and "hand-holding" is needed to get the papers into a form which is acceptable for submission. On the other hand, "acceptable" is probably not the standard which most academics have for the writing in their own papers. However, it seems a bit unreasonable to hold others to same standards I have for my own work; we've all heard stories of advisors who nitpick about things which nobody else seems to care about, and there are certainly things which I personally care about in my own papers (and am happy to spend lots of time on) which I doubt many other researchers even notice. How do I determine a good balance?

  • I think academics by nature tend to want to perfect everything ... some times "good enough" is OK. Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 4:07
  • I guess what I'm getting at is how to determine what "good enough" is Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 4:07
  • What level are these students? Undergraduates? Doctoral Students?
    – Buffy
    Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 14:43
  • undergrads, but I am interested in both cases Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 14:46

1 Answer 1


Rough guideline could be that you would recommend acceptance modulo minor revisions if you were the referee?

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