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I am an early career researcher. I don't have any affiliation at present. If I get a job offer before my paper submission, it would be a couple of months before I join the position. So it might not be appropriate to name the new affiliation in my paper.

I doubt there is any solution to this problem, but I'm posting to ask just in case there is one. Would it be a good idea to submit straightaway to a journal instead of first submitting on the arXiv where people can see my paper before its publication?

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  • What is your question? Commented May 16, 2023 at 12:22
  • With the edit, your question seems to be whether to submit a preprint to the arxive or not? Commented May 16, 2023 at 13:16
  • Does your PhD giving institution allow for visitor status or similar ? Most places like having more publications, and if this is a case of "I meant to finish during my PhD, but I (or my supervisor) ran out of money before I could finish", they might be able to arrange something. (If this is unrelated to your PhD, probably less so.) Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 16:32

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My advice: Don't worry about it. The important thing is to show on the publication a way to contact you. Even if it is a personal GMAIL address. There could be many reasons (besides unemployment) for preferring such contact information.

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  • In my field of research, papers require mentioning the affiliation right under the name of the author. So it's not just the email address which tells the affiliation.
    – anon
    Commented May 16, 2023 at 11:53
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I do not think people will necessarily infer that you are unemployed just from seeing you listed as an unaffiliated researcher.

First of all, as a rough rule of thumb, people don't think much about others (close family and friends excepted), because they are busy sorting their own lives.

Secondly, if they thought about it, they would conclude that there are alternative hypotheses and that therefore they don't know. For instance, you might be employed outside your field but continue to write publications in your field on your own time and resources. In that case, your papers would still be submitted without affiliation, as your professional affiliation would be unrelated and irrelevant to your research.

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  • Thanks. Being employed outside academia would imply that I couldn't find a postdoc position in academia. Everyone who has known me professionally knows that I did not want to leave academia. So an implication that I am employed outside academia would also be embarrassing for me.
    – anon
    Commented May 16, 2023 at 13:45
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    Maybe the problem is a cultural and/or psychological one? People who don't get embarrassed about such things wouldn't see a problem here. I can't know how you could get over your embarrassment, but still I'd think that's the thing to look at. Commented May 16, 2023 at 14:05
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Getting a postdoc is far from "making it." A good portion of postocs are just glorified technician positions exploiting recent PhDs who have not given up on the dream. So being unaffiliated is nothing to be ashamed of. If anything, it shows determination. I know very few people who have published without institutional support, so I think this looks good on you.

Did you do all of the work for this manuscript while being unaffiliated? If you did a substantial portion of this work as a PhD student, at least in my field the custom is to use the affiliation of the PhD institution. If you did the work while not being affiliated, then good for you.

It used to be that people only used official email accounts (e.g. .edu) to submit papers, but it is now very common for corresponding authors to use gmail accounts. Nobody will think a thing about it.

On a psychological note: are the people you suspect will look down at you, are these people cutting you a check every week? If not, the hell with them. You gotta make a living, and there's no shame in that. So you keep putting postdoc applications out there, keep publishing, and you'll land your job.

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  • Not only ethical, but I think it's customary to list the affiliation of the place from where the bulk of the work was done.
    – Cheery
    Commented May 16, 2023 at 16:29
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You don't really have much choice, do you? To advance in your career you must publish. Being affiliated or not doesn't change that fact. An awful lot of PhD graduates are unemployed. When you're unemployed, you just have to keep making every possible effort to stay active in your research, writing, publishing, and job search. This is normal and not a reason for embarrassment. Getting your name in print is much better than being invisible!!

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The thought of senior researchers and faculty members in my field coming to know that I am unemployed once I submit a paper without an affiliation, is killing me. It will be very embarrassing and shameful for me.

There is no problem with senior researchers or faculty members knowing that you are unemployed.

It could even be positive. If they're impressed by your paper and have some funding available to hire a postdoc, they might contact you asking if you are looking for a job.

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