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I am a PhD student and I am doing a literature review for my dissertation. Despite the fact that I am working on the topic, I am not an expert; but I have enough information because of my previous research during MSc and have a published paper in my CV.

I submitted an abstract of the review paper for oral presentation in the most important conference about the topic and it was accepted. The review is about the developments and contributions from researches in some countries. Then, I told my advisor and he suggested me not to submit the final paper because he thinks that kind of review paper must be done by experts, not by PhD students (it would seem such as teaching to experts); further he thinks I will spend a lot of time which should be spent on my PhD dissertation. I really want to present the review; however, I do not want to contradict my advisor.

Do you think it is convenient to present the paper?

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    "I really want to present the review" Your advisor told you why it might not be a good idea to present the review at your career stage. I find his reasoning rather convincing: note in particular that he is not bossing you around, but looking out for your interests and explaining why. What is your reasoning for wanting to do it? – Pete L. Clark Jul 3 '14 at 3:56
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    @xLeitix: I don't know how things are done with these sorts of conferences, but it's not at all clear to me that "the advisor agreed to hand in the proposal for the presentation". From what the OP wrote it sounds to me like the OP initially submitted the abstract without the advisor's knowledge. – Mark Meckes Jul 3 '14 at 8:36
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    I am of the opinion that even young researchers can have something to contribute in a review form. After all, the more senior folks rarely read all the recent papers in the detail someone new might, and more often than not, the devil is in the details. From how it was put in the question, it sounded like the main objection the advisor has is your age. You should find out if this was just a nice way of saying that he believes that it is in fact the content of your paper that is lacking. – alarge Jul 3 '14 at 11:13
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    Your supervisor is right in saying that review papers should be written by experts, not PhD students. Review papers are often read by other PhD students who often uncritically assume they are authoritative and reliable, which is unlikely to be the case if written by a PhD student (who will not have the experience to correctly judge the value of different approaches). PhD students need to produce a review of the area in which they work for their thesis, but this is to show that they have acquainted themselves with existing work, it doesn't mean they are in a position to evaluate it, ... yet. – Dikran Marsupial Jul 4 '14 at 12:44
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    Actually, the weirdest thing to me is that a literature review for a PhD thesis would be even considered for a talk. Are you really going to stand up in front of the experienced folks in your field and critique the state of the field? This could either quickly make you a superstar, or, much more likely, make it obvious to many that you don't know as much as you think you do. Remember - those folks are likely to be involved with hiring you as a post-doc or staff scientist in a few years... – Jon Custer Jan 7 '16 at 17:54
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What is the contribution of your paper going to be? It's a review paper, so you're not going to be contributing any new techniques or results. You say you're not an expert so you're not likely to make any deep connections between different areas of the field or between your field and other areas of study or present any great insights about why things are the way they are, where the field has come from, how it got where it is and where it's going to go next. So what is the contribution?

The usual deal with a conference talk is that you stand up and tell people about your work. They want to listen because they don't know about what you did and you understand it better than they do. What you're proposing is that you stand up and tell them about their work. They already know what they did and you're not an expert on it, so they (at least, some of them) understand it better than you. Why do they want to listen?

Your main motivation seems to be to score "CV points" by presenting at the conference. That could easily be nullified by giving yourself a reputation for not doing research and giving superficial talks with nothing much new in them.

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    "Your main motivation seems to be to score 'CV points' by presenting at the conference." Maybe. I would really like to know the OP's motivation: I asked about this shortly after he asked the question. I am a bit disappointed that he has already accepted an answer without responding to this question. – Pete L. Clark Jul 3 '14 at 21:18
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There are two points that can be considered on your question.

  • You work under supervision of your advisor and he is, to some extent, responsible for your progress at this stage of your academic life. If he thinks that the review paper should not be sent by you, it means that based on his assessments, you are not prepared enough for submitting a review paper.

    Moreover, it is normal that a PhD student think that he knows many things about his field of research; but his advisor has done many more researches and advised many more students and I think that his assessment about your knowledge is far more precise than your assessment about yourself.

    As an example, the PhD student is like a driver in a car and the professor is like someone in a helicopter, you have driven far distance in your car and feel like you are far away from the other drivers. But the one in the helicopter sees the way, you and other drivers better from the top and he knows that you are still in the middle of the way, not more progressed than the others.

  • As a comment on the type of your paper, you are trying to write a review paper which I also think, as your professor had mentioned, is normal to be published by some experts in the field. I mean the ones who have worked years in industry, or the professors who have released many publications and supervised few research students. I think that review papers should be written and presented by a more aged person than a research student.

    Imagine the conference that people aging fifty and sixty are sitting in audience and a 26 or 27 years old PhD student goes and reviews the topic for those experts. I am not saying that the PhD candidate does not know anything about his field of research; but he needs some more years of research and work to become an expert in his research area. It is a little odd to see a PhD student publish a review paper, as he is not an expert in his field.

But a PhD student may participate in a review paper which is going to be published in a journal or presented by a professor. But still there needs an expert or a professor to be the main presenter and contributer of the publication.

However, the situation may be a little different from one major to another; and from a research group to another. I think that your supervisor is the best guide for you.

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    not all phd students are 26 or 27, some could have worked in the industry for years to later enter into a phd program – user-2147482637 Jul 3 '14 at 9:22
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    I talked as general, and you are right. Some of them come from industry and are older than that norm. – enthu Jul 3 '14 at 9:27
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    @user1938107 Or far younger than 26 or 27. – Austin Henley Jul 3 '14 at 20:43
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    @Parsa: In the US it is very common to begin a PhD program without a master's degree. I spent (nearly) five years in a PhD program and received the degree at the age of 26. For Americans in STEM fields, this is quite common. – Pete L. Clark Jul 3 '14 at 21:15
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    "Imagine the conference that people aging fifty and sixty are sitting in audience and a 26 or 27 years old PhD student goes and reviews the topic for those experts" I'd think "They clearly have more time to read the literature than I do." – Fomite Jan 7 '16 at 19:08
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Addressing a few points in your question individually:

The review is about the developments and contributions from researches in some countries. Then, I told my advisor and he suggested me not to submit the final paper because he thinks that kind of review paper must be done by experts, not by PhD students (it would seem such as teaching to experts)

I strongly disagree with your advisor. Non-systematic reviews are often done by senior people because the papers can get a bit opinionated, touching on what needs to be done, the quality of evidence, etc. in a subjective way, and it's nice to have that come from an authority figure, someone whose seen the field develop, has a broader view, etc.

But that's not to say that all review papers are like that, or that you're not an expert. My most cited, and one of my best received papers, is a review I wrote as an undergrad.

Additionally, unless your abstract was incredibly obfuscated, it's been accepted - which means the reviewers and conference organizers thought it was worth doing. It seems like the relevant determination as to whether or not this abstract "belongs" has already been made.

further he thinks I will spend a lot of time which should be spent on my PhD dissertation.

This is a more valid concern, imo, and you should work hard on making sure that this doesn't obstruct your PhD research. Ideally, lengthy review paper would be about the topic of your PhD, and thus do double duty.

I really want to present the review; however, I do not want to contradict my advisor.

This is a decision you have to make - how much do you want to present the review, how much you're willing to risk irritating your advisor, who is paying for you to go, etc.

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