I'm currently in the first year of my PhD. Some time ago I published a paper at a very small, accessible venue because I was required to do so by my advisor. It was my first publication, and I wasn't even involved in the PhD program back then. It was rushed (I did it all in a week or two) and I knew nothing about the field. Now I know that the paper is totally worthless. With what I learned over this period, I know that some basic knowledge and a reasonable amount of effort are enough to do something way better.
The problem is that now my advisor wants to submit pretty much the same thing to a journal, in order to meet academic requirements. I insisted that it was worthless, and that I could do something much better, but she just wanted to get something done with minimal effort. If I had other ideas we could publish, then that means we could have even more publications.
My worries are related to both the effect this could have on my record and ethics, of course. I was not too happy with the first publication when I realized that it was worthless, but I guess that anyone would understand the poor quality of an unimportant paper by a master's student, especially if it's the odd one out in the list (which I hope it will eventually become). Now, however, I'm starting to have contacts with other researchers in the field, and I'm worried that more publications of this nature in my CV might stain my reputation among them, since there are almost no other publications to judge my abilities from. I also worry that this could have an impact on my chances when I try to apply for a postdoc position further down the line, even if I manage to publish a couple of good things by the time I finish my thesis. Also, while I understand that institutions put strong requirements on their researchers and sometimes one has to publish not-so-great work in order to keep going, I think that is completely different from publishing something you know to be worthless sh*t. I've also suggested removing my name from the list of authors to no avail.
My advisor has NO knowledge of the field. She basically caught wind that it is a hot one and assembled a team of grads and undergrads in the hope that they would start producing publications pretty much right away. Of course, it took me about a year and a half of really, really hard work almost completely on my own to start feeling slightly confident about my (still very limited) knowledge, and to come up with something that I consider worthy of publication in a reputable venue. I would like to concentrate on these findings, but I'm required to devote effort to those questionable publications instead (as well as other duties that I don't want to discuss here). Sometimes I get the feeling that I'll complete my thesis in spite of my advisor, rather than thanks to her.
So my questions are the following:
How likely are these publications to mar my reputation/CV in the future? Will people just understand that everyone has had to undergo a similar situation some time in the past and disregard them in favor of better publications? Does everyone have a couple of stains in their record?
Is this common in academia? Are PhD students often pressured to publish no matter what just so that the advisor or the group can score one? How strongly should I consider searching for a position elsewhere? The main reason I'm staying is because I'm financially comfortable here, and I now feel that I am making a lot of progress by myself and I'll be able to complete the program with a decent contribution, even though I have little scientific support. Also, moving elsewhere would be a considerable personal sacrifice, so if I take the step it must be totally worth it. I know I could perhaps learn more with a knowledgeable advisor, but I'm positive I'll learn a lot on my own anyway (perhaps with occasional inputs from other professors from my institution who are active in the field), so it's not like I'm wasting my time completely.
About my worries for my reputation, it's not that I want to become a celebrity or that I'm planning to make a breakthrough in the field. It's just that I devote a lot of effort to becoming competent in the field and I am very thorough in making sure that the work I do is proper, so I would like at least to be recognized for this by my peers.