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- What does first authorship really mean? 16 answers
From August 2015 through August 2016 I was on a Nuclear/Radiation Physics based work placement in a scientific research institute, between my second and third years of my university Maths degree. I am now back at university, half way through my third year.
About half way through my work placement (which I thoroughly enjoyed), my supervisor suggested that the work I was doing could be considered publishable. Being an undergraduate this was (and is) obviously a very exciting prospect. It turned out that we did decide to write a paper, and my supervisor said to be that I would get to be the first author. I don't understand much, but I'm under the impression that's something to be excited about too.
I finished with all the analysis and wrote a draft of the paper. It was then time for me to leave my placement and my (now ex-)supervisor are still in correspondence, whilst he finalizes the paper. There have been various (unrelated) issues which have held him back from spending time on it - but he suspects (as it stands) that he will possibly finish it and submit it to a journal by the end of February. He's basically completely reformatting a lot of the paper, and probably rewriting a whole bunch of it, because being an undergraduate I have no idea how to write a paper. Of course this means that if I do turn out to be first author, my supervisor has probably been very generous.
Long story short - if things go well and the paper is accepted in whichever journal, is this a big deal or nothing to be so bothered about? I ask basically to figure out where this ranks in terms of putting it on a C.V. (or something). Is this something to simply add on as an achievement, or something to really highlight?
I understand my question is really rather ambiguous. Essentially I'm really not sure what to expect under the circumstances that the paper is published - if anything.