During my undergrad (past 3 years) I worked in a niche ecology lab and during the time generated some data. The work I did was not exactly groundbreaking but I think it was solid publishable work and could find a home in a decent journal.

My PI is encouraging me to write up my work and submit it for publication in the next few months but I have just started graduate school and am working in an entirely different field (Biophysics with a sprinkle of cell biology).

Considering that I expect writing up the work for publication will be a significant undertaking (seeing how it would be my first time writing a paper for publication), and the disparity between the subject of the paper and my current/future research, would it be worth the time commitment to follow my PIs advice and write the paper? Would there be any real benefit for my career in a different field if this work does get published?

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    At the beginning of a career, a paper is better than no paper at all, even if in a different field, and the experience that you can gain by writing this will become quite useful when writing your future papers. Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 18:21

3 Answers 3


The experience of having gone the whole way through the publication process is very valuable and will benefit you when you start writing up your new research. In the long run (say by the time you'd be applying for tenure-track jobs) having a publication in another field won't help your CV much because people are looking at your research program. But in the medium-term if you apply for postdocs you may not have many (or any) actual publications (given the time it takes to write-up and submit research) and it's going to make you look better because it shows to potential supervisors that you're responsible and capable of completing a project.

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    You beat me to essentially the same answer - so I'll just up-vote yours. My earliest publication is in a different field which is rarely cited, but it was good experience to go through the publishing process.
    – Nathan S.
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 18:13
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    I guess it would be good to have the experience. Thanks for your advice! Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 18:18
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    As a side note, I'd also add: you did some research, why would you hold it back from the research community instead of going the last few steps?... There's hopefully some emotional benefit to you in contributing to the science corpus, even if it may only be a tiny piece this time. Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 9:22

Yes. Future employers in general like a longer publication record. (You also may end up working in another field or fields from that of your degree.) It also helps to go through the publication process.


I presume you can use the experience you get from creating the publication in your current job. The data may be totally different but the process will be almost the same.

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