SDB e-news

  SPRING 2015

   Society for Developmental Biology

Back to Spring 2015

SDB e-news Home

Publish Early—An Invitation for Graduate Students

By Richard R. Behringer

Congratulations! You have finished your first year rotations and joined a lab to pursue research on an exciting topic in developmental biology. Perhaps you are in the process of doing a literature review for your thesis. Are you stumped when looking for a sufficient review in your research area? Are you working on a topic in which core emerging themes have yet to be coalesced? Are there historical data that would shed light on new ideas? As a graduate student, this might be the perfect opportunity for you to write that great review article.

There are multiple reasons why this will benefit you and others. First, this provides an opportunity early in your thesis research to learn the primary literature. Second, you will obtain great experience writing, submitting, revising, and publishing a peer-reviewed scientific manuscript. It also gives you an opportunity to interact actively with your thesis advisor. Third, it is a first author publication on your CV. This will benefit you when applying for fellowships or subsequent positions. Finally, a well-written and clear review of the literature benefits the journal that publishes the paper and the readers interested in the topic.

Which journal should you consider writing a review for? Developmental Biology, of course! Marianne Bronner, the Editor-in-Chief of Developmental Biology, would be very interested in receiving outstanding reviews from you on any topic in developmental biology.

If writing a review is of interest to you, great! Before putting pen to paper though, two hurdles must be overcome. First, have a conversation with your graduate advisor. He or she may have a very different opinion on where your time should be spent as their trainee. If given the green light by your advisor, move on to step two. Send a presubmission inquiry to a Developmental Biology editor to determine whether there is interest in your topic. The editor can also give good advice about refining your topic. If the journal editors give you the green light to proceed, congratulations! You are on your way to providing a great resource for the developmental biology research community.