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Someone beat me to publishing

Main Question or Discussion Point

what do you do if you have unpublished results for certain properties of a certain material, and then

(1) Someone else publishes results for exactly the same thing,
(2) they are slightly different from yours,
(3) the results form part of your PhD thesis?
 

Answers and Replies

ZapperZ
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Then try to get your published, citing the paper that was published ahead of yours, and point out the discrepancy of your results with that paper. You should also offer an explanation on why they differ, and maybe your result might be more valid.

The results being part of your Ph.D thesis has no bearing on publication issues.

Zz.
 
ah thank you!
 
mjsd
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this sort of thing happens all the time. I remember one of our grads here discovered half way through his first project that some group at Fermilab/MPI was doing the same thing (and was ready to publish). That also came as a surprise to his advisor. He ended up changing/modifying his project.
 
yeah, so now I must crack my head to see if there's a different angle.

I'm doing calculations, so i should try to see if I can reproduce the results of the other paper by using their inputs.
 
mjsd
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there should always be some kind of "extension" to the current work that you may explore. if worse come to worst, just treat it as a learning experience. if you can show evidence of your own work, there is nothing wrong in including that work into you thesis
 
yup yup, thank you!
 
f95toli
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This happens all the time and sometimes it is even a good thing:wink:
Maybe not for the people doing the work (you in this case) but for science in general. If their results are slightly different from yours, but you are as sure you can be that yours are corrent, then I't say go ahead and publish.
Asumming the other group published their results very recently the no referee will stop you from publishing even in an "good" journal it they think the results are interesting. It is only when you try to publish something that is "well established" that you are in trouble.

In experimental physics this is just how things work and is why you sometimes see two papers with almost identical results getting published in the samme issue of e.g. Nature or Science; if the results are "controversial" it might even help if another group have reached similar results.
 
ZapperZ
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Actually, having different results is OK. I often get papers to referee that contradict previous results. If the result is legitimate, then these papers are often published. The authors usually will highlight the discrepancies with previous results. If they don't, I will insist that they do, because this is important to the community to evaluate and to know that there are contradictory results.

While it is very convincing that there are different groups publishing the same result and conclusion at the same time, I find it to be more interesting if there are different results and conclusion on the same thing. :)

Zz.
 
hehe icic ... oh well, wish it happened some other time ... now i have to spend my easter weekend thinking about the matter ...
 

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