GLSI Blog » How to Thrive in a Publish or Perish Environment

How to Thrive in a Publish or Perish Environment

Joe B. Calkins Jr., M.D., specializes in echocardiography and electrocardiography. He’s the Editor in Chief of Global Library of Scientific Images.

When I speak to med students, residents and fellows, I always hear a common concern: In an academic world where publication credits are critical, how do I stand out? I’m honest with these students and early-career physicians: Building up a broad publication history takes time. There are countless behind-the-scenes hours spent on every project. But investing in your own publication output will help drive your medical education or career in the direction you want. 

Here are a few common questions I get from medical trainees and the advice and encouragement I try to share with them:

If I’m a premed student with good grades and good MCAT scores, am I still expected to have publication credits?

Most applicants to med school come in with good grades, good scores and letters of recommendation—all three are almost a given. But publications are something special. They’re a very visible demonstration of your scientific knowledge and interest in academic pursuits. 

However, because it’s unlikely you’ll participate in research or coauthor a paper in undergrad, you’ll probably need to purse alternative publication methods. Global Library of Scientific Images makes it possible to set yourself apart by sharing images in the Basic Sciences section of the site. In fact, it’s likely that classwork you’ve already done could easily be translated to a compelling set of images for the peer-reviewed database. Remember, you’re not out to present new scientific data. You’re instead making your debut in the medical community by demonstrating and sharing your scientific knowledge to other students and teachers at all levels.

I’m a med student applying to residency. What is a residency program director looking for?

Stronger applicants to competitive residency programs have to show an interest and some expertise in their chosen field of medicine. The residency director wants to see visible proof of this. Global Library of Scientific Images offers you a way to show your knowledge and interest with focused publications—ones that don’t require a huge amount of time, resources or the type of research opportunities you haven’t yet experienced in med school. 

As I’m nearing the end of my residency and applying to fellowships, I’d like to better understand what fellowship directors are hoping to see in my publication history.

As medical trainees progress from premed students to med students to residents, more and more is expected of you—and of your publications. Journals are the gold standard for demonstrating your expertise, but they also require a lot of you. After a manuscript is completed, it can take months to get through the review process, moving on to acceptance, provisional acceptance or rejection.

Global Library of Scientific Images is a quick, more straightforward way to exhibit your knowledge in a visible way. As a resident, you probably regularly encounter an image where additional clinical information isn’t available. Global Library of Scientific Images accepts images like this, ones that would be tough to publish elsewhere, but provide immense value to the larger medical community. Global Library of Scientific Images is also a great place to publish more extensive projects. For example, instead of submitting a single image, you could submit a series of views that demonstrate your knowledge of a condition or an imaging modality.

What’s your best advice for medical trainees?

No matter what your level of study, try to get published. As you complete more research, start submitting large-scale projects to journals—focusing on case reports, case series and reviews. Traditional journals are extremely selective. Newer online journals are available and competitive.

However, when you do get published in a journal, it’s still important to pursue publication in alternative locations. Global Library of Scientific Images can help broaden your exposure. It’s an easily accessible demonstration of your expertise, allowing viewers to quickly pull up your entire portfolio. It also allows you to demonstrate much broader knowledge than one publication would. It’s fast, streamlined and focused—overall, a great complement to the existing publication options that are already out there. 

If you have questions about the registration process or anything else regarding how the site operates, please contact us.