Top 10 mistakes made by young researchers

Today, I will discuss 10 mistakes that some researchers do in their early career.

mistakes by researchers

1. Not building social relationships with other researchers. Although one can do research by himself, there are many advantages to collaborating with others such as: getting the feedback of others, writing more articles, learning from others, creating more opportunities such as being invited to participate in committees, and even getting help to find a job. Thus, it is important to build connections with others, for example, by attending conferences. For the young researchers, it is also important to work in a good team with a good supervisor.

2. Publishing in inappropriate conferences and journals. Publications in weak conferences and journals will reduce the potential impact that a paper can have. When evaluating a CV for a job position, weak publications may even not be considered or considered as even detrimental. To ensure a maximum impact, a researchers should publish not only in good journals ad conferences but also in those related to his field.

3. Focusing on quantity rather than quality. Some researchers will focus too much on quantity. Although quantity is somewhat important, having a paper in a top conference or journal is often worth more than having many papers in weak conferences and journals. Ideally, a researcher should have some excellent publications to prove his research ability and also have stable research output. To improve quality, a researcher should not be too much in a hurry to publish papers and should spend time to develop his ideas well.

4. Having unethical behavior. In research, a researcher’s name is his brand. Any unethical behavior is unacceptable and can also irreversibly damage the career of a researcher. A researcher should never have unethical behavior such as producing fake results, plagiarizing other papers and inaccurately describing experiments.

5. Not having a website. It is not difficult for a researcher to create a simple website with links to his papers, and information about his projects but many people don’t do it. Having a website increase research visibility. Besides, one can also provides codes and data to replicate experiments. This can also increase research impact.

6. Not working on topics that can have an impact. Many topics are good but some can have a greater impact than others. Researchers working on very narrow topics with few applications will typically be less cited than topics that can have more applications. Hence, choosing research topics is important.

7. Not working on developing writing and presentation skills. Those skills are essential for a successful researcher. Time spent to improve these skills is never wasted.

8. Not working hard enough. Learning to become a researcher requires to spend thousands of hours as numerous skills must be mastered such as identifying problems, developing original solutions, writing and presenting, as well as getting familiar with existing work. Thus, working hard and being organized is a common feature of top researchers. But although working hard is important, staying healthy is also.

9. Not staying up-to-date with research. This is problem for many researchers in academia. After starting to work in a professor position, one may become too busy or lazy and not keep up with new research. This may lead to difficulty in identifying good research problems and inability to write good papers.

10. Not having a clear career goal or plan to achieve it. Having a clear goal allows to think about the best ways to attain the goal, and to set some subgoals. Having a plan allows to be more efficient to reach a goal.

That is all for today. Hope you have enjoyed reading.

Philippe Fournier-Viger is a professor of Computer Science and also the founder of the open-source data mining software SPMF, offering more than 145 data mining algorithms.

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