It's every graduate student's worst nightmare: You're working yourself to the bone in a top-tier lab and competing head-to-head with one or more labs sometimes on the very same data. You want to graduate, but to do so you have to publish unique, original work, which is clearly impossible if someone else gets there first. Plus, it's a long road. Can you afford to lose two years or more only to see your results published by someone else? It's not just a paper at stake, but your Ph.D. degree. This week's NatureJobs covers techniques to cope with the competitive pressures of academic research and what to do if you're scooped. Some good tips: Don't put all of your eggs in one basket. While you're working on a high-profile experiment with high scoop potential, work on one or more side projects that will lead to good, publishable work. Also, play to your strengths and use an "approach that no one else is using ... that will yield unexpected results instead of 'deliberately looking for the most obvious things'."
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