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I have multiple questions regarding talks and poster presentations. I am in my second year of PhD (computational biology) and have not yet published any paper. Keeping my background in mind do answer my question if possible:

My question is: Is it okay to give poster/talk of your unpublished work? Is there any risk of leakage of research idea via this?

(Leakage in the sense that I do a work and someone probably was thinking in the same line, now gets the idea from my work and works fast enough to publish it before me)

1 Answer 1

If you show a poster or give a talk on unpublished work, there is always a risk of your ideas being poached. There is also the possible benefit of someone contributing questions/ideas that can enhance your research.

To mitigate the risk, if your research is ready to be shown in a paper/talk, maybe you should be able to post a preprint so that your authorship is established. Your supervisor should be able to clarify what the ethos of your research area is about this.

There is still some risk, though. I know a mathematician who posted very good results on the arxiv. At the same time, he submitted the article to a good journal. The article took about a year to referee, and came with a rejection (not because of anything wrong but because of the high standards of the journal). Meanwhile, during that year, a pair of mathematicians read his preprint, improved on his results, and got this generalization published (acknowledging the original contribution from the arxiv). So this guy ends up with his best paper unpublished and unpublishable. Needless to say that after this experience, he was very wary of preprints. But this is an exception, and most mathematicians post in the arxiv all the time without major issues.