In scientific research, the speed of new results is high so that not only one needs to obtain interesting new results but also make them public before some one else published them. As a PhD student, I also witnessed this problem when a couple of research questions I answered (but did not publish) were published by some one else within a few months. This raises questions as how to keep up with the latest research, which problems to try solving and how to publish before some one else? Although, these are questions which more experienced researchers would answer better but the following are some observations:
- If one chooses a unique problem or uses a novel technique to solve a problem, there is less chance of big research teams working on it. This can also have a downside: if not enough people are working on it, it may mean that it is not as important
- Keep track of the latest journals publications so that one can work on recently posed problems or improve recent work.
- Journals can take longer to publish so it is useful to lookout for new papers in established conferences for latest developments.
- Certain researchers submit their working papers as archived reports much before they publish them. It is worth exploring such archives and getting notified about recent submissions.
- Even archive submissions may involve work done many months before the actual submission. It is worth talking to relevant people in the field in meetings/workshops/conferences.
- If one knows that certain researchers are working on a similar topic, there it may be helpful to exchange updates or even join forces.