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From the archive: I got published in Nature as a PhD student


How good fortune and determination combined to unlock a career goal for one young researcher

Sean Maxwell is now a postdoctoral fellow in ecology and conservation at the University of Queensland. His career got an unexpected boost back in 2016 when, still a PhD student, he picked up a lead author credit on a Nature comment piece.

As he explained shortly after the publication of his article, much of this achievement was thanks to good fortune, but, as becomes clear in this interview, some of it was thanks to the approach that Maxwell took. First of all, he and his co-authors aimed for maximum impact from the start, accepting their work would be modified to become “short and punchy”, but also still working to the usual standards of academic excellence—“getting the results right and thinking of the policy implications”, as Maxwell put it.

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