When May a Student Publish?

Document created by David Chesney on Dec 30, 2011
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A first-year Research Assistant has an idea for modifying his experiment which will better control for a variable.  He wishes to write a short paper about it for an upcoming conference, with citations for previous work by his group, but the idea is his.  His advisor is out of the country for several weeks; waiting for his return will result in missing the conference deadline. What should the student do?