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> It is a qualification to conduct research... it is not about creating something cool/interesting and/or useful (particularly not the last one). It's about the journey not the product.

Yes. Yes, yes, yes. New PhD students should have this tattooed on their arms as part of the admissions process. I wasted an entire year trying to come up with a dissertation project because I didn't understand this fact.

I've described it as a research merit badge.

I won't tell you what I call it!

Ok, I will: Intellectual masturbation - It feels good at the time but is ultimately unproductive.

"Research union card" is my preferred description. It encompasses the necessity but scopes the applicability :)

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