Publish or perish

In science, they have a saying, “Publish or perish”. Basically, you need to publish papers on your research regularly, otherwise no one will think you’re worth anything, your career will die a horrible death, and hungry lions will eat you alive. The number of first (or last) author publications you have can factor into everything, from grant applications, to post-doc positions, to job applications, even to internal reviews. A lot of people dislike the emphasis placed on this cold tangible because it is usually at the expense of important intangibles like personality (crap, what do you do when you don’t have either?). A person might be productive on paper, but does he or she know how to connect with people, form meaningful collaborations, or motivate others? But despite a growing disillusionment with the publication measuring stick, it is still the status quo, and as I find myself farther along in my PhD, it is becoming more and more relevant to me.

About two years ago, I started writing a paper about my research. Last August, I finally submitted it. One revision, one reformatting, one data uploading, multiple website debuggings, and one hefty payment (not by me, fortunately) later, it is now published, with the caveat that this is just the “provisional” PDF and they haven’t formatted it for print or HTML yet. If you want to read something it, have at it! Most importantly, after three and a half years doing who knows what, I can finally add something to my resume.


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