academics, as seen from vegreville. it can be cold here. and it is flat.

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What the hell have I been doing this (academic) year?

  • Manuscripts accepted: 2
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  • Revise and resubmits to do: 3
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Friday, December 30, 2005

Academic research: Objective or subjective?

It’s a stupid question—its both.

Getting papers into conferences, published, and cited means that other people are paying attention to your work. You need to have a good idea, the paper must well-written and clear, but most of all, other researchers need to find the work interesting. Interesting to me may not be interesting to you. Even the same idea, or even paper, will be viewed as interesting if written by a one author (with an impressive track record) and uninteresting if written by another. Or more precisely, people will take more effort to figure out a paper from some authors and less effort to figure out a paper from some other authors.

And there is lots of persistence. Once you are known as a ‘good person’ people will take your new output seriously. It only takes a few good papers to be known as a good person and a few bad papers to be known as a joker. Once you are known as a joker, then good luck. Because then no matter how good the work is, you are screwed. No one will take it seriously.

Finishing matters a lot. Once you submit your paper, it will come back. Joural rejection rates are high, so you will need to keep submitting to many journals. Taking advantage of the feedback you receive. But keep going—-don’t let the paper sit on your hard drive. Ideas depreciate. If the idea is good, other people will write the same paper and scoop you. If the idea isn’t good, its probably at least moving the frontier somehow. But the frontier may move away from your paper. Then you are fucked.

Once you get a revise and resubmit, do it. Do it quickly. Do what the referee says-why fight? You can always write another paper later once the current one is in print.

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