“Publishing Strategy”

It is good to thinke about “publishing strategy” in relation to projects in your labbe, but it is dangerous to do this too soon.

For example, a commenter at Professor in Training’s blogge relates the following:

I worried that starting every one-on-one meeting talking about publishing strategy, even when the student barely has data for a Figure 1, would make me seem selfish. But I have gotten feedback that the students are really “getting” that papers are the only currency of science[.]

It may not seem selfish to this commenter’s students, but it is definitely foolish, and they don’t know any better. Trainees need room to breathe, room to explore, room to develop their own ideas. Hammering them with “publishing strategy” after just collecting some preliminary data not even sufficient for a single figure is ensuring that they will only see what is right in front of their faces, that will only be looking for what they already have surmised exists, and will look right past much more interesting cool and unexpected shitte that is not consistent with the “publishing strategy”.

What this commenter is doing may seem like a good idea in the short term, but in the long term it is going to force her and her trainees down a boring, derivative, low-impact road of incremental science that no one else gives a shitte about.


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