Monday, January 25, 2016

Some rules for the modern scientist

If you don't make your papers publicly available on your webpage, you don't want people to read them. Making them available means providing a link to a downloadable version in pdf format, preferably hosted on your own web site. You cannot blame anyone for not reading and citing your work if it cannot very easily be found online without a paywall. All respectable academic publishers allow self-archiving of publications these days; if they don't allow it, they are not respectable.

If you don't have a Google Scholar profile, you don't want to be hired. Like it or not, citation counts and h-index are among the least bad metrics for evaluating researchers. And like it or not, metrics are necessary because people on hiring committees do not really have the time to read your papers on detail, nor do they typically have the necessary context to understand their significance.

If you never try to describe your research in more popular terms than an academic paper, you don't want anyone outside your field to know about what you are doing. All academic fields are full of jargon which acts as an effective deterrent to non-specialists understanding your work. Every so often, try to give a public lecture, write a blog post or record a video that explains your work so that ordinary people would understand it. Skip the jargon. Your target audience could be your high school friends who became hair dressers or car mechanics, or why not your parents. Don't forget to ask someone from your target audience if they understood what you wrote or talked about. You will learn a lot.

If you don't network with your research colleagues on Facebook and/or Twitter, you don't really care about keeping up to date with what happens in your research community. Conferences happen only a few times per year, and research happens faster than that. Mailing lists are mainly used for calls for papers. Your peers will talk about events, papers, ideas, results online. To stay relevant, you need to keep up to date on what's happening. If you desperately want to keep your private life online separate from your professional life, create alternate social network accounts for professional networking. But really, if you are passionate about your research, why would you want to keep it separate from your private life?

1 comment:

Moshe Sipper said...

Nice... This might help too ;-)

Explaining Editorial Decisions Regarding Scientific Paper Submissions: