Friday, January 4, 2008

2007 done 2008 already begun

T'is the season for reflections on the past and plans for the future, here are some of both.

In 2007 I started this blog and posted in it 47 times. Its been the most positive new thing in my worklife this year by far and, in 2008, I intend to increase that number slightly but mainly I hope to improve the quality of the posts by reading more often before I write.

From a quick sample, it looks like about 25 email messages a day made it in through my spam filter and that I sent out around 10 - meaning I read more than 9,000 and sent more than 3000 in the year. In 2008 I'm hoping to slowly wean my way off the email habit by taking better advantage of iChat for short, personal communications and better advantage of my time in general by simply ignoring it for longer periods of time.

Academically speaking, it was a bit of a funny year. I had two overwhelmingly positive meetings with my thesis committee, in stark contrast to previous encounters with them, yet I had the least successful publishing year in quite a while. Which is worse, having your committee disapprove of your work or your reviewers?? Hopefully I will solve this personal conundrum this year by graduating..

I've never been a particularly quantitative person, so thats it for the numbers for the year.

all the best for 2008!


keet said...

Best wishes for 2008 to you too!

As for your question “Which is worse, having your committee disapprove of your work or your reviewers??”, I don’t know, because it also depends on the type of advisors you have. On the one hand, it is your committee that decides on your graduation, not the reviewers, and the former assess your progress in a broader context whereas the reviewers consider just a snapshot. On the other hand, if you have “lazy” advisors, then it is useful to have your articles accepted because then they don’t have to bother too much with reviewing your work as the international peer review has already done so.

Not scientifically examined and subjected to statistical analysis, but what I have noticed from graduated PhD-ers’ publication lists, is that good few have a lull in amount and/or quality of publications about 1-2 year before graduation. As hypothesis I can bring forward the following explanatory scenario: it is relatively easy at the start of the PhD programme to publish a few articles (say, one’s master’s thesis, ‘hitchhiking’/tagging along with your professor, initial promising results and the like), but that then the real substantial research progress has to be done, which consumes a lot of time but without the instant gratification. Then it’s pay-off time at the end, with a burst of articles to disseminate the novelty.
If this scenario is right, then that means you’ve been making good progress during the past year :)