Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Work, finish, publish

As promised in my previous post, here are a few priceless
thoughts on publishing. Publishing as a process of
creativity, summary of work done, expression of results
obtained and as a method of accounting to the public
why research should be supported. This is not about
writing a large number of papers. I remember the late
K. V. L. Sarma of TIFR, one of my early teachers
at a summer school in 1985 first quoting Michael Faraday,
who said of research (?) 'work, finish, publish'. I don't know the
precise reason for his saying this, but I guess what he meant is that
if one does not publish the results obtained in some
research project, it sort of follows you around. Publishing
is probably the final denouement in our
trade, of a job well-done (?). Don't get me wrong: this
is not about serializing results, and reporting work
piecewise to pad up the list of publications, or to inflate
it. Today, they say that there are many checks and
metrics that will take care of this kind of activity.
I recently read somewhere about this famous biologist,
Nobelist in medicine, who did not bother much about
where his papers were published, if at all. He would
often publish in obscure journals or his work would
be circulating as faded mimeographed preprints. But
this is for the great guys, not for mere mortals. It is
important that one is able to publish sufficiently good
work in sufficiently prestigious journals. Don't get me
wrong: this is not about worshipping impact factors
and H-indices, but you know what I am saying. And
finally, about publishing in Research News section of
Current Science and Resonance. I think
we owe it to the general public to explain what the
important milestones in our field are. I make my own
humble efforts to carry out this mission.


Arunn said...

Your intention to "owe it to the general public to explain what the
important milestones in our field are" is commendable.

I harbour similar sentiments, from the time when I started my Ph. D. some years back. In fact, one of my reasons to blog is to do this public palatable disemination of my research and related issues.

And I do write to Resonance and Physics Education...;)

Anant said...

Dear Arunn,

Thanks for your comment.

Keep up the great work.


The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

came here from Abi's blog. very nice post. One of my professors also says that "publishing is the final experiment".

and that's a good point about writing "public" science articles. i am starting to do some myself..but never send it anywhere (Except to my parents ;) )

Anant said...

If you have put in enough hard work, you must
send it out. Have confidence in what you do.