Posted in High-impact journals, politics, Tips
The scientific community keeps on finding new ways to facilitate to judge scientists. The old-fashioned way of reading her papers, listening to her talks, interviewing her for more than an hour, reading recommendation letters, and consulting colleagues personally takes way too much time.
List of Output becoming a book
Given the quality and ease of use of writing and plotting software the number of papers a scientist coauthors is exploding. The ease at which old email messages can be searched and the ease at which files onpersonal computers can be indexed and searched, leads to very long lists of outputs attached to c.v.’s. Conference proceedings, talks given at institutes, lists of successful research proposals together with the long list of publications makes the c.v. unreadable.
The old-fashioned way of judging scientists has two drawbacks: (i) it takes time and (ii) the judgement is done by the community itself. Especially the latter is a nightmare for managers and grant officers, who needs the power to control to upgrade their own c.v. Many non-scientists can count, so the counting of output has become an art. Publications are counted and citations are counted and lumped in indices likes the h-index. Classifying a scientist by just one number, her h-index, makes life very simple for the control freaks who want to control the scientists.
More serious organizations have added a new way of classifying a scientist. The scientist is asked to report to a search committee or in a grant proposal the list of what she considers herself to be her best five publications. This requirements is a challenge for the scientist. What makes a publication a key publication. Here are some deliberations:
- Put in the list the publications you are most proud of.
- Put in the list the publications with the highest citation scores.
- Put in the list the publications with the most influential coauthors.
- Put in the list only your newest publications.
- Put in the list those publications that are most relevant for the proposal you are applying for.
- Put in the list only those publications where you are the last author.
- Put only papers there that have appeared in high-impact journals.
A number of these deliberations will lead to different lists. If you are a senior scientist and your most important papers are not of recent date your list will expose you as a scientist close to retirement. If you put only recent papers in your list, young committee members might not know that you are the author of a world-famous older paper.
The way I put together my five key publications is the following:
- Two very recent papers in high impact journals.
- Two papers I am proud of and have at least a reasonable citation score. No matter how old they are.
- One paper in a high-impact journal with an age between five and ten years.
- If your list is part of a collaborative proposal with colleagues also putting in their list of key publications there should be overlap, but not too much. So one shared publication with a co-applicant is advisory. Do not waste key publication space by different applicants listing the same publication.
I only list papers of which I am the last author.
Our readers and me are curious how you put together your list of key publications.