03 January 2019

When side projects take over

It's probably fair to say that for the last few years in the science community, the thing I’m best known for is the poster blog.

I was on my Google Scholar page a few days ago, and noticed I had a new “most cited” paper: a paper I co-authored on science crowdfunding from the #SciFund days.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with both of those projects and I’m glad they’re successful. But I don't think they are representative of my professional work on brains and crustaceans. And that is a little frustrating.

I suppose that this shouldn’t be a surprise to me. As I tell people, a key part of learning to be an academic is figuring out what you don’t suck at. I realized back in grad school or my post-doc days that other people were much more skilled in the lab than I was. I’m okay in the lab, but I felt writing and communication was where I didn’t suck.

So I had a sense for a while that maybe the place I would make the biggest impact was never going to be at the bench, churning out data, or getting students to churn out data. It’s nice to have that suspicion confirmed. I actually kind of suspected I might get more involved in the editorial side of science, but that hasn’t happened, either.

The papers that I think have the most potential to advance knowledge are a pair of crustacean nociception papers. I wish a lot more people referred to the second paper when the discussion about “Does it hurt lobsters when they go into the pot?” question when it makes the round every eight to ten months or so. Because that’s still the only paper that’s really tested the issue of whether high temperatures are noxious. I don’t think that paper gets as much attention as it should.

So if you would like to make me happy, please have a look at that paper.

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