01 January 2015

2014: fruitful and frustrating in equal measure

I worried that I would never had a professional year as productive as 2011. I had six papers that year. I'm super pleased I matched my 2011 record this year, with six papers out again, four of which were data-driven papers.

The year started crazy, with the parasite symposium I co-organized with Kelly Weinersmith being a big success at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology meeting. What I thought would result in one paper turned into three. And a few other manuscripts deadlines on top of those meant that I had my door closed a lot of the first part of the year.

I had two papers that, according to their altmetric scores, were more widely seen and discussed (post-publication peer review and crowdfunding) than anything I've ever written.

But I was also frustrated. For one, I could have broken that 2011 record by a couple of papers.

One paper, whose publication seemed to occur in geological time, came out this year... but it has a 2013 publication date on the article, because it was supposed to come out at the end of last year. So it doesn't add to annual tally in my CV.

Then, I had a paper that could have been out in November. But it didn't make it out because my institution couldn't pay the publication fees on time. It's now scheduled for March.

My frustration was compounded by my apparently inability to get manuscripts off my desk and into the hands of editors in the latter part of the year. In this quiet week between Christmas and New Year's, I made good progress on revising one long-suffering manuscript. Now if I just can get a couple of other manuscripts started, which have data in the can and ready to write up... maybe I'll start feeling more productive.

Personally, it was a year of many unbloggable changes.

I am hoping that a habit of a productive person is to think about not just what you have done, but what you could have done better. And there was a lot I could have done better.

The big news on the horizon for 2015 for me is easy to pick. My current institution, The University of Texas-Pan American, is abolished and we will see the start of University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. I expect all manner of craziness to ensue as part of the creation of the new university. We have less than a year to go, and there are huge amounts of things that haven't even been close to being decided.

Related posts

All downhill from here?
In the hands of editors now

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