The only true measure of one’s scientific output is for it to be published. Publish or perish – it is so very true. As doctoral students we were pressured to publish in order to graduate. After we graduated, guess what, we are pressured all the more to publish because that’s what we are supposed to do. Got a paper published? Great, now work on another one. It’s a vicious cycle. The goal is to publish for the sake of publishing. If your work is not peer-reviewed and published in an international journal, it goes to waste. No easy way about it.
How many papers does it take to establish a career? How much of an impact factor is necessary to make a dent on the churning machinery of science? I know people who have published more than 100 papers ever since they started, nevertheless when their names are mentioned to other people, they respond, “Huh? Who?” Quality over quantity, ladies and gentlemen. Do a Bednorz-Muller or a Paul Chu, and your name will be remembered forever. An alternative is to be an adviser to a large group of students, and be a co-author in all of their papers. I personally know of a professor who had so many papers (about 500+), authored and co-authored combined, such that in order to simplify his resume, he only had to mention the number of articles published for a particular journal.
For those of us who have barely started (yes, 7 years in this treadmill is not long), we publish to stay afloat. Who know, maybe one of these days we can hit the jackpot and publish groundbreaking papers that will change the world as we know it. All it takes is one grand idea.
Oh, by the way, here’s a forthcoming article that may interest you. Online publication will be this month, hopefully. I don’t know when the printed edition will come out.
Another one down, just 1000 more to go. 😀