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Rushing publications

Karen Allendoerfer ravena at cco.caltech.edu
Sun Jul 14 21:30:19 EST 1996

In article <31E50B14.1C4B at unity.ncsu.edu>, Susan Jane Hogarth
<sjhogart at unity.ncsu.edu> wrote:


> But that's not the problem. Part of my thesis work is looking like it
> will be an analysis/description of the genome of my subject organism.
> This, of course, entails several different types of analyses -
> microscopic, biochemical, etc. One of my committee members (who is
> almost a co-advisor since he works in the same lab and gives me lots of
> training and advice) keeps talking about "several papers" from this
> work. I feel that all of the analyses together would make one nice,
> meaty paper, which would be a nice resource for others in the field. 


I like your impulse, to make one nice, meaty paper out of your work.  I
know one very successful scientist who does things this way.  The first
paper I ever read of hers (which comprised most of her dissertation work)
had 22 figures!  I've heard the comment from others in the field about her
work that "she doesn't publish much, but her papers are always of high
quality."  She's doing extremely well, her lab is well-funded and she's
won some awards.  So, it can be done.

But, that being said, I don't know too many people who do it that way. 
You'd be bucking a pretty large trend of getting out the "least
publishable unit."  I personally don't like the whole idea of the "least
publishable unit."  I agree with your point below:

> I can't help thinking of all my trips to the library to get some 2 page
> paper, only to have to go back the next day to get the _next_
> installment from the same lab... 

It's possible that when the work is finished you might find that it does
indeed merit "several papers."  I've had that happen to me where I thought
I was going to put several points into a single paper, and when it came
down to proving just the first point, it turned out I needed an entire
paper to show all the controls and to be convincing (and I'm still working
on doing the same for the second point).  Sometimes the nature and logic
of the work itself points the way to how it should be published.


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