I had call to deliver a short speech on my emerging academic #reputation development Plan at Cranfield Speakers Club (Toastmasters International) as part of an Advanced Technical Presentation speech. The link and excerpt to that is below. However, I want to spend a little more time thinking about the key graphics and some I didn’t have time to use.
Your reputation precedes you. That means that you can walk into any room full of people that you have never met and be greeted with universal sigh of “oooohhhh”. Your reputation preceded you.
Let me tell you another anecdote of two business men setting up a business together. The older man was there to provide the capital and the younger one, with his MBA, to provide the management. When the agreements were signed and the older man handed over a very large cheque he took the younger man to one side and said:
The risks are greater for you. If this business succeeds you will get ALL of the credit and if it fails you will still get ALL of the credit for that. If it fails I will lose my capital, but I will survive and I can replace it. If it fails you will lose your reputation and you will find it hard to replace that.
Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters and most welcome visiting Toastmasters I am going to tell you about my newly formed academic reputation development plan. I am going to tell you what my career is, the reputation metrics that I have, and my plan to improve things.
One way to look at publication rate is to look at the publications per peer per year and normalise them so that year 1 is the year of our first publication. It is important to compare like with like as the publication characteristics of different disciplines vary. I’ve looked at my closest peers at Cranfield University and World wide.
Most career trajectories show places where step changes occur and a new rate of publication establishes. Within any career trajectory there are undulations as publication rate waxes and wanes. Principal Research Fellow/ Senior Lecturer is two grades senior to my current position. I am a bad lad and a late starter for sure, but others have started late as well, possibly being more oriented to lecturing.
Looking at my global peer group one gets a similar message, but it seems Professors can leverage their name on to the outputs of their expanding departments to show a gentle acceleration in rate of publication.
Citations and H-Index
In this section I’ve looked at citations to my work and the calculation of the H-index. The H-Index is the number of you papers that have been cited at least that many times. My H-index is four so I have four paper that have been cited four or more times (see below). Citations are skewed with a few papers earning farm more than the bulk of papers, but elapsed time is also a factor.
When I compare the chart above to my own H-Index it strikes me how different they are. One big explanation is that I’ve worked on Agricultural Operational Research for strategic applied questions of national policy rather than the narrower optimization of specific processes and production systems. My first paper is also three years older than the case above.
I now turn to having a quick look at the citation life-cycle of each of my papers
It looks like 2012 was a good year and I will be interested to know where 2015 ends up as we are still only in August. I am impressed that my papers are still relevant nearly 20 years on (am I in a slow moving field?) It is also a little concerning that there are very long lead times to any peak in citations. Some metrics only score citations within a finite time of a few years. However, I like that fact that almost all my papers do attract citations. That is probably a reflection that I’ve not published much but have focussed on significant pieces of work rather than thin pieces of salami.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Any reputation plan needs to play to strengths and manage weaknesses. Reputations are hard-won and easily shattered. The best way to protect you reputation is to be entirely true to yourself and allow you reputation to be a natural outgrowth of self. the easiest way to wreck a relationship is to big-up something you are not and then find that collapses because it can’t take the weight you are putting on it. For example, if you say you are diligent and actually are cavalier when under pressure then sooner or later people realise that they are losing trust and confidence as reality is not meeting expectations.
I’ve tried to hard look at my strength and weaknesses (marks out of 10) and also my vices (from -10) and virtues (to +10). These are just two partial perspectives of a complex system (me), but may offer message to take forward.
The ideas I get from my strengths are that are: 1) I do have intellectual strengths to contribute, 2) Toastmasters my help me tie together a synergistic dissemination strategy using social media and communication skills, and 3) Toastmasters may also help me with the leadership dimensions of all too essential collaborations and co-authours.
The weaknesses in my conduct are lax manners, cavalier attitude to my own health and safety (but if I am honest I am aware of that), and slight lack of courage and the taking on of responsibility.
I was surprised by so many high values in Truth, I clearly want things to be right and just, but does it suggest perfectionism and the risk that I set a quality bar for me that means nothing gets done and finished on time? It might suggest where the procrastination comes from.
The biggest surprise was peace. I seems to have fragile esteem that would make me vulnerable to criticism. That may well be why I’ve Journal rejection letter strewn around my email systems that are either unopened or unread. It maybe that Truth is compensating for Peace?
Key take out. If I can manage procrastination and insecurity then productivity might step change.
The Love and Non-Violence are both solid looking suggesting that I’am more than happy to be involved with the citizenry and stewardship of my field and respect those that work within it. If there is a hidden weaknesses here it maybe that I am too keen the chip in and see everyone else’s stuff come along and not aggressive enough with my own agenda.
Overall I don’t seem to be the exciting tragic hero lurching from virtue to vice. How dull!
- I’ve been a bad lad and need to get consistently more publications.
- It is never too late to be what you might have been. George Eliot
- If I can get the publications then I could build citations by combing communications skills with social media skills. Video abstracts no problem!
- I do need to ensure I manage collaborations well to cover weak areas and to motivate and retain motivation from those collaborators
- If I can manage procrastination and insecurity better I may be able to make a step change in productivity and take a more balanced approach to supporting others and “going for it” to push myself forward.
- “Be the change you seek in this world” (Gandi). That is be true to yourself, but be the best you that you can.
- “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.” Matthew 5:15 (King James Bible). That is be visible (by showing rather than telling)