Monday, October 20, 2008

Publish or Perish?

As graduate students, we're often reminded that in order to survive (never mind thrive!) in academia, we absolutely must publish. And, if you look at the CV of any assistant professor at a major research university, you'll likely see a firm confirmation of this maxim. Publishing is the primary method of "getting your name out there" -- and, of course, sharing the work you're doing with other scholars.

Of course I think it's great (and necessary) that the research we do is shared with the world. At the same time, I think the necessity of publishing in great quantity varies by what field you are in, what degree you seek, and what your career goals are.

I have decided that pursuing a master's degree is the best fit for me. I do not desire a career in research or in academia (at least not academia in the strict sense). My career aspirations instead focus around community outreach (which certainly may and likely will involve universities) and teaching in the context of a community college or technical school.

Given my academic and career aspirations, publishing is not as high a priority for me as it would be if I were a doctoral student. However, I still hope to publish work related to my research assistantship (community informatics/wireless) and/or my master's thesis (online communities for parents of children with autism). Here are three places I might publish:

1) Once again, CHI. As I mentioned a couple posts ago, my name is on two submissions this year. I am hopeful that one or both of these submissions will be accepted. I would love the opportunity to share my work and ideas with CHI community, and learn about the work that others are doing in HCI.

2) IJHCS: The International Journal of Human-Computer Studies concentrates (of course) on HCI. A special call for papers is seeking submissions related to medicine and health care (HCI4MED). Jack, my advisor, has suggested that I might submit a paper related to my thesis for this special issue.

3) Journal of Community Informatics: This is a venue that has interested our wireless team, since the project is considered to be under the community informatics umbrella. It would be great to be able to publish a paper in this journal based on the work we have done. Jack and Mary Beth have published articles in the JCI before, based upon earlier work.

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