A look back to 2022 - Part IV
This is Part IV of V of a look back to 2022. I know, my blogging is lacking a bit of urgency LOL 😂.
The first part discussed peer review requests in 2022, and the second part discussed professional development more broadly. The third part branched off a bit from the second part, discussing professional development a bit more from an academic development frame. Continuing with that academic framing, part IV will explore some of my ponderings about...
Determining where research fits in for me...
At the end of last year I was reflecting on where research fits into my professional and hobby life; keeping in mind that my job does not require, nor does it make provisions for, me to do research - thus it's mostly a hobby. My relationship with doing research, and where it fits in for me, has really evolved over the last decade. When I was attending my last Master's degree (before completing the degree), I had a hard time even imagining writing 7000 words, let alone publishing something in a book or journal! That is something other people did, but certainly not me. I did find three topics that piqued my interest enough to polish up into something resembling a journal article. I was never mentored on how to do this, so much of it was mimicking what I had seen in my classes and filling in gaps from conversations I had with professors. I might have read an intro textbook on doing research on my own at some point - I don't remember 😬. Anyway, I lucked out, in a sense, because my first two works were published in collected volumes that were about teaching and learning on campus and I got feedback and encouragement from people I had known in my day-to-day work setting over the preceding decade. Their feedback was not "reviewer 2" style 😜
When MOOCs came along and I got sucked into that whirlwind, I found interesting folks who extended and expanded my thinking, and together we did some great work. The things researched around this time were things that piqued my interest, and the interactions with journals were mediated across a group of us. If revise-and-resubmit was the result, we worked on it and we did it. Here, I'll admit that the citation metrics were a bit inebriating as well. I never really cared about citation metrics, and I still don't to a large extent, but it does leave me in awe to see over 1500 people have cited publications that I was part of. The citation counts were something that kept me motivated to continue on new projects even though they don't really do much for my present career path. I had kept an eye out at tenure track style jobs, but due to pay and job security in your pre-tenure years, I don't feel like making that jump makes sense for me (if anyone wants to hire me with tenure, let's talk 📞😉).
When I started working on my dissertation, for better or for worse, a lot of momentum was lost when it came to these kinds of collaborative research experiences that had given me so much energy. I needed to finish my dissertation so I could graduate, so I dropped off a lot of potential collaborations. Now that I am done with that, I am left pondering: Should I return to that previous path? Should I not? Should I just be more selective about what I do? It's not like I've rested on my laurels these past couple of years, but the publication process does leave A LOT to be desired. For example, in the past 4 years, I've completed four book chapters and one article. The article is basically dead on arrival because as I was finishing it, the journal I had in mind for publication had a moratorium (and still seems to be closed for business). I honestly don't have the energy to redo it, so I just released it in the wild for people who might find it useful. One of the book chapters was a collaboration with a member of my EdD cohort, and that book editor seems to have gone dark...publishing that chapter now would require a lot of work to bring it up to date, so I am not sure it's a useful way to spend one's time. That chapter was also released to the wild in case people find it useful. The other three book chapters appear to be moving along and hopefully be out on in 2023. A sixty percent completion rate might not seem bad, but considering that I do this as a hobby, it seems like I best choose higher throughput means of publishing to make my hobby worth it.
I could simply write, and not pursue peer-reviewed publishing, of course, but while citation metrics don't really matter as much to me it does make me ask (and ponder) what is the benefit of writing if you're not going to be viewed and/or cited? There is a concurrent strand in my head pondering about blogging when the number of your views per post is in the single digits (as is the case for my old blog). Part of me is wondering whether citation metrics have ruined part of this hobby for me 🤔
What are your thoughts on research and publishing? I am especially curious to know if you are an itinerant/unaffiliated scholar and/or an adjunct faculty somewhere.