Publish or perish: this is the dogma of today’s research. So, how to maximise your publication output? This depends mostly on your career level, so let us focus here first on master and PhD students, who are most desperate for publications.
Some students adopt really questionable strategies: publish the same work under different names; chop your work into smaller pieces; add tiny incremental stuff to your work; etc. This is not a good strategy, as it produces (in the best case) un-interesting works, which nobody reads or cites. Don’t forget: now you are desperate for publications, but tomorrow you will be hunting citations. So prepare for the next step too.
A good strategy follows three different paths:
- Align what you are doing to what can be published, not the other way around. I often see this problem: a student works on something, without taking care about how to publish it later and then she wonders why she cannot find a publication venue or so mich additional work is needed to get to a publishable state. Thus, before you start doing something, ask yourself where and what you will be able to publish. You always need to offer innovation!
- Make the extra work also publishable. Often you produce a lot of secondary material, like source code, datasets, etc. Make sure those also get published in repositories (data and code) or specialised publishers. Those will not necessary contribute to your “official” publication record, but will your work more prominent in the community, people will remember your name and THEN they will also start reading and citing your work…
- Help others. Usually people do not ask you simply “Would you like to write this paper together?”. At least not when you are still a student. However, you can watch out for opportunities. At conferences, at workshops or at group research meetings, you can listen carefully to the problems of other people and offer your help. Very often the result of this is a joint paper. Your interest and offer to help should be genuine, otherwise people will never repeat the experience with you.
And, last but not least: Publishing papers means writing papers. Practice it as much as you can: write, write, write…