Debbie Knight

Pride and glory: the publication board

In research log on December 23, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Until about four years ago, I maintained my department’s publication board. I would replace older journal articles published by faculty members with freshly minted ones. It was a great way for the department to show the diversity and breadth of research that went on in the department.

Now, the department has a clinical side and a basic science research side. And back then, the board heavily favored the basic science side – those were the only faculty members who would routinely provide articles for the board.

I left the department for three years when my lab’s grant funding ran out.

In that time, the tumbleweeds rolled in and the board was in shambles.

It was a disgrace.

It was a wall of shame.

After it was clear that no one would step forward to reclaim the publication board, I asked our chairman and vice chairman of research if I could restore the board to its original glory. They were very supportive. And the vice chair of research sent a message to faculty members to help in the endeavor by sending their recently published journal articles. Only four responded.

I waited for more articles to “pour” in.

And waited.

Eventually, I had the vice chair send out another request to the faculty. Maybe they didn’t pay attention to the first message.

One more article dribbled in.

This was a disgrace. I knew that there are more than five faculty members publishing in scientific journals.

So, I stalked them.

Well, cyberstalked them – on a website called PubMed. I typed in each of their names and found a bounty of journal articles to plunder (okay, maybe I just printed them out).

It took me three freaking hours to chase them all down, but I now had dozens of articles.

As I was starting to pin the articles on the bulletin board, my division head passed by. Because there were so many articles from 2011, I had to limit the number of articles per faculty member to four (that just happens to be how many fit vertically on the board). He was not too pleased – he had many more than four publications from this year.

But I stubbornly stuck to my guns. With the current board space, there just wasn’t room for any more.

(I hope he doesn’t remember this when it comes time to do my performance evaluation)

So, the publication board has been restored to all its glory. I wanted to display them a little more artistically (perhaps gently zigzagging as they cascade vertically), but there simply wasn’t room for anything but efficient use of space. I would have preferred to have a vertical slot for each faculty member, but there were simply too many articles and not enough space.

So here the boards are, in all their glory. The open space is for my division head to put his articles – hopefully he’ll understand his need to “edit” his publication selections when he sees the finished product.

One of two publication boards

The publication board on the opposing wall. The gap in the middle is reserved for my division head's journal articles.

With any luck, we’ll get an additional board mounted so we can display more — my division head was not the only faculty member who had more than four articles published this year.

As I looked at the board, I was impressed by the sheer number of articles published by my department’s faculty this year. And I hope the department will once again take pride in displaying its accomplishments on the publication board.


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