A professor’s self-examination

a professor's self-examinationNow that the academic year is over and I am rested and recovered, it is time to do some self-assessment of how it went and to outline a plan for the coming year. This is a suggestion of questions for a self-examination as a professor.

First I have to be happy because I have the good fortune to be a university professor: it is a very varied, challenging and rewarding activity that allows me to make life better for others, to improve a little the world, and to grow as a person.

With respect to what is expected of me as a professor:

  • Did I prepare conveniently the classes?
  • Did I come to class on time? Did I go motivated or by mere compliance?
  • Did I correct/present the academic grades and other administrative documents on time?
  • Did I take the time to research and publish in academic journals? Did I seek to innovate in my research and contribute to the literature with my papers?

With respect to the others, students and colleagues:

  • Did I attend my students properly and with interest in their education?
  • How did I treat my peers? Did I willingly collaborate with them or did I just do the bare minimum required to meet my objectives?
  • Did I help other professors, for example from countries with fewer resources, to improve and publish, by providing my advice?
  • When a journal editor asked me to be a peer-reviewer, what did I do? Did I only accept if the journal had high impact factor?

With regard to myself and my goals:

  • Was I concerned about my training and reading to be a better teacher and researcher?
  • What was it that inspired my academic life: the others, improving the world, or else were the prestige and money?
  • Did I act as a professor normally in consciousness or was I driven by other motives such as obtaining publications, fear of losing the job, or what peers/students could say?

I understand that (academic) life is tough and stressful, and seeing how the things go in the world I’ll settle for the next course to fulfill my duties as a professor with students, to collaborate with my peers and to devote some time to study and research. And you?

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POLL: The current use of open access journals

POLL: the current use of open access journalsOpen access (OA) journals has been one of the main drivers of change in the academic publishing world in the last decades, and OA will still shape the future of assessment of research quality and scientific dissemination thanks to the Internet and Web 3.0 technology.

Behind this situation is the urgent demand of professors and researchers who need to publish in indexed journals (quality of research) but also expect their work to be accessible to a wider audience (citations), pressed by faculties and promotion.

And what are you doing with your papers? Are you using OA journals? What about fake or predatory journals/businesses? There are still some questions to be clarified. Please share with us your use as author of OA journals participating in the survey.

* OA: Open access

** It can be chosen 1 or 2 answers.

***Comments are highly encouraged.

How to get clients for your journal business

The aim of the post is to reflect on a particular point on the management of academic journals, which is the reader or clients for their journal business.

how to get clients for your journal business

For a journal there are at least three key types of stakeholders, which are interrelated: the readers, authors (content) and peer-reviewers.

  • By focusing on innovation and contribution to knowledge, journal publications are usually directed to a specialized audience. Therefore, very often the reader or target audience (the client), apart from professionals is usually also professors and researchers, which in turn are the authors and users of journal content.
  • The target of journals are usually much focused, which makes it easier for them to find readers, typically located in the faculties and in the authors of papers that are published continuously. But instead the reader’s habits are changing: who can be faithful to a single journal with the current flow of information on the internet on any subject and in many formats?

Moreover, for what I see in the social networks for academics, such as Academia, Researchgate or Mendeley, the world goes to the free access to the article, not to the journal. What the journals provide is to ensure the quality of the paper/research mainly with its peer-review evaluation process; but then the authors disclose them at their own way.

This leads us to wonder about the business model of journals, whether to charge the reader, lowering the target, or charge the author, which also limits access to quality content. But what really matters is if the journal model fits with the new environment of free and open access, and if the reader is somehow relevant or it is just the content.

My conclusion is that as a business, journals make no sense; they make sense as disseminating tools for a university department or professional association. Those who get make money are those serving around journals as hosting applications, journal indexes or directories, or even clusters of journals such as Elsevier and Wiley. A little sad, isn’t it?

Dept. Head at CalUMS: ‘We encourage our professors to publish in good journals’

Dept. Head at CALUMS - we encourage our professors to publish in good journalsMiguel A. Bustillos has over 25 years of combined business and healthcare experience. His current position is department head for all undergraduate studies programs at California University of Management & Sciences (CalUMS). Miguel is a board member of the National Capital Healthcare Executives, board member of the membership committee at the Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, member of The American Physiological Society, member of the American Association for Respiratory Care, member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, member of the Society of Health Policy, and member of the Florida and Maryland Association for Respiratory Care. He is also board certified by the National Board of Respiratory Care and the Board of Physicians of the State of Maryland. He holds advance degrees in business and cardiopulmonary sciences and have published numerous articles in both business and health issues. Miguel is also an editorial review member for the Independent Journal of Management & Production. His research interest lies in corporate culture.

GAUDEAMUS. How do you select your research projects for your department?

MIGUEL A. BUSTILLOS. We allow our professors to do independent research on topics of their choosing. This keeps them motivated. We do require them to publish at least once a year.

G. Being Department Chair it should not be easy to coordinate and organize research, is there any aspect worth mentioning that could help us researchers regarding health care projects?

MAB. Healthcare projects are very complex and scientific in nature. I am referring to medicine. I would encourage the use of technology to keep adequate metrics of large numbers that are necessary to come to conclusion. Also, they take long periods of time due to the disparities of the samples.

G. If you had to prioritize, what do you put in the first place: teaching or researching?

MAB. I would say that I enjoy research because of the discoveries that are made through its use; however, my heart lies in the classroom. Therefore, I have to admit, I enjoy teaching more.

G. What is the research activity you like most?

MAB. The research activity I like the most would be testing for fallacies. Did I omit anything based on bias? This is when good testing is of most importance.

G. Internet and open access is changing the scholarly publishing industry, is it also changing research activity?

MAB. It is. It allows us to have access to information that was not available to us years ago for various reasons. I often warn researchers about the sources they use when they do their research, because we tend to believe the data of others without verifying the source. This is especially true when the source is a well established researcher in that particular field. I do not trust anyone’s data. I like to develop my own judgments. I use their data only as a guide.

G. What drives academics in your field of knowledge to publish in journals?

MAB. I believe in some cases it is the old adage of publish or die. However, I like to think it’s more of the need to write something of substance that may be life changing. This seems to be what I get from most of my colleagues. But, we can never forget about tenure. It seems to be a great motivator in the academic world.

G. How do you organize in your department to choose the journals where to publish? Or if you prefer, what are you looking for in a journal?

MAB. We know that all of our professors will not be able to publish in top tier journals. We understand this; therefore, we give them some credit for any published work. However, we have set up incentives for our professors to encourage them to publish in good journals. We do not like or encourage any professor to publish in journals that require payment from a professor to publish. We frown upon that.

G. Finally, what advice would you give to novel researchers (for example, about collaboration, time dedicated to research, make an impact, etc.).

MAB. I believe that every researcher should do research on whatever topic they most enjoy and drives their passion. I find that professors that are forced to conduct research on topics they dislike tend not to produce a good final product. This includes doing research due to grants. Yes, grants are necessary, but they should only be pursued by those that are genuinely interested in that topic.

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