Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Scaling your research productivity

Productivity is important in research.  Ultimately, you'll be judged on the importance, quality (and number) of papers that you publish.  This got me thinking about whether there was a simple way of encapsulating this and I came up with the following:

Aim to do more and more important research per unit-time.

It's sort of obvious, but the key quantity is the rate at which you produce important, high-quality research. If you hardly ever publish anything, that's a bad thing.  If you publish plenty, but all your papers are low-grade rubbish, that's a bad thing too.  And even if you produce large numbers of high (technical) quality papers, but they're all studying unimportant problems, that's not great.


  1. Hey Rich! I've been enjoying your reflections on how to do better research.

    This post, and your meme-pool posts earlier, remind me of Hamming's talk "You and Your Research". If you haven't seen it already, it's certainly worth a read:

  2. Hey Daniel! Glad you've been enjoying them :-) I have indeed read Richard Hamming's talk - I found it extremely inspiring. It's something I'd recommend every academic to read.

    (I actually wrote a blog post about it a while back:

  3. D'oh! Should've searched before I mentioned it :)

    In any case, keep up the good work.