Sunday, February 19, 2012

Interesting Post by George Siemens (@gsiemens)

Most of us know the feeling of not getting a job that we had applied for - especially not nice when you know you could have done the job very well and would have had a lot to offer. In Academia, you cannot hope to get anywhere unless you have a publication record - if another candidate has 100 peer reviewed journal publications, and you have only a handful, you have no chance - no matter how good a teacher you are.

George Siemens.
Image link to Jay Cross blog.
I have been "following" George Siemens for over 10 years - in fact I started when I was still with SmartForce. My first ever Skype call was with him! Last week, George wrote a very personal post Rejected: On being disappointed, sorta. This followed his unsuccessful bid to get a senior academic position in another College - he writes that a reason for his rejection was that his "profile doesn't include sufficient traditional peer-review journal publications". George has not been active in research publications, preferring instead "conference presentations, blogging, open courses, and interactions online" - I regard him as world-class at this. When I grow up I want to be like him!

As NCI is mostly a teaching College, I am not under any pressure to publish research papers in journals or anything else. My modest list of 18 publications (including Conference papers) is located here. I have no research papers in the pipeline, this is because I am not engaged in any research. I have not applied for any research funding for some time, even when I did, I was never successful. Like George Siemens - my focus is on the on-line environment and my two main activities - this blog, and my YouTube channel. These activities actually take up a lot of time, both inside and outside of work. Sadly - output like 800 posts on my blog, and over 800,000 viewers on my educational channel, does not count at all in Academia. I have heard in the past that the average number of readers of academic published papers is 2 (yes TWO). I'm certain that George Siemens has thousands of readers - so I hope he keeps this up rather than start to work on research papers that hardly anyone will read.

I have not applied for a job for some considerable time. In fact recently, I had to dig out my CV so that it could be included in a new programme development document at NCI. I once applied for a Lecturer in Computing position in my alma mater Trinity College. I got the rejection letter within two days of applying - no doubt screened out immediately as not suitable due to a very poor publication record. For the last job I applied for - a management position in an Institute of Technology, I actually made it to the final short list of three. Publications mattered not a jot - I lost out to another (who I know, and is doing a great job) who at the time did not have a PhD. Go figure.

As long as I can hang on to my position in NCI, I will not worry too much about peer-reviewed publications. But this lack of research activity will almost certainly prevent me from getting another academic position in another College where the measure of performance is the number of papers published - not teaching ability.

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