Friday, January 2, 2009

2008 - the year of reviewing

The other day I thought about what I've been up to in 2008. Looking back I felt that I've been very busy but haven't had enough time for research. At the same time last year I had approximately 12 months of exciting "2008-time" in front of me to do something new and intersting, so how did I waste it:

- 1 month vacation
(I miss the 43 vacation days I had while doing my postdoc in the Netherlands...if it wasn't for the weather and the food I might even consider going back)

- I spent almost 2 months travelling (research visits and conferences).

- 2 months reviewing papers!!!
Yes it's true! I spent almost two months of 2008 reviewing papers. I'm sure you wonder how it can add up to two whole months. Well, I reviewed 9-10 journal papers. Each of them required 2-3 days of full time work (on average). I reviewed roughly 60 conference papers - each of them took 2-3 hours to review (on average). In total 25 days of journal reviewing and roughly the same amount of conference reviewing. Scary stuff! This is almost 20% of my work time in 2008! What do I have to show for it? Well, I actually got a free book from Springer (reviewing for DMKD) and a "Certificate of Recognition" from CGTA as a "Top reviewer"...Yeah!

This left me with 7 months for research, teaching and administration. Obviously this has to change in 2009. Either I decrease my vacation (don't think so) or the amount of time I spend on travelling and reviewing. If you read this far then you probably realised that this post is just a long excuse on why I have to turn down review requests in 2009.

- My four 2008 highlights were SWAT (I really enjoyed being the pc chair even though it took a lot of my time), Mohammad Farshi's and Damian Merrick's PhD graduations and that I had a record number of journal publications (7).

Happy New Year!


  1. Yesterday I got a review request I couldn't say no to. So much for my improved plan for 2009.

  2. We learn a lot by reviewing! Seriously.

    Some people publish a lot, however, if you test their knowledge, it can be very shallow or narrow.

    So if you maintain a good balance between reading the work of others and writing up your own research, you can publish papers of much better quality.

    Of course, sometimes you review junk submissions, which is a waste of time -- so just reject them and get them quickly out of your way.