Glamorous for Me.
Chasing glamour publications is a big problem in science. Well, it’s at least a small problem. The competition for journals like Science and NEJM is incredibly intense, and people will do whatever they think they have to to get in. The game is rigged towards famous people in big labs. But every once in a while a relative no-name will slip through. I don’t think I ever will. But I’ve been bold enough to try a couple of times. I had a paper go a couple of rounds of review at PNAS once. It ended up in a perfectly reputable fourth-or-so tier journal.
I thought I’d spend my career at the fourth tier. Perfectly good specialty medical journals read by working physicians and administrators, with impact factors from about 1.1 to 2.5. I’ve published a bunch of papers in journals like that. I’ll probably keep publishing in journals like that for my whole career. And that’s good. I’m happy with that. It’s a legitimate career strategy with good benefits for me. It’s B+ work. And I like doing B+ work.
But my last two papers, which came out within ten days of one another this past couple of weeks, have been in very good journals. Top of their respective discipline-type journals. Maybe not quite number one, but venerable, highly-respected journals. One medical, one policy. Hopefully, these papers will be read and cited and make some small impact in the world. They’re glamorous for me.
I’m never going to have a paper in the big name journals. It’s not who I am. I didn’t study the right sexy subject. I’m not quite rigorous enough. I don’t have the right friends. I didn’t take the straight path. I haven’t won the right grants. What I have done now, though, is carve out a career doing good enough work at a good place to be. And I have shown myself that I can write papers that people think are worth publishing. Hopefully, they’re worth reading too.
But most of all, I hope that I convince people to employ sensible engineering methods in healthcare delivery, even if they don’t actually try to duplicate my own work. My work isn’t so important. My discipline is. I hope to disseminate that.