Friday, January 23, 2009

Publish and Flourish

Publication is too often approached in terms of the consequences of non-publication. Hence the slogan "publish or perish". It is of course true that if you never publish your ideas you may "become destroyed or ruined"; as a researcher you will, in fact, "cease to exist". But why not look at the upside? If you do publish, your ideas may "grow luxuriantly", they may "reach a height of development and influence". They may flourish.

Indeed, publication is simply the public side of the Life of the Mind, and your attempts to publish are just part of your general "state of industry or production". That's why I normally tell people to worry less about whether or not their work gets accepted and more about wether or not they get their work submitted to journals. Even the limited readership offered by the editors and reviewers who reject your work is soil in which your ideas can grow.

And look at that third sense offered by Merriam-Webster: "to wield with dramatic gestures". Yes, take your ideas out and brandish them for all to see. "Make bold and sweeping gestures"! Publish and flourish!

(NOTE: You don't come up a with phrase like "publish and flourish" this late in the game and expect to be original. Google lets you find your kindred spirits, and one of them appears to be Tara Gray.)


Jonathan said...

We will all of us perish, but only some of us will also publish before perishing.

Thomas Basbøll said...

Hmmm. Where have I heard that before?