The role of publication in the research life cycle: FREE SAMPLE

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Go to the profile of Chris Surridge
May 05, 2016
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Chris Surridge, Chief Editor of Nature Plants, talks about how publishing your research will benefit not only you but also the wider scientific community.

This video has been taken from the module 'What Makes a Great Paper' in our Scientific Writing & Publishing Course. Find out more about getting access to the course.

  • - Publication is really important to a scientist 00:06
  • because it's the way that you get 00:08
  • to tell the world what you've done, 00:10
  • and what you think it means. 00:12
  • If you spent your entire time 00:13
  • in your lab doing research, 00:14
  • getting lovely data, having very clever ideas 00:16
  • about what it means, but never told anyone, 00:19
  • you'd be completely wasting your time. 00:20
  • Science exists, it progresses, 00:22
  • by one set of work being built upon somebody else's, 00:26
  • so it's really important that you communicate your science. 00:30
  • The way we do this is through journal publications. 00:33
  • You can think of a journal publication as one brick 00:36
  • in the wall of scientific advance. 00:40
  • And therefore, it's crucial that you do this thing well. 00:42
  • It's also very important for your careers 00:47
  • because scientists are judged by the papers 00:49
  • that they produce because really, the output, 00:52
  • the final product of scientific research isn't the data, 00:56
  • it is the paper, because that's the thing 00:59
  • that gets archived, that's the thing that carries on 01:01
  • into the world, that's the thing that people build upon. 01:03
  • There are ways of storing data, but journal publication, 01:06
  • right now, is the most important way that we communicate 01:09
  • what we've done in our research, and what we think it means. 01:12
  • No scientific paper is an end point in itself. 01:16
  • It's always part of a process. 01:19
  • There were papers that come before it, 01:21
  • there are papers that will come after it. 01:23
  • But also, a paper, when you publish it, 01:25
  • will become part of your research career, 01:27
  • which also, itself, goes into a degree in cycles. 01:31
  • So when you publish a paper, other people get to read it. 01:35
  • Other people get to evaluate your results. 01:39
  • And in this way, they form what opinion 01:41
  • about how good a scientist you are. 01:45
  • But it also attracts other researchers 01:46
  • who are working on similar problems, 01:49
  • or have complimentary interests or skills to yourself. 01:51
  • And these people can become collaborators with you, 01:55
  • so that you will identify, you will find people, 01:58
  • like-minded people who you can work with. 02:01
  • And science isn't a solitary occupation. 02:04
  • You know, all research papers, 02:07
  • most research papers these days have multiple authors. 02:09
  • Six authors is pretty much common for a research paper. 02:13
  • Many, many more happen sometimes, 02:17
  • depending on the subject area. 02:20
  • So you need collaborators. 02:21
  • The collaborators will help you 02:22
  • make an even better paper the next time. 02:23
  • You will become part of their research, as well, 02:26
  • and all of this goes towards building you a reputation 02:29
  • in the scientific field. 02:32
  • It also means that for one paper, you develop collaborators, 02:33
  • you got another paper, you got another paper here, 02:37
  • and suddenly, before you noticed it, 02:40
  • you've got a whole background corpus of research papers 02:41
  • that you can take to your department 02:44
  • when looking for advancement, 02:46
  • when you're looking for new jobs, 02:49
  • looking for promotion. 02:50
  • This all builds, it's all part of the cycle 02:51
  • that is started off by a single research paper. 02:54
Go to the profile of Chris Surridge

Chris Surridge

Chief Editor, Nature Plants, Nature Research

Chris gained a PhD in Biophysics from Imperial College, London, studying the dynamics of microtubule assembly. He left the bench for scientific publishing in 1993 initially as Assistant Editor on Nature Structural Biology, and then as a member of the editorial team at Nature where he has handled topics as diverse as structural biology, neuroscience and systems biology. He became the Plant Sciences editor of Nature in 1999 just in time for the publication of the Arabidopsis genome. In 2005 he joined the Public Library of Science (PLoS) as the Managing Editor of PLoS ONE, before returning to Nature as a Senior Editor in 2008. Chris has also spent time as Nature's Web Editor and as the Editor of the now defunct Brief Communication section. From 2009 to 2014 he was Chief Editor of Nature Protocols. After two decades of honing his skills, Chris now leads an editorial team as Chief Editor of Nature Plants.