Mungowit's End: Myths and Myth-sters

Michael Munger is a professor of Political Science at Duke (which apart from having an irritating baseball team is a pretty good university). I recently came across this piece he wrote (back in June) where he gives some excellent (and blunt) advice to his fellow academics. He lists five "myths" that he's heard often, such as :
  • There is no relationship between work and publishing record. It is all luck, connections, and mystical "ability"; either you have it or you don't.
  • It's gotten harder to get published over time.
  • If it hasn't, it's gotten harder to get published in "top" journals.
While he's in a different discipline than I am, he's clearly been extremely productive, and he has some great advice:
Finish what you start - don't just start new papers to get them accepted at conferences

You should have at least three under review at all times. If one gets rejected, turn it around immediately and get it back out there. If one gets accepted, send out another new paper immediately.

Everyone has ideas. Not all of them turn into good papers. You can't tell until you work on them a long time. If an idea turns out to be not that great, write it up and send it right away to a second-tier journal.

If you are publishing less than two papers a year, you're not working enough, and if you are NEVER sending papers to top journals, you're not working deeply enough.
Read the whole thing here. Munger doesn't mince words -- important, because I have a thick head.

HT: Division of Labour