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Let's assume your article has been published and is now available. What do you do you next? Notice it and move on? Celebrate with your team? Read it again ? Print it?

I notice that my own behaviour towards my own work has changed quite a lot recently. In the very first years, I would print every single article, talk to my peers about the publication, etc... While now, the "excitement and joy" are no longer the same, it became "business" to some extent. Did you (senior colleagues) experience the same?

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  • 50
    Hmmm, try to remember what it was about???
    – Buffy
    Mar 16, 2023 at 18:39
  • 21
    Relief, as I have one less headache. Mar 16, 2023 at 18:47
  • 23
    Make sure that I put it on my annual performance review so I can keep my job. Mar 17, 2023 at 4:02
  • 3
    In Germany, you notify VG Wort for a small payment later on. Mar 17, 2023 at 12:10
  • 4
    Never forget that getting original research published in a reputable academic journal is something most people will never experience. Even though you get used to it, it's still a big accomplishment. Mar 18, 2023 at 3:19

7 Answers 7

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I've always felt acceptance is the more major milestone, and is the natural time for congratulations and potentially celebrations. After publication is a good time for book keeping, i.e. updating CV, website, institutional repositories and so on. Depending on the paper, promotion of the results may be in order. Reading it again right after publication is very optional, and something I'm rarely inclined to do if I was involved in the proofs stage. Overall though, getting your first article published is of course more of an event and much more exciting than getting the (N+1)th article published... You can probably think of other events in your life, where the first instance was very significant, but following instances normalized it.

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    Certainly my (N+1)th birthdays have been much less exciting since about N=12. Perhaps once N=99 it might get back to being interesting...
    – Jon Custer
    Mar 16, 2023 at 19:31
  • 1
    This is a good answer for areas like math, there the publication might be six months after acceptance and two years after the paper first appeared on the arxiv. In areas where things move fast, the publication will feel like more of a triumph. Mar 16, 2023 at 19:58
  • 1
    @TerryLoring Interesting. I'm in physics myself, where (online) publication is typically a matter of weeks after acceptance. The way I view it, up to the point of acceptance there is some jeopardy. Overcoming that is more exciting and feels more like a triumph than having waited for what's more or less a predetermined outcome. I suppose I might feel differently if the gap was even shorter.
    – Anyon
    Mar 16, 2023 at 20:17
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    In the UK (I don't know about other places), acceptance is also the mandated time for institutional repositories. Mar 16, 2023 at 20:44
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Don't read it again, unless you want to find errors in it.

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After the appropriate celebratory period, it depends where you are in your professional life.

If you are student then probably you are asking your advisor what next? Probably you were "rabbiting away" on the paper pretty single-mindedly. Maybe this completes your research quota for your degree and it's time to write the thesis. Or maybe you will do the next version of the research with "go-faster stripes."

If you're a post-doc or junior prof, look around for something new and exciting. Not necessarily immediately following on to the current work, but probably related. You are building a base.

If you are tenured prof, what's next in the research queue? And if no queue, get busy making a queue. You should have a program of ideas and possible research topics and tasks. If you are a senior type, you might even have several queues with more or less connection between them. If you are in a place where you have students, go walk around and ask each of them how they are doing and if they need some kind of push to keep them making progress. It's a time for a deep breath or two before getting back into hard work mode.

Maybe you have time and attention to look to your personal life with more than usual concentration for a week or two. Maybe that special somebody would be glad to have your full attention for a bit. Vacation? Even a small one to something local?

Ask yourself if this is the time to do "that" research. You know, the juicy one you've had in your back pocket for years. The one you have not told anybody about. Do you have time and stability to get into some new big thing with some speculation and risk connected to it?

Read through the "gossipy" journals in your research area and see if there's any "new big thing" you would be curious to expand into. The kind of journal that has "Today" in the title.

Anything you want to apply to or for while your head is out of research space? Grants, conferences, funding for a research fellow, funding for new equipment, funding for etc. I find filling in those forms spoils my mood for concentrating on the interesting stuff. Get it done now if you can, while it won't be distracting you from doing research.

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No matter how many articles you publish, I think it is good to try to maintain that feeling of excitement and happiness at having a new article accepted. Personally, whenever I have an article accepted for publication (which is the bigger milestone than when it is actually published), I treat myself by going to the movies. That is quite a small little treat, but it is something nice to look forward to as I'm slogging through the submission and revisions process. It also gives me a break from work where I can just enjoy the accomplishment of having had an article accepted, think about how it adds to the discipline, and feel thankful for having developed a useful skill that is manifesting in published work.

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    Thank you - I should also add a comparable ritual to get some distance from work!
    – Dr.M
    Mar 17, 2023 at 6:43
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    In the interest of avoiding possible self-incrimination, I will neither confirm nor deny whether I go to the movies during work hours!
    – Ben
    Mar 17, 2023 at 6:44
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    An unusually specific, unprompted non confirmation nor denial...
    – DKNguyen
    Mar 17, 2023 at 15:08
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If you're on social media (you should be on social media), publication of the work is the best time to advertise it to potential readers. In my field, most people read preprints rather than publications, but even then, the official publication date would be a good time to bring in new readers. You can try spreading the news via your university or department's media.

You might also take a few seconds to update your "List of Publications" on your CV, tenure packet, etc.

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  1. Make sure that your published paper is among those listed under appropriate searches under the relevant phrases and filtered for most recent first.

  2. Obtain the URL of the paper in the publishing journal so it may be easily sourced by those aware of it but unable to get it online. You can add this link to your resumé's publications list.

  3. Obtain a private PDF download of the paper for yourself and others.

  4. Print out a few copies of the PDF version of your paper. If color printing is required to highlight figures/diagrams/images/etc, spoil yourself and take the expense do it.

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I think a brief moment of celebration is fine (especially if it's a really good journal that you have always wanted to get into etc.)

But you shouldn't spend too long celebrating as you probably need to start thinking about the next piece of work. If you want to become a senior researcher, you probably (or let's say definitely) need to sort out some ''research programme'' which basically supplies you with the next thing to work on and think about.

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  • Publication is a bit late to start thinking about your next piece of work. This process should have started much earlier.
    – TimRias
    Mar 17, 2023 at 13:03
  • OK point taken, even earlier than what I say.
    – Tom
    Mar 17, 2023 at 13:46

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