Every chemist has the same number of hours in the day, so what makes some authors so much more prolific than others? To find out, ACS Publications has been chatting with some of our most published authors.
We will reveal our most prolific author at the 254th ACS National Meeting & Exposition via an electronic mosaic made up of images submitted by the ACS community, similar to the reveal of 2016’s most read author at the 253rd ACS National Meeting & Exposition in San Francisco last spring. You can help us reveal the most prolific author by submitting your own images (of yourself, your group, sites in Washington, D.C., etc) via social media and using the hashtag #ACSMosaic. Feel free to post multiple images. If you’re attending the ACS National Meeting, be sure to stop by our booth to check if you made it onto the mosaic and pick up a pocket-sized memento to take home.
As we prepare to announce this year’s most prolific author, we reached out to a few other highly prolific authors to learn some of their tips for getting more done.
Productivity Tips From Out Most Prolific Authors
Tobin J. Marks: Occasionally break up your activities, either in scientific subject matter, or work location, or working standing versus sitting. Take a stroll out of doors to get a change of scenery.
Mercouri G. Kanatzidis: Other than my incredible research group members, what keeps me prolific is the belief that we need to communicate to the community what we learn in the course of our research. It is not enough to test and carry out our ideas and experiments. We need to put them in writing for others to learn from or to critique them. My mantra is “you haven’t done it unless you have published it.”
Mark C. Hersam: I try to minimize regular, formal meetings. If my calendar gets too filled with these types of meetings, then I am rarely available for the spontaneous, informal interactions that tend to be the most creative, timely, and productive.
K. N. Houk: I approach every project with a publication in mind. It is partly for me, I love to tell the world what we have discovered, but now mostly for my coworkers, whose fame and ability to prosper in their careers depends on documenting how much they have done and what they have done to change the world. I start thinking whenever I am dreaming up a project, how could we publish this and where? When my students bring me interesting results, I want to start writing it up, even though it may take months or years to finish the project. Thinking about publication sharpens your attention on what is important and what needs to be done, and part of that is combing the literature for relevant things done before. That in itself often leads to greatly focused research—or to learning that the discovery had been made before.
Omar K. Farha: Personally, my productivity really comes from surrounding myself with awesome and brilliant graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and visiting scholars. Definitely, it does not hurt productivity to work on what you enjoy.