Home > Higher Education > The Value of Self-Promotion

The Value of Self-Promotion

By Rachel Connelly and Kristen Ghodsee

One of the biggest myths of academia is that you only have to be smart enough and have good ideas to succeed. Nothing could be further from the truth. For better or worse, the marketization of academia and the persistence of “old boys’ clubs” in universities around the world means that who you know is just as important as what you know. In one study in economics, researchers found that manuscript ratings and acceptance rates were unaffected by the gender of the author, but were affected by “mutual affiliations” of author and journal editors and co-editors.

This is one of lesser-known aspects of the academic world, because so much of your graduate school training will have been about attaining the appropriate knowledge rather than the appropriate contacts. Indeed, some professors will insist that nothing but merit counts, even if they are well aware of realities to the contrary. We believe that it is a cruel disservice to graduate students for advisers not to prepare them for the realities of academia, no matter how much they might wish things were otherwise.

When you do finally get something published (and it does happen eventually), one of the most important things that you can do is send offprints of the article or copies of the book to the senior colleagues in your field. It used to be that when you had an article appear, the journal would send you free copies of the article in its published format, but today most journals just send you a PDF of your article. You can send this .pdf as an attachment via email to your friends and other junior colleagues, but if you really want someone senior to read your work (and then possibility cite it), it is best to print it and send it as a hard copy, with a handwritten note saying something like this: “I am sending you a copy of my latest article. I found your work really helpful while writing this, and I would appreciate any ideas you might have on how to improve my arguments.”

Continued at: http://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2011/07/18/essay_on_importance_of_self_promotion_for_young_faculty_members

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