It’s always hard to imagine where you will be, and what you’ll be doing come the end of the year. It is possible, however, to start each year with a few academic goals that you are determined to achieve by New Year’s Eve! The trick here is to be optimistic, but not over-demanding. In other words, goals must be realistic in the time available, but they should also challenge you to work hard.
This year I have set a goal of achieving 10 first-author outputs, with an upper bound of 15 papers overall. Now this might seem rather enthusiastic since I’ve never achieved that many in a year before. But, the year thus far has been rather like how Hollywood movie releases sometimes go for actors, i.e. you film several films over a number of years, before finding that they are all released at the same time. Rather like waiting for a London bus for 15 minutes, before finding that three come along at once. I’ve had three papers out in January, all first author (one co-lead), two more are on the cusp of acceptance (one first author), and I’ve been asked to write two book chapters this year. With other papers in preparation and review, it therefore seems an achievable target.
Second goal – perhaps this is somewhat meaningless, as many people think academic metrics aren’t particularly useful. It’s true, they don’t tell you everything, but I still keep an eye on the h-index now and again. At the moment it’s languishing at four, but at least the citation graph is showing a good trend! By the end of the year I want that closer to ten, which will involve more good-quality paper writing, and good dissemination of existing papers. With a h-index of nearer ten, and with 10+ papers written in the year, I’d be happy with my progress at PhD+4 in December 2018.
Thirdly, I’d love to gain a big research grant and/or a PhD student. I absolutely love teaching and I would be so excited to guide a PhD student optimistically through their studies. I am going to explore collaborative studentships and other opportunities, which would mean that I gain the funding required to attract an excellent student to do their PhD with me. Roll on 2018!