As my REF responsibilities draw to a close (slowly but surely) I have been able to make some progress on publications. There are four new papers in the pipeline, all at different stages of the peer review process. The latest progress though is that a paper submitted to Genes and Nutrition just a few weeks ago has already come back from review, with a set of comments that I feel sure we can address without too much difficulty. I have also written a review article for the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. Although that is ‘my’ journal it still has to go through peer-review and the very close inspection of our Reviews Editor. It will be a bit embarrassing if an invited review for the journal which I edit gets rejected! The other two are collaborative papers, one with Peter Voigt (about to resubmit second revision) and the other with colleagues in London and Milan (first revision under review). These are important papers that could underpin some new research projects for next year.
There are also serious rumblings now about publishing the second edition of my book. The publishers Wiley have commissioned some book reviews to give some guidance on where to focus changes and then it’s off we go. The first edition took me about a year to write and I think the second edition will be about 6 months of effort. Apparently I no longer have to do stuff like drawing my own diagrams and making the index as these things will be done professionally. That’s a relief and I can focus on updating the material. There may even be a cover that reflects the cover, instead of the current spirographic nonsense.
On a different line, I had a chuckle over an article in the Times this morning. Apparently (shock horror!!!) Universities have been prioritising getting research grants over teaching!!! And… it has been going on for years! No way! Who would have thought it? This little article was complemented by a letter by a Prof from somewhere or other (can’t remember name or affiliation) that made some excellent observations about the shift in priorities from well-reasoned long-term research projects towards a short-term focus on just getting the research funding. It was spot on. The thing that frustrates me most at the moment is that nobody in the University seems to really care about the research outcomes anymore. Staff are not rewarded for their achievements in the lab, they are rewarded for feeding the bean-counters and bringing in the money. Research money and the overheads it brings is now essential to pay the bills and the pursuit of knowledge has dropped by the wayside.