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December 15, 2014 / playforth

The year’s midnight

candle-179298_640A quick review post as we – unbelievably – approach the end of another year.

My goals for the year were:

1. Have a paper accepted for at least one more publication or conference

I spoke at two big international conferences this year (Open Repositories 2014 and the UK African Studies Association conference), very different experiences but both enriching and surprising and difficult and fun.

2. Be more strategic (and cynical?) about my role at work and what I want/can afford to give to other people and teams. Stop being in denial about the politics involved.

No, still crap at this. I’m more aware of the politics perhaps, but no better at navigating my way through them.

3. Set aside some time every week for personal writing/publishing admin

It hasn’t been as regular as every week, but I’ve been slightly more organised about keeping records of submission, publication etc. I still want to be submitting more, and also just producing more new work. But inspiration hasn’t visited very often this year.

4. Be less self-critical and learn to understand that even if my work is target-driven and subject to competitive benchmarks, how I feel and what I can cope with is not.

I think I’m doing better here. I’m definitely more impressed than critical of what I’ve achieved this year, when I look back on it, and I haven’t been afraid to speak up when I’m struggling. Not that it makes much difference to the workload or to what’s expected of me. Sometimes it seems like the only way to deflect work is to be so rubbish and unreliable that people just stop asking you to do things, and I’m still a bit too conscientious to embrace that particular approach…

Professional high points of 2014:

1. Helsinki and OR 2014 – intensive and useful learning and networking in a beautiful city, a staggering amount of coffee, rain, light nights, Moomins, boats, card games, and presentation nerves and problems overcome if not completely averted.

2. Helping to run an e-discussion on open access – including overcoming my Skype phobia and learning so much more about African and Asian contexts for repositories, OA policies, copyright etc.

3. ASAUK 2014 – meeting really useful contacts and giving a full-length paper, great feedback and follow-ups, first insight into conference practices and styles from academic disciplines rather than library, OA and tech areas.

4. South Africa and researching digital knowledge sharing – this research/Foresight project has been a low point in terms of the sheer amount of work, out-of-my-depth feelings and ten hour flights, but in terms of new experiences it’s been amazing. The people I met in Centurion and throughout the project were so friendly, interesting and generous with their time, experience and ideas. Facilitating at two workshops was exhilarating, fun and sharpened my skills and confidence. I didn’t see much of South Africa, but enough to know that I want to go back, for more food, drink, wildlife, storms, and more history, contrasts and new friends… The writing has been tough, surprisingly so considering I’m supposed to be good at this kind of thing. At the time of blogging we’re still revising the main report after peer review comments and the outputs will be published in early 2015.

Looking forward to next year’s challenges!


One Comment

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  1. tmorsecode / Dec 15 2014 2:44 pm

    Love your #4 — a valuable lesson we all could learn!

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