Beki Grinter

Posts Tagged ‘academic brand’

CVs and webpages

In academia, academic management, discipline, research on March 28, 2010 at 4:02 pm

I was asked to give some students some advice about CV’s and webpages, so here it is.

1) Make a webpage.

Keep it up to date. Just assume it’s part of your professional responsibility, in the same way that you view writing papers, giving talks, etc… Research is a very communicative business, the webpage is another communications medium, its part of your business.

Talk with each other about web pages, many of you have good ones, what works what do you look for in other pages?

2) Make a CV.

While there are conventions (more in a moment) there’s quite a lot of variation in the standard academic vita. Georgia Tech actually has a template, as you can see it’s pretty detailed in what it wants us to include. It does provide a pretty good overview of the various categories of “things” you might want to put in. One thing it doesn’t have (I added it to mine) is sections on media coverage (and more recently one on my blog for highly viewed posts) of your work.

The academic CV (and also in my experience the industrial CV if your recruiting for a research position) can be longer than two pages.

Like the web page, the vita is easier to maintain than to generate. For example, the easiest time to compute acceptance rates for conferences is when you get the email telling you that your paper was accepted (frequently it includes how many acceptances and how many submissions), or when the proceedings are printed (and you need to grab the page numbers for your vita).

Doing it retrospectively means devoting more time when you need it (and when you may have the least time to give), or may even mean you don’t have the information anymore.

Having recently been through the tenure process (in which having a very detailed Vita is a requirement) I offer the following thoughts…

1) Pick a consistent referencing format. You’ll be glad when you have lots of data.

2) Each reference to your work should include all the relevant information, page numbers, conference dates, publisher, etc…
Places might want this, and its easier to have than to find later on. That said, you may not want to share it all. You can always delete things off the CV. I use my GT Vita and take things out (like the grant information) when I share it publicly.

3) Be careful about what you put into each category… if something is really a workshop paper or a work in progress or an interactive demo, call it that and don’t put it into conference papers. I use two different sections. Conference Papers (for peer reviewed, archival etc… conference papers). Refereed Research Reports into which all my non-archival, lightly reviewed stuff goes (workshop papers, interactive posters, etc…)

4) I number my publications. I use a letter/number combination for each type. C.# is conference, J.# journal, PT.# patents, B.C.# book chapters, …. there’s no fixed scheme for this, I looked around and drew on letters that seemed to be commonly used. Why did I do this? The research and teaching statements. I cite my work in my research statement, and it’s easier to just cite the resume rather than having a reference section in the research statement.

Oh and… I order mine oldest first, J.1 is the first journal paper I published. Why, if I go newest first then what C.1 is changes pretty regularly which means that all my other materials need updating. Curious about why those who do newest first lists do so.

5) Record your reviewing service/community service. I record EACH piece of external service I do. Did I review for CHI 2009, I record that. Was I an AC for CHI 2010, recorded that. For journals I have tended to add journals as I review for them rather than recording each time I review for them. Other service I record includes workshops organized (I think I added that section to the GT Vita, but I saw other people doing it )…

6) Don’t panic! If you look at the CV’s of your advisors/senior colleagues you might be a bit alarmed by the length of the document. Believe me it doesn’t stop as you go on… the key thing to remember is your CV. It’s a record of your accomplishments. They’ll all be different (and if you don’t think that a format is working for you add what you need to make it work better… ). A CV can be a way to help focus though, focus on fleshing out the important categories. If I have one suggestion, look at senior colleagues/advisors/etc… CV’s as a way to see how much information you’ll be managing in the future, that will help you decide on the format for your references…

7) Underlining. Some people underline their name in a list of authors so that people can see where they are on the paper. Online that suggests a link… so you might want to do something different on the web pages.

8) Use readable fonts. There’s nothing less desirable than reading a 5 page research statement in Calibri, or a 40 page Vita in Papyrus. Yeah, really. Remember it’s about communications and you don’t have to crush everything on to two pages.

hope this helps,

Some great examples include:


What’s in an Academic Name

In academia, academic management, discipline, research on February 1, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Pick the name you publish under wisely.

Why do I say that.

In the days of citation counts and impact factors it’s actually relatively important that you can be “found” in publication searches.

I chose Rebecca E. Grinter to publish under. I chose it because it was, and remains my legal name. When I married (the most likely time that the name would change) I was detered by being a resident of one country and a citizen of another, I decided that the pain of changing my surname legally with multiple governments was not worth it (hmm, I wonder whether I could legally be two different people, one in the U.S. and one in the U.K. another interesting experiment with international law…). I’m also rather attached to the name Grinter, not just because I am a keen family historian, but because it’s relatively unusual. I am frequently the only one in the phone book, and a Grinter event (i.e. meeting another one) is quite rare so always fun.

I chose the E to avoid the problem that R. Grinter would create. That would be the other Dr. R. Grinter, or as I know him, Dad. Of course, I get extra publications if you search me as R. Grinter, so I encourage everyone who is doing a citation count of me for any reason to search R. Grinter. But, then of course, there are the times when my “E” gets dropped, so I end up needing to search R. Grinter to find my own citations. Initials, for all their distinctiveness, seem to create their own problems.

And then there are the publications where I am B Grinter. I’m B Grinter because I go colloquially by Beki (there is one person who calls me Rebecca, I know her as Mum). So if someone writes up the results of a workshop and (kindly) puts my name on it, then frequently it ends up as B Grinter, unless I can intervene and switch it over. This also turns out to matter for my H-index. I wish that my nickname started with the same letter as my official publishing name.

I think now I wished I’d started with Beki Grinter as my non-de-plume for academic publications. It took me a while to realise that it doesn’t have to be your legal name… although I dunno why I thought it had to be my legal name.

I think it’s better if its plausibly a name by which you are known. For example, I think it would be a little odd if I switched to publishing under the name Paul Erdös. Although I have some colleagues whose Erdös number would improve. I think what matters more is that it’s distinct and it’s consistent. Distinct helps people find you, and that’s hugely useful (it’s an academic brand if I’m honest). Consistent helps with time. An academic career is built over time, and having the ability to find people’s earlier works if you find their later ones is really useful. There are likely ways to mitigate this, I like how some people move their former surname to their middle name, and others just let people know on their websites what publications belong to them.

But names are not just academic brands, they are personal choices. But I can imagine a variety of reasons to want to change your name, particularly at marriage….

I guess this started out as a reflection on publishing name. Distinct, consistent, and something plausibly connected to the author seem like good criteria for deciding what name you want to publish under.