Field of Science

Reviewing your own literature

While writing a review paper, it was necessary to read several of my own research papers of circa 20 years ago to refresh the old memory. This is an interesting exercise. In doing so you might cringe at your own naivite and premature conclusions. You might find that subsequent studies in the field have trashed your best ideas. Or you might find that your studies have stood the test of time fairly well, that they still are sound biology and a good reflection on your work. In this respect the Phactor is feeling OK; these were good field work on a little studied group. What is more interesting is to see how your papers are getting cited by other authors. Chased down three publications cited as more or less supporting some of the conclusions reached in my own papers. All three were actually citing my papers, so these were sort of secondary citations, by a third author. Then there's always the "say what?" citation, where you wonder what they were reading. Can't find anything in those papers that might have been so misconstrured either. So that's on them and their scholarship, not on me. And yes, it does help to refresh the memory. Two publications had become confused in my memory, and it helped sort them out before making a mistake. But now the eyes are a bit glazed and focus wanders. Need another dose of caffeine perhaps, or at least a walk around to get out of this mid afternoon daze.

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