Field of Science

Finish book, check. Well, almost.

The Phactor's real-life alter ego has been a busy scholar of botany. During May, two manuscripts were completed, one start to finish, one finishing up a 3-yr-old project, submitted and accepted for publication at a major journal within 3 weeks and put to bed. Electronic communications make such head-spining speed possible, and if you do not appreciate this then you've never dealt with typed manuscripts, hard-copy photographic plates, and the mail. A third manuscript submitted earlier this year was accepted with revision and those are nearly done. But the big, it's-been-going-on-forever, gorilla-on-my-back project is a book on plant diversity for a more general readership, and it's done, today, well, almost. A nagging little chore remains, and that involves getting copyright permissions and correct attributions for all the figures that do not belong to the Phactor or that are not in the common domain. Hardly had the process begun, and already an undeliverable email has bounced back at me. Doesn't that mean they waive their rights to exercise copyright? And then you find the perfect image, a truly excellent photo, and not unreasonably, the photographer would like compensation, but even modest compensation is out of the question when you have no picture purchasing budget. This means you end up relying on fellow academics to do you a favor. So will the end of June arbitrary deadline set for submission be met or not? Hard to say. But as Douglas Adams used to say, "I love deadlines; I like the whooshing sound they make as they rush by." Of course, publishing a book here in the twilight of books may be a foolish endeavor anyways, but it will still feel like something big was accomplished. Ah, but the Phactor has posted 342 (!) blogs already this year, and everyone knows that's where the action is! Please tell my chair.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations! But please, world, don't give up on books - those wonderful compact worlds between covers that once acquired can be read and re-read and referred to and loaned and shelved and searched out at some later moment of need. And, ProfessorPhactor, please let us know on the big day so that I may rush to my bookseller and share your pleasure and your knowledge (and, I hope, a small glass of bubbly).


The Phytophactor said...

And you didn't mention pressing plants! Try pressing plants between two ipads and see where you get!