Associate Prof James Maclaurin with his ''HelpMePublish'' iPhone app. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Failure to cope with growing pressures to publish their
research can be disastrous for some promising young
academics, Associate Prof James Maclaurin says.
And Prof Maclaurin, of the University of Otago philosophy
department, has helped dream up a new solution to the
''publish or perish'' challenge-a new iPhone app.
This already helps researchers in more than 20 countries to
connect more effectively with academic journals that could
publish their research.
The HelpMePublish project is the brain-child of Prof
Maclaurin, in partnership with Otago Innovation Limited,
Otago University's commercialisation arm.
Young postdoctoral researchers now faced huge pressures to
obtain a first academic job, and building a publication track
record was critical, he said.
''The risk for most of them is just not getting that first
It was not uncommon for junior academics to find they were
facing competition from 100 other ''aspiring academics'' for
Failure to get their research published was ''disastrous in a
career sense,'' he said.
Some young researchers submitted unsuccessfully to a few
journals ''and then give up''.
Academics seeking publication faced a wide range of journals,
whose response to submissions varied widely.
Some top journals accepted only 0.25% of papers submitted,
whereas some accepted 60%.
And, at one extreme, some publications were ''predatory'',
charging applicants to publish their work, without refereeing
''Getting published is increasingly an uphill battle
particularly for young researchers who must choose from
hundreds of journals in their subject area and often find it
difficult to get good information about how those journals
The HelpMePublish app was like ''a marketplace for
information between journals and researcher'', and key
information about acceptance rates and anonymous assessment
of articles was included.