When I was coming to the end of my PhD, I worked at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. In the midst of lots of other stuff, I published an article about the death of Sir Douglas Haig – which you can find on JSTOR. I was then asked to contribute a brief article to the Haig Society journal. I did so – with pleasure – but I made what in retrospect looks to me like a mistake. Instead of summarising what I had already written in a shorter format for a different audience, I used some of the research I hadn’t been able to fit in on Haig’s statue. The result was a short article of (ahem) some quality – I thought so then and, recently reminded of it, I think so now. But the problem in academic terms was that this got me absolutely no credit at all. I’ve put up a slightly adapted version of the paper as a new page in the column on the right for you to see. Why post it up here? First, because if I’m not going to do anything else with it, I want the research to be accessible somewhere. Second, because I want readers’ advice – do you think that I could adapt this/expand it and, with full disclosure that a version has previously appeared, get it into a journal (and if so, I guess it might have to disappear from here)? Third, as a warning to all those with PhDs in progress: you have very limited time on your hands – as much as you may be flattered by having your expertise sought, you need to be very careful about how you focus your efforts.
A cautionary tale