The most successful scholars in any discipline form a group who all know eachGreat. It's the who you know, not what you know problem all over again. Should I spend more time reading and developing insightful arguments and theories, or making friends at the top? I pose that question with tongue in cheek but honestly, I'm going to have to accept the fact that there will be politics everywhere I go and it's unlikely that I'll ever benefit from any of it.
others' work, monopolize editorial board positions, and tend to inflate
the value of each other's work and that of each other's students such that
papers by those outside the group are denied publication much more than
consideration of quality warrant.
So the biggest pressure as a Ph.D. student aside from getting as many conference presentations under my belt as I can is to publish. I have nightmares about this. Currently I have zero publications. I have two papers under review, one of which has been held hostage by the editors for over a year. I've also got some entries I wrote for an encyclopedia which is way behind schedule but encyclopedia entries count for almost nothing in the wonderful world of academia. Publishing is a difficult process because you can only submit a manuscript to one journal at a time and the review process takes forever. If you escape that immediate rejection, you often get a "revise and resubmit" letter which means a whole lot of work on the manuscript but even that would be a huge success for me at this point in my career. I am watching a recent discussion take place over an academic listserv about open access publishing which is an interesting concept that I sort of didn't understand because I thought the point of peer review was to ensure that what gets published is solid work. But then I read this part of one of the emails: