Sunday, March 10, 2024

The Thrill of Seeing Your Name in Print is Gone

 In the 1980's and 1990's when I got a paper accepted to a journal or conference  it seemed important to see it in print. Having a paper accepted was nice, but it didn't seem real until I held the conference proceedings or journal in my hand. I can't imagine that now.

Random Thoughts

1) Now when a paper gets ACCEPTED, that's when it's REAL. For some journals the paper goes on their website very soon after that. For many papers  this does not matter since the paper has been on arXiv's for months, so having it on a journal's website (perhaps behind a paywall) does not increase its being out-there anyway. Caveat- there may be people who subscribe to that journal who are not aware of the paper until they get the issue. Then they go to arXiv to get an e-copy.

2) For e-journals there is no such thing as holding a journal in your hands. 

3) There are still some people who want to see their name in print. That was part of this blog and this blog

4) This post was inspired by the following: I had a paper accepted for a special issue of Discrete Mathematics , a memorial issue for Landon Rabern (a Combinatorist who died young). The paper is here (that's the arXiv version). I recently got the journal, on paper, mailed to me. So I got to see my name in print. My wife was thrilled. I didn't care. I don't know if they send a paper copy of the journal to all authors, for all issues,  or do they only do that for  special issue. (My spellcheck thinks that combinatorist is not a word. Or perhaps I am spelling it wrong. ADDED LATER: There is a debate about this word in the comment. Really!)

5) Note for aspiring bloggers: Getting that issue was the inspiration for this post. When you are inspired try to write the blog post soon before you lose interest.

6) Before I got the paper copy I didn't know (or care) if there was a paper copy.

7) I recently asked an editor for a BEATCS column if BEATCS also has a paper copy. He didn't know. That is how unimportant it has become. So why did I ask? I was planning a  blog post on which journals are paper free and which aren't- though I don't think I'll write that after all- to much work, and this post and some prior posts (the ones pointed to in item 3) cover that ground.

8) I wonder for my younger readers: Did you EVER feel a thrill seeing your name in print? Have you ever even seen your name in print? If you don't understand the question, ask your grandparents what in print means.


  1. "My spellcheck thinks that combinatorist is not a word." That's because the correct term is "combinatorialist".

    1. (Bill) (1) thanks, (2) I have heard and seen the term `combinatorist' so the question really is: do we call a word a word if its USED and UNDERSTOOD or if its declared to be a word by.... not sure who.

    2. Wiktionary knows both:

      and additionally "combinatorician" and "combinatoricist", but designates those as "rare". Merriam-Webster, Oxford, and this blog's comment field spellcheck (or my browser's spellcheck?) all know neither of the four. Make of that what you will.

  2. Wiktionary thinks combinatorist is a word, and gives combinatorialist as a synonym.
    But it doesn't give combinatorist as a synonym for combinatorialist.

    Natural language may or may not be NP complete, but it most certainly is a hairy bag of worms.

  3. I generally buy physical copies of any proceedings volumes or books that I contribute to once they're cheap enough. One nice thing about it is when my kids ask me if I know about something as a prelude to "how does x work" and I literally point something I wrote that they hold in their hands, they take me seriously. If only I could get that sort of reaction in more mundane parts of their lives...

    1. I am surprised that KIDS still think physical objects have some kind of value. I imagined that KIDS would be just as happy to find a pointer on the web. Suffice to say, I don't have any KIDS.

  4. Don't take everything you see spellcheck mark as incorrect to heart. Spellcheck doesn't know what stoichiometry is.

  5. (Bill) Indeed- I often point out when spellcheck flags something. If I am not sure I go with them. If I am sure that I am right then I don't change it. I look forward to a blog post where I discuss combinatorists who used to do stoichiometry.