Knowing what you know, or rather, what you've written

When I first came to work where I work now, I asked around for the listing of recent publications so I could familiarize myself with what types of work we do. No such listing existed even though all publications are reviewed for public release and all copyright transfer agreements are *supposed* to be signed by our legal office. Long story short, I developed such a listing and I populated it by having alerts on the various research databases.

Now, 9 years later, it's still running and it is even used to populate an external publications area on our expertise search app.

By its nature and how it's populated, there's absolutely no way it could be totally comprehensive and it is also time-delayed. It's probably a little better now with how fast the databases have gotten and because Inspec and Compendex now index all author affiliations and not just the first author.

Anyway, our leadership is on an innovation kick and looking at metrics to see how we compare to our peers and also if any interventions have positive effects. The obvious thing to look at is patents, but that's complicated because policies toward patenting changed dramatically over the years. They're looking now at number of publications - something I think they probably ought to note as part of being in the Sci/Tech business. My listing has been looked at, but that only started in 2003/2004. From here forward the public release database can be used... but what about older stuff? Well, in the old days the library (and the director's office) kept reprint copies of everything published. Awesome. Well, except they're kinda just bound volumes of all sorts of sizes and shapes of articles. I guess these got scanned somehow and counted, but they ended up with a few articles with no dates or citations (title and author but not venue). Three of these got passed to me to locate. They're not in the above mentioned research databases, but we know they were published (as re-prints were provided) and not in technical reports.

The answer? Google. Of course. The first was a book chapter that was cited in a special issue of a journal dedicated to the co-author. The second was a conference paper that appeared on the second author's CV (originally written in 1972 - thank goodness for old professors with electronic CVs!). The third was a conference paper cited by a book chapter indexed by Google Books. BUT to find the year, I have to request the book from the medical library... which I have done.

At least back in the day the leadership understood the value of keeping a database (print volumes) of our work. From at least 2003 until 2012, there was no such recognition. Now that I will be benchmarking us with peer organizations, I wonder if they're in the same boat or if they've keep their house in order with respect to their intellectual contributions?

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