As my twenty three affectionate readers will probably remember, I enjoyed a very pleasant week in Kolymbari (Crete) last June, attending the first International Conference of Frontier Physics. Now, after you attend a conference and give there a presentation, you are supposed to produce a writeup of your talk for the proceedings book. So while October arrives unannounced with critically important errands to attend to, I find myself in the need to produce a 12-page document describing the most recent and important results of the CMS experiment.
The deadline? September 20th. Yes, I am past it, but I have been able to negotiate an extension... Which only increases the pressure. In retrospect, it would have been wiser to let the deadline pass and forget about it. But I just can't bring myself to join the reproachable set of professional conference-goers who take the good stuff and omit doing their homework: I simply hate browsing proceedings books with empty front-pages in place of a contribution.
So I am bound to write my piece. Hence my question, to the subset of you who are in the business: do you ever recycle parts of your own articles ?
The question, if you are no scientist, might arise harsh feelings. I can see people frowning: scientific papers should contain original material, so what is this clown talking about ? Does he have no shame ? Ok, ok, let me explain. First of all: for sure some parts of a paper on the results of a particle physics experiment are routinely recycled even by the experiments themselves: the description of the experimental apparata, for instance. But here I am talking of chunks of text describing analyses and results which were new in April - when I wrote my last Proceedings paper, for the 50th Bormio conference on Nuclear Physics - and are still interesting enough now to make it into my summary, maybe with a different slant and a projection to a future which is better known now (because e.g. of the knowledge of how much data has been taken now, or recent theoretical developments). Further, some of the analyses were redone by changing little of the methodology, so it makes sense to re-use parts of the explanations I gave in the earlier paper.
In the end I feel I am not doing anything bad -and my papers are usually well-written, at least. Also, one should not forget that even proceedings papers are screened by my experiment, so I certainly can't write a sloppy article and hope it gets published anyways. What would be the purpose of that, anyway ? I certainly do not need one more publication for my career (before you try arguing otherwise, consider: I have signed over 700 scientific publications, so one more or one less is really background noise).
So, despite the fact that I value everybody's opinion here, I am more interested in hearing the opinion of those of you who routinely write proceedings papers. Did you miss deadlines and got the empty title page ever ? Do you recycle text routinely or avoid doing it altogether ? Thanks!
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