While tediously compiling a list of scientific publications that chance to have my name in the authors list (I have to apply for a career advancement and apparently the committee will scrutinize the hundred-page-long lists of that kind that all candidates submit), I discovered today that I just passed the mark of 1000 published articles. This happened on February 18th 2016 with the appearance in print of a paper on dijet resonance searches by CMS. Yay! And 7 more have been added to the list since then.
This unexciting datum caused me to ponder once more on the abstract value of such indicators as the number N of authored articles, the number H of authored articles with more than H citations, the number of articles with the diphthong "ou" in the title, or the like. Whether they tell any story about my value as a scientist, or about my capability of infiltrating prolific collaborations, it is for you to judge. To me, having my name on a scientific paper means that I, at the very least, was given a chance to argue about its contents and expose any shortcomings of the results. 

Did I read all those 1007 papers ? Well, I leave you the chance to guess. I can tell you that I was charged by my experiment to explicitly review a good portion of them (about 250) before publication; that I was charged by my experiment to operate an internal scrutiny of the results of 40 of them; and that I took part in the actual editing of the text of some 40 more. Plus, a few hundred other articles contain results that employ algorithms or software tools I helped develop. And nearly all of the articles have used data collected by detectors I helped build, test, operate. The above, I think, indeed makes me a good-faith author of those publications. 

Coming back to the indicators: you probably know that the number of citations that a scientific publication receives (by other publications written by acknowledging colleagues, or by cousins or brothers-in-law, or by the authors themselves) is considered a valid indicator of the impact of the work. If that is true, I have to notice that of those 1007 articles, 67 received three or less citations during their life span -and I have been careful to remove from the count articles that have been in print since 2014. 10 of them received zero citations! The impact of those publications is arguably null. Let me randomly cite a few of them here, as a sort of "hall of shame" of disposable research. I know this might upset my co-authors, and infuriate the editors of those texts, but... Well, it's simply the truth, and anybody with a SCOPUS or Web of Science account can verify it.

Study of B-0 -> J/psi K-(*)0 pi(+)pi(-) decays with the Collider detector at Fermilab, published in Physical Review Letters 88 (2002) 071801. Well, that's too bad this article did not get cited: it is a honest work. Probably the authors of similar more recent studies just overlooked it.

- Comments and Reply on: "Study of multi-muon events produced in p (p)over-bar interactions at root s=1.96 TeV", published in European Physical Journal C 68 (2010), 119. This is an example of the kind of publication that could have been spared. Comments and reply... I know the heart of the matter was a controversial one at the time (the so-called "multi-muon events" got headlines around the world when CDF published a complex study showing a mysterious effect in November 2008), but I think this kind of information might benefit from other media supports.

- First performance studies of a pixel-based trigger in the CMS experiment, published in Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A570 (2007) 271. I did participate in the writing of this article and I'm sorry to see it at the bottom of my publication list. On the other hand, to be honest it was a study with a very high chance of being outdated soon, by more exciting datasets we collected soon thereafter.

In addition to these titles, I of course could list here a few "proceedings" papers I wrote after attending to conferences. It's annoying, as I did write them myself, and they are generally -I must say- pretty good! But who cites a proceedings nowadays ? Well, you never know. For instance, I do have a proceedings paper with 35 citations! It was a description of the muon system upgrade of the CDF experiment, which apparently filled a void -nobody had published any technical paper describing that new part of the CDF detector before the start of Run 2 in 2001, and many CDF II publications chose to reference it in their summary description of the muon detector. 

In conclusion, do I feel the ridicule of my humongous publication list ? I do. Do I feel proud of those articles ? Well, I do, too, although not of all of them. Do I think I could have spent my research time better in the past ? It depends - if it was a matter of doing more interesting things, maybe; if it was a matter of maximizing the number of citations, I doubt it...