In an effort to make this letter useful to TI students, I would like to share some of my insights on marketing one’s research. Doing research also means marketing it. This aspect of academic activity is something that I have only recently fully recognized. We may think that our results speak for themselves (and, to a certain degree, they do), but to get them heard we need to market them in a way that is attractive to top-tier journals. A publication in such a journal may be a career-maker (and, unfortunately, a lack thereof can be a career-breaker). How to market our work?
There are two main avenues of attack here. First (and here is where TI Magazine comes into play), we need to keep telling the world about the outstanding research and expertise that Tinbergen Institute possesses. This helps alumni establish collaborative relationships with other academics, thereby enhancing their chances of being heard. Second, we may benefit from realizing the necessity of following the trends and fashions in our fields to discover what the top-tier journals want. It’s the Economics of science— we serve demand. This is no different from the way many successful businesses operate. Keeping track of the latest trends and following academic momentum may be helpful in determining how research should be marketed to get a publication.
You might say that I’m an enthusiastic TI alumnus. The education and scientific training at Tinbergen is truly excellent and is, I believe, second to none in Europe and on par with what the Ivy Leagues in the United States have to offer. The cultural experience that I received in the Netherlands was truly formative. I admire the no-cuddling attitude at Tinbergen Institute— graduate studies should not produce sensitive “snowflakes”. Adversity and criticism are part of the job description. Listening and adapting were part of my response to the challenge. Indeed, self-reliance is valuable wherever one may find oneself. The freedom that I enjoyed as a TI student formed in me a greater sense of responsibility and capacity for independent thinking. The culture of self-reliance, independence and freedom is something that academics in the US and the Netherlands share.
Regrets? None. Ok, perhaps I should have grabbed hold of the chance to take lessons in Dutch-style kickboxing. Holland has produced many legendary athletes and inspiring examples of human potential— Ramon Dekkers, Bas Rutten and Wim Hof.
There is much that the world owes to Dutch culture, and TI is a symbol of Dutch scientific prowess. Keep on going strong, and let’s conquer the academic scene!