In this quick listen, Roman discusses the various benefits of publishing for engineers/authors; talks about different venues for publishing; and gives helpful hints drawn from his decades of publishing experience.
Roman gives credit to his early mentors, who encouraged his publishing by urging: “If you work hard to develop something — sign your name to it — and present it. Be proud of your work.”
Roman goes through the many personal benefits of publishing:
- It adds gravitas to your resume
- It helps you advance in your career
- It exposes you to a greater range of professionals in your field
- It leads to potential speaking opportunities
- It enhances your written and oral skills
He also believes that publishing is good for your company and your profession, citing such benefits as:
- enriching the literature of your specialty
- developing potential partners for projects
- attracting new talent to your team
Roman gives a powerful example from his time working for PSE&G, a New Jersey gas and electric company. He started a robotics program at PSE&G in the mid-to-late 1980s, developing prototype robotic devices, and then testing them in the field. He published technical papers and articles on the topic leading to speaking opportunities at conferences. In turn, publishing technical papers/article, then speaking on these topics, led to company partnerships (other utilities that co-funded the program) — and then the establishing an organization that held tradeshows and talks on the subject. The organization grew from 45 members to 500 in just eight years. This experience was extremely valuable, not only for Roman — but also for his company. He/PSE&G received six patents, and more than $650,000 in hardware royalty revenues.
Roman doesn’t believe everyone will have that type of success, but “publishing one’s work is a major aspect of being a professional.” He advocates, “I heartily encourage all engineers to bring their ideas and accomplishments to the public forum to enrich our engineering heritage. Stand in front of your colleagues and proudly tell them what you are doing, and what you have done.”
Roman differentiates between publishing technical papers and publishing articles, emphasizing that both have value. He notes that publishing formal papers takes more time and effort; and in some fields (academic, research and technical for instance), they are given more weight. However, Roman points out that articles can be published faster, and often reach larger audiences. In his own career, “articles were just as important as technical papers.”
Roman includes good advice for those dipping their toes into the publishing waters:
- Check with the appropriate people in you organization (your manager and, in some organizations, corporate communications or the legal department) — before you publish
- Give credit to others who were involved with your work
- Make sure not to disclose your company’s intellectual property or critical financial data
- Add publishing an article to your team members’ goals
- Keep a running document of your published articles and papers
Roman also suggests readers consider taking a paper — or series of papers — and turning them into a book. (NOTE: IEEE-USA can be great resource for converting a paper into an e-book — for wider availability and exposure to all IEEE members engineers worldwide. If you have an idea for publishing a career guidance or development e-book (or series) send an email to Georgia C. Stelluto, IEEE-USA Publishing Manger).
Publish Your Work is free for all IEEE members at the IEEE-USA Shop.
Harry T. Roman holds 12 patents and has published more than 550 scientific papers, articles and monographs. The New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame honored him with an Inventor of the Year award for his application of mobile robots in hazardous work environments, and the New Jersey Technology Education and Engineering Association named him a Distinguished Technology Educator. Roman has received several IEEE awards, including a Meritorious Achievement Award, for developing continuing education products for IEEE members, an Outstanding Engineer Award, and a regional Excellence in Teaching award.