When even your own publication list makes no sense

A few years ago, the head of my research group asked if I’d like to help write a chapter for a book. I weighed up the pros: it was an updated version of a previous book (so not too much work), it was invited (so not too many battles with reviewers) and it’s another item to go on the CV. The cons: typically, this kind of article appears in an obscure, closed publication that no-one ever reads or cites. So I said sure, why not and we wrote it.

It’s listed on my publications page at this blog as:

Saunders, N.F.W., Brinkworth, R.I., Kemp, B.E. and Kobe, B. (2010). Substrates of Cyclic Nucleotide-Dependent Protein Kinases. In: Handbook of Cell Signalling (Bradshaw, R.A., Dennis, E., eds.). Academic Press San Diego, 182:1489-1495. [DOI]

and sure enough, if you visit that DOI (and have a Science Direct subscription), you’ll find chapter 182 in the Handbook of Cell Signalling.

I thought no more about it, until I updated my Google Scholar citations page, where I found this:

Substrates of Cyclic Nucleotide-Dependent Protein Kinases
Neil FW Saunders, Ross I Brinkworth, Bruce E Kemp, Bostjan Kobe
2011/4/12
Transduction Mechanisms in Cellular Signaling: Cell Signaling Collection 399
Academic Press

And here’s the link at Google Books. Same article, same editors – but in chapter 41 of a different book: Transduction Mechanisms in Cellular Signaling: Cell Signaling Collection, on pages 399-405.

So apparently, my chapter has been “repurposed” for a completely different publication. Perhaps this transpired in consultation with the research group after I left. Perhaps there’s a long-forgotten email trail in which I agreed to this. Or perhaps we have so little control over our own work that strange things like this can just happen.

5 thoughts on “When even your own publication list makes no sense

  1. Jonathan Badger

    Did you sign away your copyright when you published this? This isn’t an uncommon occurrence in the closed publishing world. If they own your article they can put it in as many books as they like without even informing you…

    1. nsaunders Post author

      Given the publishers involved, it would not surprise me if copyright were signed over :) However, I don’t know for certain; it’s one of those cases where “the boss handles all that stuff.”

    1. nsaunders Post author

      Indeed :) Still, it’s an interesting experience, to discover an article in your name of which you have no knowledge. I’m thankful for Google Scholar.

  2. Larry

    Similar searching informed me that I am an author on the initial paper describing the human genome. With a few thousand authors, it was not really possible for all to be informed, and I was no longer with that research group. It is indeed important to use search tools in order to find these types of “lost” publications. I’d bet it is much more common than most researchers realize.

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