Towards a More Perfect System of Scholarly Statistics

A darn-near perfect post on ROK Drop about Marilyn Monroe’s trip to Korea in 1954, along with a stunning book I am reading about Gustav Mahler and his relationship with his ambitious wife Alma Schindler, got me thinking about Ted Williams and how he handled pressures of various kinds.

And thus I returned to an old thought about Jack Kerouac and the need for a a more perfect sytem of writerly and scholarly statistics.

Here are a few considered thoughts, based upon a certain 60-day period of my life, whereby that system might be further explicated.


Period covered: December 2009-January 2010

Words Published in December:17,388, resulting from publication of two (2) articles in Acta Koreana (8700 words) and China Quarterly.(8,688 words)

Words Published in January: 3153 words, resulting from publication of one (1) article in Korean Quarterly.

How to interpret this data, then?

Perhaps we could start with a complaint from a managerial standpoint: clearly I suffered a serious drop-off in production from December(17,388 words published) to January (3,188 words published) “But,” you might say, “timing is difficult to control in the realm of publication,” to which we could respond: “All the more reason to have more stuff in the pipeline at any given time, in an effort to avoid such drop-offs.”

Perhaps, in the interests of building a more positive profile, we might focus less on the month-to-month fluctuations and more on the aggregate figures. Thus, for the time being, let’s look at things in two-month aggregates.

In the 60 day period from December 1 to January 30, I published 20,541 words in three articles, making for a rough average of 342 words published per day. Thus my published per day (ppd.) average was 342 (I would make it more baseball-like by adding a decimal point, but I won’t see it at .342.)

So, if I averaged 342 words published per day, did anything else happen? Sure it did:

Articles Accepted in January: Korean Studies [12,153 words].

Aha! So although my production of actual published text suffered a drop-off in January, I was able to score a kind of partial success with the acceptance of an article in one of the two top Korean Studies journals. Perhaps my stats can be mitigated somehow?

Well, in order to embrace this idea, we need a new statistic: Words accepted to words published ratio (wa/wp ratio).

Now, in the case of Dec.-Jan., I published 20,541 words and had 12,153 words accepted for publication.

20,541/12,153 = .592.

Thus, my wa/wp ratio for Dec.-Jan. was .592.

Now, this is a number to watch, for, if it is kept close to 1, or exceeds 1, such statistics would ultimately “assure” that production levels would at least remain stable. So for the time being, a wa/wp ratio of 1. is my goal.


Articles published 3

Degree of difficulty avg. 2.0 [will explain another time]

Words published: 20,541

ppd. average: 342 [words published per day]

Articles published per month avg. 1.5

Words accepted for publication: 12,153

wa/wp ratio: .592 [words accepted/words published]

Articles submitted: 1

Articles rejected 0

In a subsequent post, I would like to further speculate or dissertate on aspects such as “degree of diffiuclty,” how to discern progress on unsubmitted manuscripts, and the Matterhorn of the matter, how to gague and assess progress on book manuscripts from a statistical perspective. At end the end of the day, who needs “Excel” anyway? Is there something wrong with graph paper?

Thoughts from readers as to the efficacy of all of this, or ways it might be improved, are of course welcomed.

Marilyn Monroe in Korea, 1954 -- for an amazing photo essay on this trip by ROK Drop, click the picture

And, if statistics of another type are what you’re after, along the lines of some fabulous East Asia content, don’t miss this big news page (via QQ) on China’s big GDP-gasm that is surely going to arrive when the economic numbers for first quarter 2010 emerge and China gets another chance to ask itself “Did we really beat Japan?” Victory as Defeat this isn’t!


  1. Now if I could just find some pictures of Bob Hope in Pyongyang after the UN forces captured the city. I do have a picture of Bob Hope in Wonsan though.

    1. Absolutely great stuff, GI, I really very much enjoyed the Monroe post and I would love to see Bob Hope in Pyongyang. Somehow I imagine the purposes of his visit wasn’t so much as to do Loren Maazel-style “cultural diplomacy” as to entertain the troops…

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