Are You Feeling Lucky?

I’m a very lucky boy. Not only do I have the greatest job in the world but I’m in Portland this week for a panel at the annual ACRL Conference. The panel, Limited by Search: The Need for More Effective Ebrowsing Environments, includes some really smart people (Nina Clements @biblioscribbler, Kate Joranson @KateJoranson, Steve Van Tuyl @badgerbouse, Emily Gore @ncschistory and Sarah Falls) and I’ll be talking about luck; or more formally serendipitous discovery in the research process. While luck is usually seen as a series of good or bad chance encounters, and rarely associated with research, the wonderful thing called “science” shows that it’s actually a behavior, or an attitude that affects the way people view themselves as lucky or unlucky. One of the key aspects of feeling lucky is a prepared mind.

Dans les champs de l’observation le hasard ne favorise que les esprits préparés. (In the field of observation, chance favors the prepared mind.) – Louis Pasteur

You need to be ready to discover. And, you bear the responsibility for being prepared for that moment called “luck.” I think luck in research is a catalyst for innovation. My simple definition of innovation is the ability to create new things by being exposed to a broader and deeper set of existing things. SSRN’s goal is to be the broadest, deepest set of existing things in SS&H, and, hopefully, we make you lucky.