The Productive Researcher

Mark S Reed

£17.99 hardback

£9.99 e-book


Published: 11th October 2017


In The Productive Researcher, Mark Reed shows researchers how they can become more productive in a fraction of their current working day. He draws on interviews with some of the world’s highest performing researchers, the literature and his own experience to identify a small number of important insights that can transform how researchers work. The book is based on an unparalleled breadth of interdisciplinary evidence that speaks directly to researchers of all disciplines and career stages. The lessons in this book will make you more productive, more satisfied with what you produce, and enable you to be happy working less, and being more.

The hardback edition has the title and design imprinted on a fabric cover, hand crafted by a book maker in Yorkshire. It contains spectacular colour photography throughout. Chapters are accompanied by close-up images of trees that build up to the forest metaphor that concludes the book. These are bookended by wide perspective canopy images that accompany the front matter (from which the cover design is derived) and concluding chapter. The overall effect is a touch and feel that makes this a book to savour. 

Mark Reed is Professor of Socio-Technical Innovation at Newcastle University and Visiting Professor at Birmingham City University and the University of Leeds. He has over 140 publications that have been cited more than 10,000 times. He is author of The Research Impact Handbook, which he has used to train over 4000 researchers from more than 200 institutions in 55 countries.

Listen to excerpts on the Fast Track Impact podcast or watch the book launch talk:

Read Mark Reed's Opinion Piece in Times Higher Education about the book:

Value-added working is less taxing

Focusing on your own priorities makes it possible to enjoy an easier and more productive working life, says Mark Reed...

"The Productive Researcher is an entertaining, yet insightful and motivating read that should fit into every aspiring researchers' bookcase and schedule."


"It is hard to think of anyone in academia and research who would not benefit from reading this bold, insightful and empowering book."

"Reed's style is simple and unfussy, empty of false promises and magic pills."

"[This] book, by its presence, highlights the absence of such guides for early career researchers, who already feel under pressure to 'do it all'. Mark's advice gives me the confidence to know that I can work in an efficient, ring-fenced way and still achieve my goals, and that I don't have to be embarrassed about it. Highly recommended."

"The book is just as suitable for someone who is happy with their performance but but wants to claw back time to achieve a better work-life balance as for someone who wants to improve their performance through enhancing their productivity."

"This is an immensely practical book, which shows that it is possible to sustain a top academic position whilst also keeping control of your life away from academia….and keeping your sanity!"


"Thought-provoking, filled with insights, ideas and practical exercises."

"Packed with useful advice and tips, and also useful to share with my PhD students. Pleasant to read, and great annecdotes."

"He writes with a clarity and passion which has engaged me, filled me with confidence and helped in the process of removing the fear and dread I have been facing with the next stage of my research."


"It has been fascinating to be walked through the self-doubts of such a successful person."

"A particular strength of this book is that it comes from deep knowledge and considerable experience of conducting high quality research. The real insight that can only have come from 'having been there and done that’ is very evident."

"This book is a useful and necessary reminder that, in modern academia, we all too often put the cart before the horse. Duty and function can take precedence over the real purpose of a university: to act as a haven for thought, a vital refuge for those pushing at the boundaries of knowledge, a crucible of creativity, and a place to inspire and teach the next generation. And Reed is at pains to say that empathy, collaboration and mutual support are equally important as part of achieving your goals. His book is not a call to encourage selfishness, but rather a plea to make sure that the cart and the horse are properly aligned."

"As a researcher who has recently finished their PhD and unsure about whether to pursue a career in academia or not, reading this book has left me feeling empowered and more confident that I can be a successful researcher whilst maintaining a healthy work-life balance in what is widely regarded as a high pressure and stressful environment."

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