When we spend more and more time in academia, it is common to find that so many grad students, postdocs, and even young faculties are obsessed with paper publication and chasing it as utmost goal. Surely say, I also thought in such manner when I started my grad study several years go. However, over time, I now see things very differently.
Long story to short, we should chase idea not paper. It didn't take long time to realize that paper is just a written embodiment of ideas, which is the soul and core of our entire business of research and intellectual endeavor. Also, authorships like first, contributing, and corresponding things are basically formalized gibberishes in this sense - what matters at the end of day is who proposed the idea and how that idea survives and contributes to the field. I now believe that researchers, particularly those who hope to remain in academia, should be trained and train themselves to become an idea proposal not a hard worker. It is very common scene that many students with good publications diminish into nowhere after their graduation - or shut off from their creative advisors or colleagues.
This is a grave challenge regarding the healthy academic environment. Funding sources and academic recognitions suppose to award ideas and accomplishments that benefit societies and expand the border of our knowledge - not publications or hard work (if somebody hopes to be awarded by hard work, there are many better-fit places such as construction site et al). Probably in the future, we should try harder to raise the next generation of thinkers and idea proposers rather than mindless hard workers who only chase papers. We should promote creative thinkings and out-of-box ideas, and actively de-promote hard workers without good spark of creativity even though with good publications. We should chase stars not shadow of them.