So here's a simple rule for judging whether or not to send your paper to the hallowed "high impact journal". Ask if you have really shown not only WHAT happens, but HOW it happens. The latter is often hard and takes many years. Be honest now!
Yes there are a few articles that escape this rule - often pointed out by colleagues - but they are likely exceptions. The reasons for this are numerous (sexy or newsworthy story, "clout" of the PI and even frank favoritism by editors), but dwelling on this is unproductive. Spend time trying to answer the "HOW" instead...
It seems to me that though people who publish good papers often have a lot of funding, the converse is not always true....
Now this is a first...not sure if this a result of infinite revisions, or if we are actually getting better at this gig...
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In ancient times scientists used to talk about good ideas. Now we talk about "Fundable" ideas....
life was an unending Gordon Conference...discussing Science all day and an open bar every night....
Something to think about..
Whether its designing an experiment, cleaning the house, or playing academic politics (yes, its sometimes necessary because others do it), my basic approach is always the same:
Step 1: Divide the big problem into many small problems.
Step 2: Choose the first small problem and solve that first.
Step 3: Repeat Step 2 for all the small problems. And perhaps the hardest step,
Step 4: Don't stop until all the small problems are solved.
Strangely, I learned this lesson from doing chores. If you are like me and indulge in occasional marathon house-cleaning sessions, glancing at the entire living room at once will drive you nuts (books, papers, clothes, toys scattered everywhere.....). Start by dusting the TV. Think Small.
Emerging from a few months of grant writing, I realize that fall and winter has passed, and today is supposed to be the first day of spring (I think). Not that there are many clues of changing seasons in La Jolla. While the rest of the country turned into an ice block this winter, here it’s been +/- 70 degrees throughout, with people complaining bitterly when it gets 65 (of cold, by the way). Anyway, talking to some colleagues the other day, I realized that my approach to grant writing is somewhat different; and this made me wonder if I am doing things right.
The object of the "Beagle" Voyage in Charles Darwin's journal:
" to complete the survey of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego...to survey the shores of Chile, Peru and some islands in the Pacific; and to carry a chain of chronometrical measurements round the world".
How to Pick a Graduate Advisor
Sometimes while reading a paper I find myself brushing aside a concept or an idea that I feel is unimportant. Often I am right (it needs to be said, some people just have weird ideas). Occasionally however - usually several years down the road after an idea is proven to be right - I find that the writer simply had an insight that my brain was not ready for at that time.
So before you pooh-pooh an idea while reading a paper, ask yourself - "Is the information not important for you, or are you not ready for it?"
Some old ones Reposted...
8/18/13 - A Classification of PI's - find yours' in the list!
7/6/12 - Way to a "Science paper"
5/30/11 - 20/20 Hindsights
9/30/11 - Evolution of a bizzare, new Idea
11/17/2011 - Rationale for curiosty-driven research...
lessons from a 4 year old
1/28/12 - "GTFM" - hilarious article on grant writing!
The PI Blog
This blog exists because my wife seemed a bit tired of being the only recipient of my random pontifications on life and Science for many years; and gently encouraged me to vent in a blog instead. From time to time, I put down thoughts that occur to me as I naiively stumble through a life in Science - bestowed upon me by accident (literally!). Please keep in mind that these musings are rather obvious things of little or no use to anyone, and are certainly not personally targeted in any way, even though they are obviously derived from my experiences. OK, enough said.