Wednesday, August 20, 2014

publish! or somebody else will

I'm a slow writer and thus slow in publishing my research. If I manage t write two papers a year, it was a very good year. While writing I often think that my data is not enough, that I need to do another experiment to make the story round. And I develop a lot of side ideas while writing that seem to be essential for the paper and I need to read a bit more literature about it. Up to now this has not been a problem. I published when I had all my thoughts sorted out. But I always worried that one day somebody else will be faster than me and publish the ideas I had been brooding over for so long before I can.
This scenario just became reality. I'm not surprised, I saw it coming, but still I'm saddened and disappointed about myself. I have a 3/4 written paper on my desk since last year, I've discussed the methods with several people on conferences and well, now one of them used these methods on their systems, which are very similar to mine. My head says: no need to be upset. I had a big head start and did not use it. It is just normal that discussions spark ideas - that's how it is supposed to be. I should learn from their publication for my future work. But emotionally I'm disappointed, mostly of myself, a bit of my colleagues. And I slightly start to panic, as for sure they will have a bunch of follow up papers lined up and maybe they will be faster again to publish. Maybe through this lesson I will learn how to not waste months and months on one paper, but to get my writing tasks done a bit more efficient. I have five papers on my to-do list. Let's see how many I can finish this year!

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