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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Publishable?

The question of publishable results has come up this past week. The original project that my thesis topic is based on has two sets of data. One is good, the other is not great - in fact, it sucks. All is not lost - it can still be reduced and analyzed, and it'll still be used in my thesis (and thank God I have the good data set and two other projects that worked out).

I know that the crappy data isn't publishable - there are too many holes in the data acquisition and reduction process. However, I'm wondering if I can use the decent data set for a paper on its own. The problem is that this data set is much smaller than the other, and I'm just not sure if there is 1) enough to say about it and 2) a point to publish it besides just adding another paper to my name.

Any comments? How do you decide if something is publishable or not?

4 comments:

  1. My advisor tends to only want to publish awesome stuff. Result - his work is respected. However, I have a shitty pub record....I don't have much advice for you, it's such a tradeoff....

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  2. PD - I know what you mean! I think I'd rather have a smaller number of good publications than a large number of sub-par ones...but what do I know? LOL

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  3. I'm a little late on this one but here's my take: if the results you get from the small, good dataset show something interesting that could be useful for people to know, then go ahead and publish it. It could be just a short article and you can always point out that the dataset was small and more data/analysis would be required to thoroughly examine the findings but that it looks promising. I don't think there would be anything wrong with that.

    The problems start when people just publish whatever they're doing regardless of the relevance and quality of their work, just to have their names out there. As long as your stuff shows good potential and isn't rehashing someone else's work, it's ok if you don't have anything super kickass to report every time.

    That's my longwinded way of saying if it turns out good, go for it :)

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  4. Can you make a good story out of the first data set? It doesn't matter if it's small, it matters if it's interesting and if you learned something. You might consider publishing a communication instead of a full-length article, depending on your field.

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