Saturday, December 06, 2008

Le Deluge

I'm in a new place. For the first time in my career, I have gobs of data. Over the last couple of years, with the help of all my students, I have amassed a couple of enormous data sets. I've got this data-gathering thing down.

Faced with all these data demanding to be analyzed, written up and published, I have a new and different challenge. I need to decided which of the hundreds of different papers I could potentially write with all these data I actually will write. In some cases it is obvious that I need to write a particular paper. For other potential papers, it is fairly obvious that the opportunity cost would be higher than the benefit. This still leaves a vast middle ground.

I need to figure out how to think about how many, and which, papers to try to publish soon, which to present at conferences, get feedback, then publish, and which could be filed away in case I ever decide they are important.

Some of this last group I will use as motivational tools for my students, saying in effect, "I will put the time in to get the project you worked on published if you do a particularly good job moving the process along, and I will make you an author on the paper." Relatively few of my papers do I expect to be co-author on. Most I will need to include advisors, collaborators, students, or some combination thereof.

What is clear is that between now and next August (when I will move to Germany) I need to write about two papers a month, which is about two papers a month more than I am accustomed to writing.

No comments: