Monthly Archives: October 2012

Learning about writing

I’m collaborating with a colleague in another department, and the plan has always been to write a paper on the work we’re doing. When it started, I suppose I didn’t really think a lot about it, I just assumed I was provided a bit of labour and reagents and that most of the thinking/writing would be done by the postdoc.

Now I’m realising that the share of the work will be more equal as I have more knowledge in the area than he does, and that well, I need to learn how to do this stuff. Not only is the physical work shared, but we’ll share the writing, I’ll write on my side of the field, he’ll write on his, and we’ll share the writing on the combined work that is the project itself.

So basically, I need to be writing right now (and probably not this blog post). Happily, he’s a great help, and has been assigning me the writing in chunks, so that the final paper should slot together in a sensible fashion. He’s given me some of the guidelines for the journal he reckons we should aim for (aim high, if at first you get rejected, you can improve and have another go, in fact, that’s science).

He’s talking about assigning authorship appropriately, and plans to raise this with his supervisor to make sure I’m given all appropriate credit. During his PhD, his own postdoc helped him greatly with writing his first papers, and made sure he was put as first author when his contribution was at least equal to that of the postdoc leading the project. In fact, he wants to raise the possibility of pushing me to first rather than second author on the paper, or at least joint first, but he’ll have to see what his paymaster says about it.

All in all, these carrots are certainly encouraging me to do a lot more thinking about the project, and it’s applications (all nice bits for the paper). I need to do a lot more reading, but I enjoy that part. Pulling the words out of my head to put on the page, now that’s a whole other challenge…

Post Script: I think I need to find new words for write/writing/written, but I think “crafting a paper” would be a bit much, this is one of the things I shall ponder for the next few days…

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