Monday, July 20, 2009

The Lips and Assholes Paper

I've spent a large part of my day writing a manuscript from using data obtained from graduate school and I'm ready to explode. I blame this on two things: (1) Half of this paper is negative data and (2) The data is what I consider "left-overs."
Writing a paper half-full of negative data sucks ass for the obvious reasons. It is generally not as interesting as a paper based on positive data and, unfortunately, it takes a lot more effort to write. Plus, it seems like you are constantly justifying why the data is important which makes me feel a little more like a used car sales person than a scientist.
What's worse than writing about negative data is the fact that this paper seems to consist entirely of left over data. I previously hijacked a portion of the results and placed them into a paper that was recently accepted. Obviously this was a good idea, but now I am left with a hodge-podge of data that is related, but difficult to make into a cohesive story. The results outline I put together with my grad advisor regarding this paper seemed like a good idea at the time, but translating that discussion into a paper is not going so well.
I am so freaking irritated. I keep reminding myself that writing is a frustrating process, but I still want to smash my laptop.


Epicanis ( ) said...

Plus, now you've committed a bait-and-switch with the blog post, since you made me eagerly click because the title of this post made me think it was about a scientific paper on the topic of "hot dogs"...

(insert finger-wagging motions and "tsk, tsk" noises here).

Good luck on the paper anyway though. Just keep reminding yourself of how good the relief will feel when you finally finish.

EcoGeoFemme said...

That sounds sucky. I'm trapped with never ending revisions that are making me HATE. Perhaps negative data are worse. Sorry.

ScientistMother said...

Awesome PI is constantly informing me that there is NO SUCH THING as negative data. Data is Data. I am trying to embrace this approach as I think it will keep me more balanced / level headed with the results of experiments.

That said, it drives me freaking bananas when I don't get the result that I want (ie protein X does not pull down protein of interest) and she responds with "excellent now we know they don't interact". At the same time, its true. Although before I would've referred to it as being negative, I did learn something from it. PoI may not be involved with Protein X so lets move on to Protein Y...

Not sure if any of that helps, but hang in there...Remember you're a ROCKSTAR (I"m totally saying that with fonz thumbs!).

tideliar said...

Ah, bollocks it. Throw it away. Damn publications!

Thomas Joseph said...

Awesome PI is constantly informing me that there is NO SUCH THING as negative data.

True. Data is data. If your experimental design was valid, and the data you collected was sound, then you will be able to draw conclusions on your system, based on their results.

microbiologist xx said...

Epicanis - mwah, hah, hah. :) It will be a relief when I finish this paper.

EGF - Yeah, never ending revisions don't bring out my most positive self. I just went through that last year and I did not enjoy it.

SM - It does help. I agree, data is data, but I do think that some data is negative. Not in a sucking black hole kind of way, but in a the answer to the question was no kind of way. I think it is good to publish negative data, because like you said, it does provide information, but writing about sucks ass.

tideliar - I would love to.

TJ - I totally agree.