I took Sunday off completely. First day of not coming in to the lab AT ALL in a very long time. It felt really good. Got my head back in a good space, planted some corn and sunflowers in the garden, took the dog out for a bike ride, spent some quality time hanging out with BH, and really truly relaxed. It was awesome.
It really did my brain some good. So much so that I came in today totally energized to bust out some hot data and also had some time to think through a couple of potential papers that I might be able to get out be the end of the summer. I feel like I've been so busy getting stuff done that I haven't really had time to think for a while. The beast of a manuscript is so close to finished that I can almost taste it. I need one more rep to get it all in order (assuming that rep actually works - trust my luck to have a reagent go bad now). Fuck, this thing has taken FOR.EV.ER. to finish. I feel like once that one's done I'll have knocked down a wall or something and the next ones will roll out a little more smoothly. I feel like they already are. It took years to get the data for the ManuBeast, and months to work out an outline and get the fucking ducks (ducking fucks?) in line. While I'm trying to get that one wrapped up in a nice little bow, I've got visions for two more, and the experimental design is working itself out in my sleep. Geez, why couldn't I have had this kind of mojo with the first one? I am a science machine.
I've been turning over some thoughts on a neat little result that I got a couple days ago. I think it could really change the thinking in my sub-sub-field if my hypothesis pans out. I haven't told GrAdvisor about it yet because the data looked pretty shitty thanks to some equipment failure. But I know what I saw, and it won't be hard to repeat. No sense mentioning it to him until I can back it up with some evidence. So I'm waiting for some more critters and then I'll have at it again. In the meantime, I'm trying to decide whether to roll it into my current ManuBeast, which will no doubt increase the impact of that story, but will delay submission. If this thing sits on my hard-drive for much longer I will self-destruct. It needs to go, and I don't want to wait for another piece of data that will require a refocusing of the Beast.
The second option is to write it up as a stand-alone paper. It's certainly significant enough, and though it's related to the ManuBeast, I'm not sure it belongs in the same story. Also, the finding is important and (I think) somewhat paradigm-shifting in our little corner of science, but I don't know that there's much that I want to/have time to say about it other than "hey look guys, we were wrong about this one thing all along...and now we can start thinking about all those other things differently". I am hesitant to get too excited about this because what the hell do I know, but if I'm right I really think that this could take the blinders off of how we think about this whole system and lead to some cool new stuff.
However, I don't have the time here to see all that through. I gotta graduate. I'd really kind of like to throw this out as a short communication in a fairly visible journal and just get on with things. Someone else can then pick it up and run with it and cite the hell out of it.
There is maybe a third option. I'm considering an in-lab collaboration. Potential In-Lab Collaborator (PILC) has some nice data on other stuff in the same system, and I think that our results complement each other nicely and support an interesting paradigm-shifting hypothesis. We've kind of talked around the relationship between our findings and I'm thinking about maybe rolling them into a co-authored paper. Maybe still just a communication, maybe something a little more substantial.
Not sure though. My hesitations are thus:
- PILC has nice data, but doesn't really know what to make of them. So I'm not sure how cool this paper really would be. Then again, I'm not much better off with my own data at the moment so who knows.
- PILC has insinuated that "maybe you want to keep yours for a first authorship"...I do want a first authorship out of this it's true, but I was envisioning an "equally contributing" first authorship if we roll these into one paper, and I think PILC is trying to tell me that PILC wants sole first author if we collaborate.
- PILC feels the need to get this paper out quickly, even into a mid-tier journal since someone else has the same reagents in hand and is likely observing the same phenomena. (But PILC won't be ready to submit for several weeks, so I've got time to get some good-looking data that could be combined with PILC's.)
- PILC is very opinionated, but lacking a foundation in our sub-field. Sometimes PILC embarrasses PILC's self by throwing out hare-brained hypotheses and conclusions, just because PILC has not taken the time to educate PILC's self in the fundamentals of our field. If we were to co-author a paper together, I can keep it to a minimum in this manuscript...but do I really want to hitch my star to someone else's name that might gain a reputation for crazy? Or worse, sloppy? On the other hand, PILC is moving on soon and won't be sticking around this little corner of science, so do I really need to worry about PILC's reputation down the line? I think probably not.
I really hate all the possessive territorial bullshit that I'm feeling over this right now. It makes me feel greedy and mean and bitchy and cranky. I know I have to play the game. I don't have to like it though. This is probably why I feel so tired.