The nature of research is that other people are probably working on similar ideas to you, and it is possible that someone will beat you to publishing them.
Posts Tagged ‘writing’:
This is a guest post by Gregori Kanatzidis from SpanDeX. Tables are a tricky business in LaTeX. Tables typically have their own formatting, and worse, are usually created in other applications. The commands and packages provided with LaTeX go some ways to making tables easier to use, but the clunky nature of the syntax make tables one of the worst parts of formatting a document. In this post, I’ll go over some of the drawbacks of LaTeX tables, and some tools that exist to make working with tables in LaTeX a bit easier.
I have argued previously that research papers should be posted online at the same time as they are submitted to a journal. Sometimes people claim that journals don’t allow it, which is nonsense. Almost every journal allows it, and many also allow the published version of a paper to appear on your personal website. Today I discovered a new tool (thanks to the IMU newsletter) which makes it easy to check a journal’s policy on this. Check out SHERPA/RoMEO. It’s a very useful tool, but whoever thought SHERPA/RoMEO was a good name needs therapy.
After years of saying that I was going to write a book to replace Makridakis, Wheelwright and Hyndman (1998), I’m finally ready to make an announcement! My new book is Forecasting: principles and practice, co-authored with George Athanasopoulos. It is available online and free-of-charge. We have written about 2⁄3 of the book so far (all of which is already available online), and we plan to finish it by the end of 2012. We hope to make a print version of the book available on Amazon in early 2013. This textbook is intended to provide a comprehensive introduction to forecasting methods and present enough information about each method for readers to use them sensibly. We don’t attempt to give a thorough discussion of the theoretical details behind each method, although the references at the end of each chapter will fill in many of those details. We use R throughout the book and we intend students to learn how to forecast with R. The book has it’s own R package: fpp. This contains all the data sets used in the book, and also loads a few other packages that are necessary to complete the examples. The book is different from other forecasting textbooks in several ways. It is free and online, making it accessible to
Almost every research paper and thesis in statistics contains at least some tables, yet students are rarely taught how to make good tables. While the principles of good graphics are slowly becoming part of a statistical education (although not an econometrics education!), the principles of good tables are often ignored. Perhaps people think they are obvious, although the results I see in papers and theses suggest otherwise.
I asked my research group recently what they wished they had learned before they started work on a PhD. Here are some of the responses.
I’ve happily used WinEdt for all my LaTeX editing for about 15 years and I’ve encouraged my whole research team to use it. But I’m tired of problems with WinEdt that take up my time.
With the constant pressure on academics to publish research papers, there is a temptation for research groups to include “coauthors” who have not really made any contribution to the manuscript. This seems more prevalent in some fields (e.g., the health sciences) than others. Occasionally, I am asked to add an author to a paper that has already been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Forecasting. I am very reluctant to do this as it is hard to imagine how someone could be left off a paper while it goes through several revisions, only to be remembered after the paper is accepted. It looks like a last ditch attempt to get someone a publication rather than a genuine research contribution. Most universities now have an authorship policy. The authorship policy at Monash University includes the following statements. Attribution of authorship … in all cases authorship must be based on making a substantial intellectual contribution to the work described and taking sole or joint responsibility for that contribution or, where appropriate, the work as a whole. Accordingly, authorship must be based upon a substantial contribution and responsibility for at least one, and usually more than one, of the following activities: Conception and design of the project; Analysis and interpretation of research data; Drafting
It’s not a good idea to annoy the referees of your paper. They make recommendations to the editor about your work and it is best to keep them happy. There is an interesting discussion on stats.stackexchange.com on this subject. This inspired my own list below. Explain what you’ve done clearly, avoiding unnecessary jargon. Don’t claim your paper contributes more than it actually does. (I refereed a paper this week where the author claimed to have invented principal component analysis!) Ensure all figures have clear captions and labels. Include citations to the referee’s own work. Obviously you don’t know who is going to referee your paper, but you should aim to cite the main work in the area. It places your work in context, and keeps the referees happy if they are the authors. Make sure the cited papers say what you think they say. Sight what you cite! Include proper citations for all software packages. If you are unsure how to cite an R package, try the command citation(“packagename”). Never plagiarise from other papers — not even sentence fragments. Use your own words. I’ve refereed a thesis which had slabs taken from my own lecture notes including the typos. Don’t plagiarise from your own papers. Either reference
Your best ideas don’t necessarily come while sitting at your computer ready to type. They might come while playing sport, taking a shower, lying in bed, or enjoying dinner at a restaurant. So you always need something to write on to capture the ideas before they float away. For about twenty years I carried a little spiral notepad and pen just for this purpose. When iPods became popular, I named my notepad my “iPad”. Then Apple stole my brand name! Although they were low-tech, my iPads were extremely efficient and functional. In an interesting parody, you can now get a real notepad that looks like an iPad or iPhone! (Click on the image below for more information.) However, I’ve sold out to Apple and use an iPhone, so it makes sense to keep my notes on the iPhone. But the native notepad app is not so useful because it doesn’t sync with my computer. I’d like to jot down some ideas and then have them available on my PC without any re-typing. The native iPhone notepad app does sync with MS Outlook but who wants to use that when there is gmail? I’ve tried about half-a-dozen note taking apps with syncing capabilities and have deleted most of them