Field of Science

Doing science vs. writing science

These days I am writing up a paper on some metagenomics research I have been doing while at Michigan State. It is hard and takes time. For me. Not so for everyone that I know, and that's good for them, because writing is an essential part of being a scientist*. Doing the research alone is not enough - writing about it is of course part of the process.

However, it has made me think that maybe this situation is not the best of all possible worlds. Rather, I find that I am better at making models and analyzing data than anything else, while some other colleagues are really good writers. So, why shouldn't we split the tasks among us? Someone collects the data, I do the analysis, and someone third writes up the manuscripts. That would suit me just fine.

The analyst is always first author, right?

* By the way, I like to say 'scientist' rather than researcher. I once conducted a poll asking random people which term they would prefer, and the one airport security person I asked said that he liked 'researcher' better, because 'scientist' made you think of 'evil'.

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