Hi everyone! I miss you so much. I'm poking my head above the dark and churning waters of
dispair lecture preparation for just a few seconds to give you a teensy update, but then I need to retreat back into my brain so I can come up with another week's worth of content. How on earth do you people DO this??
It was just about one year ago today that I was off in a distant part of the country, promoting the shit out of myself. One of the stops on my Self Promotion Tour was a visit with an acquaintance who'd just started up his lab several months before, and I remember being super impressed that he already had stuff going on--there were people! And animals! And science!! How did he get going so fast? I couldn't possibly.
And yet, here we are. If you'd been on a self-promotion tour in NJC and come to visit me in my lab last week, you'd have found me in my office, working on lectures. Poke your head around the corner into the lab and you'd see my awesome tech expertly teaching undergrads a technique that she herself learned only a few weeks ago. You'd hear, above the dulcet tones of Pitchfork's most highly rated albums of 2011, the gentle whir/clatter of stir bars going. My awesome grad student would have been at his computer, preparing for his journal club presentation. And down the hall, animal behavior was being recorded--bona fide data collection.
This is happening, people! The feeling is that mix of disbelief, fear, and elation much like that first moment your mom or dad lets go of the seat of your bike and you don't immediately tip over. Unsteady, thrilling, AaaahhhhhIIIIIIII'm dooooooinnngggg iiiiiiiiittttttt!!!!! It is awesome.
Now, this is not to say that every single thing in the lab is up and running--I made a conscious decision to start with the bare bones basics and work up from there. My fancier techniques are still waiting on equipment to arrive, and I know optimizing those will be a struggle. We will tip over more than once, I'm sure. But right now things seem to going relatively smoothly, and with any luck, we can stay upright until this #^$%#%^*#@ class is over.
So there I was, just kicking back in my office and reviewing a manuscript like a good citizen of the scientific community. I liked this paper, which is rare--it was straightforward and didn't try to be too fancy, and seemed like it was headed for an accepted with minor revisions fate--which is REALLY rare. But then, a record scratched--I sat up in my chair and re-read what I'd just seen. "The data from Fig X were previously published in Myself & TheOtherGuy 2011, but we include it here for direct comparison with the current data."
In all of my brief but illustrious reviewing career, I don't think I've ever seen that before. It's certainly possible some manuscripts that crossed my desk have included recycled data, but I'm pretty sure I've never had an author spell it out like that before. Is that even OK, I wondered? Naturally, I didn't keep my thoughts inside my brain, but took them to the twitterz--and what a response I got! You guys and your opinions. I'm too lazy to make a storify for this, but here are some screen shots of your responses. As you can see, most of you gave a conditional "yes," but a few emphatic "no!"s in there as well.
So, lovely non-twittering readers, what do you think? Can you publish your data twice? Have you ever? Did your reviewers comment on it? Comment away!
Big day tomorrow, you guys. It's my first day of school! By which I mean it is the first day of the first course that I will have designed from start to finish. No textbook--just me, 50 undergrads, and whatever I feel like talking about. I'm super excited and super nervous, and just hope that ultimately, my students will agree with me when I tell them how awesome neuroscience is. If you have any teaching tips, I am all ears, seriously.
In addition to spewing my gospel 3 mornings a week, I'll also be (fingers crossed) collecting actual data this semester. Being a new TT professor is so weird! You spend all this time talking to all these different vendors and submitting all these purchase orders, followed by a period of about 2 months where you get about 20 boxes a day, and then all of a sudden you're like, I may in fact have enough stuff here to do a real experiment! It is quite something.
But of course there was this little development over the holidays that's threatening to severely limit my productivity, and that's the matter of planning a wedding for this fall. It's true! I am officially, as they say in France, a fiancée. And truth be told, I am really enjoying it. But curse and bless the internet in equal measures! Do you have any idea the rabbit hole of wedding idea free-association clicking that exists out there? We're less than two weeks in, and already I've spent hours upon hours building Inspiration Boards on Snippet & Ink and Pinterest, curating images of vintage luggage stacks, antique trophy bowl centerpieces, and art deco letterpress invites. It is a time-suckage behemoth at which the likes of Angry Birds merely tremble. These next three months will be a true test to the integrity of my will and dedication of my soul to achieving tenure, for there may be no greater temptation to a to-be-wed girl than a well-photographed pair of Badgley Mischkas.