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The Data Backlog

Data can have a tendency to pile up, and Duffymeg at Dynamic Ecology wonders how investigators prioritize which manuscripts they work on first — and how that prioritization changes over time.

As a graduate student and as a postdoc, she writes that she would first work on what she considered to be the most interesting studies followed by those she thought had the best chance of getting into a top journal. As a faculty member now, she says that manuscripts with a student or postdoc as the lead author get pushed up the queue, but that means others then get left by the wayside.

"Manuscripts that do not include students or postdocs as coauthors are currently languishing near the bottom of my manuscript to do list, and it makes me wonder if/when I will get back to them," Duffymeg adds. "In this case, results are going unpublished due to lack of time. I really wish this wasn’t the case, but I’m not sure of what to do about it."

At his blog, DrugMonkey adds that he prioritizes his manuscript list not only by interest and by how it will help his trainees, but also by the grant cycle. "If there is a chance of submitting a manuscript now, and it will have some influence on the grant game, this is a motivator for me," DrugMonkey writes.