13 July 2017

Five years for seven points of data

I was very excited yesterday. I got to add another data point to this graph:

It’s taken me five years to get those seven data points. Five. Years.

It’s not for lack of trying. Each data point depends on me catching a rare event. There’s a limited amount I can do to try to catch those rare events, so this graph is building up slowly. It’s not quite a pitch-drop experiment, but I am seriously wondering if I am ever going to have enough data that I will feel confident about publishing it.

I share this because there are a lot of people fretting about the speed of science these days. People want want fast review, and fast publication. Some are turning to pre-prints for greater speed. But sometimes, try as we might like, some questions force you to take a long, slow slog to get to the answer.

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