Monday, March 12, 2012

Math in biology manuscripts

Steps for co-authors helping out with the math on a manuscript: 
  1. look at equations (and text), dig up references;
  2. figure out the equations are wrong;
  3. try to figure out why they're right;
  4. fail;
  5. start to write email explaining your logic about the (potential) mistake (don't fill in recipient at this stage);
  6. find your mistake;
  7. discard draft email;
  8. repeat 1-6 until step 6 fails;
  9. fill in recipient and send;
  10. rinse and repeat, try not to look like a douche 
Step 10 is the hardest.  I suppose failing at step 2 is eventually the way out.

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