Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ideas are safe

There's a Hollywood stereotype about ideas in science being stolen, and people having to be terribly careful about guarding their ideas. In some areas this might be not entirely untrue. But a recent comment by Steve Bloom points to what is much more my own experience -- your ideas 'safe'.

This actually goes over to being a problem. Your idea, even after you publish it and want people to be looking at it and using it, may not attract attention and get used. Your main problem is not to protect your ideas, but to get anybody to pay attention to them.

For the paper Steve references, it actually fits very well with an idea I was developing during the 24 hour contest I mentioned. So the good news for Steve is that I'll definitely be investigating and discussing the paper fairly thoroughly. The bad news is that since it ties to that idea of mine, I won't be delving in to it until I go back to my own version -- March/April. I'm currently working on a different notion for publication, one that I started longer ago. Making good progress now, but that also means I'm not doing as much for the blog. Only so many hours for my non-(day job) activities.


Steve Bloom said...

Thanks for taking this up, Bob. A few months wait is as nothing. I'll be very interested to hear about your angle on this. BTW, it looks as if one of the co-authors (Kravtsov) has done a degree of follow-up, although what I can see of it is a bit hard for me to follow (partly my ignorance, partly opaque writing).

Just so I'm clear on this point, you also do "extra-curricular" papers?

Penguindreams said...

I've written a few extracurricular things (not counting my blog and Usenet writing, which there's more than a few examples of). J. Geological Education and Bulletin of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, for instance.

The ones I'm referring to, though, are my first ones of trying to publish in the more seriously reviewed literature outside of work. There'll probably be a blog note or two on the process :-)