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Weekly Wisdom #70 by Paul Gray and David E. Drew

RECOGNIZE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WRITING THE FIRST PAPER ON A SUBJECT AND WRITING THE NTH ONE. Writing the first paper requires a special knack for originality that few people have. A first paper usually is not very deep, but it creates enough of an impact that others follow your lead and write deep, scholarly works. The advan¬tage of the first paper is that it is always referenced, giving you a long list of citations. If you are fortunate enough to have the knack, you will need to market your output carefully. Journals (and review¬ers) look for the tried and true. Journals, after all, publish almost exclusively on subjects they published previously. Tenure and pro¬motion committees will read the paper and say that it is trivial be¬cause they read the more careful papers that others wrote later based on your idea. It has been our observation that people who write first paper possess a different set of skills than those who write the nth ones and should leave the writing of the nth papers to someone else.

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