Well, that was a productive meeting. Dr. Hand-Waver and I sat down with all the data and talked about what could be used in a publication and what couldn’t.
For the last three years, I’ve been operating under the assumption that this would be a methods paper. After all, I made a significant change to existing methodology–one that has involved a lot of bug fixes. (Still working out the kinks even now.)
Alas, Dr. Hand-Waver says it’s too late for that. See, I came up with the most major change back in my second year, while Dr. Hand-Waver was on sabbatical. At the time, she was helping her collaborator’s post-doc do something with a related phenomenon… and they took my methodology and ran with it. So, as of a couple of months ago, my “new” methodology has been published in the methods section of their joint Science paper. GAH.
I can still publish my data, but I’m probably going to have to change the whole direction of this paper. It’s too bad, though, because while this method is pretty awesome, I’ve uncovered some serious limitations etc.–like I said, I’ve been gearing this research towards a methods paper, and I have enough detail on the methods that it won’t fit comfortably into a methods section alone.
In any case, I now know where I am going with this. *phew* I also think the end (of *this* project, anyway) is in sight.
As for the rest of my research: My second paper is likely going to be application of my methodology to a slew of marine organisms; I’ve worked out enough kinks in the method that I can start doing wholesale data gathering for that one, too. So then the last roadblock to my graduation is the field oceanography work–and boy do I ever have a long way to go on that project!
I would love to defend my dissertation a year from September–but it may end up being December or even January before that happens.