In the lab, we often have discussions about prioritizing experiments and I usually have a strong opinion about these things. I was starting to realize that being able to set these priorities, feel confident in your decisions and fluidly change course as data and circumstances shift is a learned skill. In an attempt to somewhat formalize some of the considerations that might come up when prioritizing experiments, I came up with the below decision tree to share with the lab. It’s a work in progress and I think the tree very likely looks a bit different depending on your career stage. Missing from the tree is also a bee line for emergency experiments needed for paper revisions, grant applications etc., but those decisions are rarely ambiguous so I omitted them here. I’m not even sure I make decisions this way, but it seemed like a fair place to start for those trying to juggle experiments early in their career. I hope others find it useful and, as always, please contact me on twitter or via email if you have comments or suggestions!
Keeping up with the literature is almost always the first thing to fall by the wayside for all of us when we get busy. Usually this is because there are few overt short-term consequences of letting