You’ve written your code, run it on some test data, got some good results and decide the time has come to write up your work for an article. You open the word processor and suddenly…you’ve overwhelmed by the feeling that everything you’ve done is complete rubbish and could be so much better.
Does anyone else suffer from this psychological problem or is it just me? I feel that this is a fundamental difference between computational results and wet lab results. A piece of software is never finished. You rarely get it perfect first time. You will always be improving the code and committing the latest version to CVS. You could even rewrite the whole thing in a completely different way. The finality of a published article doesn’t sit well with this development process. On the other hand, a wet lab result is the end. You either clone, express and crystallise your protein, or you don’t. If you don’t – no result.
Somehow the computational biologist has to reach an endpoint with which they are satisfied and move on. Otherwise, you’d never write up anything that you did and the world would never know how brilliant you are.