Is it better to be first or second

with the new idea, model, or technique? I used to think first, but now I am convinced that second might be best. Consider the first MP3 players (Rio?, IRiver?) vs. Apple. I also see it in academic research. Some literatures in my field began with one paper, but it is the second paper that gets the cites–formally in writing and informally in seminars, discussions, and so on. Why does it work that way? There surely are some interesting statistical issues to be dealt with in thinking about the issue.

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One response to “Is it better to be first or second

  1. This is an interesting observation since grad students, and many junior faculty, worry about getting “scooped” on their projects.

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