Answering some recent questions – My answers

Austin answered some good questions yesterday, but my responses would be different. Here they are:

1. Do you accept unsolicited guest posts at TIE?

I think I’m even less inclined to do so. We have worked very hard to develop the TIE “brand”, and I’m very uncomfortable letting others use it unless they understand our “method”. That doesn’t mean I haven’t signed off on all the guest posts; I have. But, in general, I feel like this blog represents the voice of a few people, and that’s how it should remain. There are certainly plenty of venues out there for people to express their own views, and I hope that more and more people make use of them.

2. Who is TIE’s target audience?

I’d add one group to Austin’s answers: (4) educated and engaged consumers. I am under no illusions that our blog is something that would be eagerly followed by just anyone. Heck, I can’t get most of my family to read me regularly. Health policy just ain’t their gig. But for the general public out there who are interested in health policy, and how it intersects with research, politics, and the rest of the world – this blog should be right up their alley.

3. Should I send you my paper in advance of publication?

Absolutely. Send me stuff anytime. I can’t promise that I will post on it, but if it’s interesting and adds something to our fund of knowledge, I really want to know about it.

Two more questions I get a lot:

4. What program do you use to make charts?

If I can, I always prefer Numbers on my Mac. I think the charts look nicer. But there are a few charts (like bubble charts) that I think are only possible using Excel, so I will use that once in a while.

5. How do you get access to the data you use?

First of all, many data sources are free, so you should check first. But there are any number than cost a decent amount of money, which annoys everyone. Luckily, part of my real job involves purchasing access to these data, so I often have access you don’t. If you have a good question that uses such data, you will often find I’m happy to do a pull and write a post on it. There’s very little downside in asking.


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