Nice email

I have received the following email that I find a very nice reward for posting our solutions on the web and on arXiv:

Dear Professors Marin and Robert,

I just wanted to thank you for making the solution manual to Bayesian Core freely available. I just ran across it online today.

I’m a mid-career scientist and have spent most of my career in environmental policy. When I want to learn some new aspect of science, math, and/or computing, either for work or for fun (and these two often overlap), the only viable way for me is by self study, usually with a book or online material. I work mainly on my own and don’t have the time or money to take in-depth training courses (which I find to be a relaltively inefficient way for me to learn new things anyway). Having a solution manual available is invaluable when I get stuck or need a hint on a problem. The chance to see how a seasoned expert approaches a wide range of relevant and (hopefully) interesting problems also gives readers access to wisdom that can be difficult to articulate or express in any other way.

I only wish more professors would make solutions available for their textbooks. I understand the concern that students may be tempted (okay, will be tempted) to look at the solutions without trying to solve the problem. On the other hand, from my travels on internet science and math forums there seem to be a non-trivial number of people like me–that is, people with training and interest in science and math who didn’t stop learning just because we exited the university gates. We’re self motivated and not working on a deadline, and therefore have no need to consult a solution manual until we’ve ruminated on a problem long enough to decide we’re genuinely stuck. Access to a solution manual ensures that we can continue to make progress nevertheless.

Thanks again for your generosity.

The point about self-study readers is obviously quite important and I had not realised it earlier. The criticisms on Amazon were exactly about this issue, so I am very glad this manual meets the request of those self-study readers of Bayesian Core. This also reminds me that we need to rush to make half the solutions for “Introducing Monte Carlo Methods with R” available now the book is out!

One Response to “Nice email”

  1. […] remark is that the very first comment on Andrew’s post was about solutions! This is a strong request from readers. nowadays, and thus seems like a compulsory element of publishing books with […]

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