Archive for the 'Day in the life of DrugMonkey' category

Thought of the Day on Expectations of Nomadism

Apr 10 2014 Published by under Careerism, Day in the life of DrugMonkey

I wasn't following the Twittscussion on academic nomadism closely, but one thing struck me.

There are those in academics who don't realize why it would be a bad thing. To expect scientists to move around a fair number of times because their career demands it.

This is unfortunate.

I hope that some day they find a place to live that makes them realize there are many things that are more important than moving solely because of career opportunity.

12 responses so far

High school email-an-expert projects: Respond or ignore?

I have been experiencing a sharp uptick in high school projects that are apparently titled: "Email questions to some random expert on the internet" lately.

Is anyone else getting these?

Do you respond? In what depth?

17 responses so far

Thought of the Day

Mar 28 2014 Published by under Careerism, Day in the life of DrugMonkey

One of the obvious desires and needs of the newly minted Assistant Professor is to rapidly establish his or her independent laboratory focus. To show the world, in both formal and informal ways, that all that brilliant work has indeed been driven forward by this new Principal Investigator.

As part of this it is necessary to take full credit for the work that has been done primarily by this young person's laboratory. It can be acceptable in some situations to take a bit of extra credit by inference when the work has been of a collaborative nature, particularly when only that Assistant Professor is under review.

It is dangerous, however, to fail to modulate these claims of credit for collaborative work when all of the participants in the collaboration are under simultaneous review. On the tactical level, you do not want your reviewers thinking that two, three or more labs are taking credit for the exact same thing. On a strategic level, you ARE going to piss off your collaborators. And this is the sort of thing that induces collaborators to stop collaborating with you and just to do it themselves.

When you are the more-junior partner in this scenario, the odds predict that the more-senior person is going to have more relative ability (funds and personnel) to cut you off and continue by other means.

As a related issue, one of the skillsets you need to develop as a scientist is a decent Spidey-sense for collaborators. Some are going to be selfish and some are going to bend over backward to let you take credit, to help your career along and to promote you. These latter are ESSENTIAL to your success. The former must often be tolerated and you do well to protect yourself from them. However, if you cannot discern the two different types relatively rapidly and act accordingly, you run the risk of really pissing off people* who would otherwise be your champion.

Don't do this.

*Remember that unless the person has "Emeritus" after their title, bending over backward to allow you to take credit is not necessarily immaterial to them. This is a reality. No matter how seemingly established a more-senior colleague is, they are worried about the future. There is always the next grant review. Doing a colleague a solid costs them something. The fact that they think this is the right thing to do, regardless, doesn't mean that they do not do so with a conscious nod to the costs involved.

15 responses so far

Repost: Tribal Celebrations

Mar 17 2014 Published by under Day in the life of DrugMonkey, Food

Beer companies were pulling their sponsorships of St Patrick's Day Parades this year. Because of the long-running battle between Parade organizers and LBGT folks that wish to join the celebration.

Man, we've come a long way, haven't we?

This post was live-blogged on Mar 15, 2009.

Step One: Make sure at least one of the Spawn is napping, visiting a friend or otherwise out of your hair.


Why, whatever do you think we are celebrating today, Dear Reader?

Step Two: Make final check on materials and reagents. Run to store to get the remaining critical items. Sing loudly to your favorite ethnic folksongs to get in the mood.

stay tuned, Dear Reader, stay tuned...

Continue Reading »

No responses yet

Rules for writing review articles

There should be a rule that you can't write a review unless you've published at least three original research papers in that topic/area of focus.

Also a rule that your total number of review articles cannot surpass your original research articles.

57 responses so far

Thought of the Day

There seems to be a sub population of people who like to do research on the practice of research. Bjoern Brembs had a recent post on a paper showing that the slowdown in publication associated with having to resubmit to another journal after rejection cost a paper citations.

Citations of a specific paper are generally thought of as a decent measure of impact, particularly if you can relate it to a subfield size.

Citations to a paper come in various qualities, however, ranging from totally incorrect (the paper has no conceivable connection to the point for which it is cited) to the motivational (paper has a highly significant role in the entire purpose of the citing work).

I speculate that a large bulk of citations are to one, or perhaps two, sub experiments. Essentially a per-Figure citation.

If this is the case, then citations roughly scale with how big and diverse the offerings in a given paper are.

On the other side, fans of "complete story" arguments for high impact journal acceptances are suggesting that the bulk of citations are to this "story" rather than for the individual experiments.

I'd like to see some analysis of the type of citations won by papers. All the way across the foodchain, from dump journals to CNS.

21 responses so far

Thought of the Day

Sep 06 2013 Published by under Day in the life of DrugMonkey

We must tread lightly when equating what represents enough work for a publication to either dollars or hours spent.

But if the standard for reasonable productivity under a grant award (such as the R01) is, say, 6+ papers, and reviewers and editors think a single pedestrian paper should contain most of what is proposed in that entire award, then someone is not playing with a full deck.

3 responses so far

Thought of the day

Aug 21 2013 Published by under Day in the life of DrugMonkey, FWDAOTI

The entire point of being an academic, science or otherwise, is to understand and evaluate different ways of thinking about something!!!!!

8 responses so far

Thought of the Day II

I can just key a car with one of those insipid "Wag more, bark less" stickers on general principles, right?

11 responses so far

Thought of the Day

Aug 16 2013 Published by under Anger, Day in the life of DrugMonkey

Fuck blueberries.

16 responses so far

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