Pearls of Wisdom from Study Section Members

The Edge for Scholars

Sitting with a stack of 40 grants to review is a sure way to get focused on what makes a grant submission strong. The following pointers are from Dr. Chris Eischen, a multi-R01 funded cancer investigator and Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Listen up.  As a grantsmanship heavy hitter and NCI study section […]

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Understanding H. pylori: Meira Epplein

Rebecca Helton, MA

Meira Epplein, PhD, came to epidemiology by a more scenic route than most. She has always been fascinated by China, from Chinese art to culture and modern history. After getting an MA in Chinese Studies, she began working for an Asian research think tank, studying military, political, and security issues surrounding China. Because she frequently […]

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Nature: The Plight of Young Scientists

Rebecca Helton, MA

A recent news feature in Nature highlighted challenges facing early career scientists, from pressure to publish to shrinking funding and the increasing length of time before reaching research independence. Early Career Researchers Need Fewer Burdens and More Support “New faculty members need more flexibility and support than established investigators with smoothly running groups, often staffed […]

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Why Your Favorite Journals Need to Put a Dog in the Ethics Fight*

Fighty Squirrel, PhD, Awe.Some.

There is nothing an journal editor loves more than seeing a late night email from my best friend, Paul Brookes, in their mailbox. Paul is a genius. Well, technically he’s a super genius, mitochondrial physiology dood. In his non-existent spare time, he bravely faces down really horrible examples of fraud in his field. Not too […]

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Unexpected Perks of Editing for a Journal

Fighty Squirrel, PhD, Awe.Some.

Six months into being a Reviewing Editor for Journal of Neuroscience and my top favorite things, in no particular order, are: 1) Sending out “Your Manuscript has been Accepted” emails.  This is So. Much. Fun. Serving on study section, you never know what’s funded and what’s not, so there’s a lot more immediate gratification here. Of course, my lab thinks I’m a […]

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Prevent the Email Faux Pas That Gets You Fired: Read Send

Rebecca Helton, MA

Did you know that signing an email with “Sincerely” instead of “Best regards” can irrevocably alter your relationship with a colleague?  Or that “please” and “thank you” can be anything but polite? Although it’s now almost five years old, Send remains an invaluable guide to emailing appropriately to staff, superiors, friends and relatives.  Oh, and […]

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I'm the Problem: My Generation's Addiction to Bibliometrics

The Edge for Scholars

Publication-based measures of scientific impact provide little of value to the research community. Despite assertions that bibliometrics can improve the evaluation of scientists and their establishments, we lack a qualitative or quantitative argument that substantive problems were solved following their introduction. I am unconvinced that hiring, tenure, or promotion decisions became more accurate after journal […]

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Making Lemonade: A Retraction Watch Interview

Fighty Squirrel, PhD, Awe.Some.

Retraction. Its a word that for many scientists is synonymous with phrases like ‘failure’, ‘dishonesty’, and ‘career ending’. A recent Retraction Watch features an interview with Pamela Roland, a Professor from UC Davis, who retracted two high profile papers on plant immunity two years ago. Prior to her retractions, Roland was at a career high. She […]

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Fraud Busting Bonanza

Fighty Squirrel, PhD, Awe.Some.

This week has been a can of worms as stories of fraud, misconduct and general bad deeds have rocked the science community. Papers on stem cells, semiconductors, cognitive psychology have all been retracted in some of the highest profile journals around. Two cases caught my eye for their audacity. First, Michael LaCour, a UCLA grad student […]

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Face It: Your Decks Will Never Be Cleared

Rebecca Helton, MA

One of the most widespread myths in academic writing is that you can, and should, try to “clear the decks”—that is, finish all of your other obligations before you can focus on your scholarship. The reality is: Things never clear up. They don’t even reliably settle down. Your in box is always full. The decks […]

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