Archive for: August, 2013

You are not a bad person if you do the things you need to do to get/keep a job in academia

Aug 28 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

While the desk-drawer bourbon is still coursing through my bloodstream, I feel compelled to weigh in on a discussion that has been on and off on the tweets and blogs for oh, a long time now. The question is re: whether you are a morally bankrupt individual if you publish in non-open access journals. TL;DR, the answer is a big fat NO. I'm too lazy to storify or whatever, but you should definitely read Dr. Isis's predictably excellent post, which is framed in the context of the choice to go open access or glam mag, the former perhaps/likely crushing her chances of adding to the despicably low numbers of TT Latina women in science.

But I am here to take this mentality a step further. It doesn't matter WHO you are. If you are a person at any pre-tenure stage of an academic career (incl grad students & post-docs), the reality is that you are judged by a finite number of things: 1) where you did your PhD; 2) who you do your post-doc work with; and 3) the IF of the journals you publish in. It's not rocket science/brain surgery, people. Now, there are most definitely arguments to be made that these are not the be-all end-all of ACTUAL merit , but this is the world we live in. If you think these are terrible metrics and wish to push forward with no regard for such customs, I wish you all the best.

Open Access is an awesome thing, and I hope one day that all people everywhere have access to every scientific paper ever written. This might actually happen. But in the meantime, we need to get/keep our jobs, mkay? And this means doing the things that impress people according to the 3 criteria laid out above. You do not need to do ALL of them at the level of like, Harvard/Nobel Laureate/CNS, but if you have the OPTION of publishing in a glam mag as a pre-tenure person, do not fall on your sword for the sake of the general public, FFS! Make yourself the most impressive scientist you can possibly be, because nobody else is going to do it for you, and a whole lot of people are probably going to do it instead of you.

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Potnia Theron is my spirit animal

Aug 27 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

You know how you feel like there are things  you're definitely supposed to know, but if you reveal that you don't know them, the world will point and laugh for an uncomfortably long time, then unceremoniously kick you and your pathetic farce of a career to the curb? Wouldn't you just love it if there were someone out there to explain those things to you in a simple, easy to digest format, with a little humor thrown in to make it enjoyable, and so you don't go blind from googling?

Ladies and gentlemen of the blogosphere, I give you Potnia Theron. I cannot hold in my fangirl-ness any longer; she is an absolute must read. After a brief stint guest-blogging with Isis, she's had her own space for a while now, and to tell you that it overfloweth with  both wit and wisdom is a vast understatement.  There are posts about academia--things that come up as you transition from grad student to post-doc, and post-doc to faculty, and general tips on succeeding without losing your mind. There are posts about basic stats concepts (THANK YOU). There are posts about women's issues, and  about things that are generally awesome.

Most recently, she's got a series up on navigating the seemingly impenetrable labyrinth that is the NIH website, and seriously guys, these posts are straight up GOLD MINES. If you're anything like me, going to nih.gov  fills you with a sinking dread that your entire day is about to be filled with maddening dead ends, bleeding eyes from staring at a site that looks like it was designed in 2002, and much brow furrowing--only to culminate in shaking your computer screen with both hands, screaming "JUST TELL ME HOW TO GET THE FUCKING MONEY!!!" But Dr. Theron lays it all out for you--clearly, calmly, and with easy-to-click-on links. I cannot over-emphasize how urgently these posts need to move to the top of your Bookmarks tab.

So go read, folks! Read, learn, and improve your life in all possible ways. And Potnia, I promise I'm not going to go all crazy stalker on you, but I  basically want to be you when I grow up.

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