How to spot a predatory journal

Today I am going to talk to you about predatory journals.  To give you an example of what I am talking about here is the beginning of an email that I received recently in my inbox: Dear Professor Keogh,Basing [sic] on your outstanding contribution to the scientific community, we would like to write your autobiography… This is a perfect example of the types of emails that will start...

Tips for applying for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship

Last year I applied for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship in a bit of a frenzied hurry. I did not get an offer, but I learned a lot from the experience, and made sure to change some things when I applied again this year. A few months back I was thrilled to receive an offer, and I thought it might benefit some of you for me to share...

The biggest threats to science

Researchers from the Donders Institute discuss what the biggest threats to science are today. They conclude that these are distrust from society, difficulty in building robust knowledge, and scientists’ own attitude. On a rainy Tuesday morning in November, the members of the Predictive Brian lab, headed by Professor Floris de Lange, meet at the entrance of the building where they work every day, the Donders Centre for Cognitive...

How to organize a small workshop in your department

In academia, we have to serve the community in many ways, e.g. by reviewing conference abstracts and journal articles (see previous post), editing conference proceedings, organizing colloquia/workshops/conferences, representing faculty members/students or scholarly bodies, etc. I mentioned in a previous post pthat the “management skills” section of your CV needs to be filled by the time you apply for competitive postdoc grants. Organizing a small workshop is a great...

Planning for flexibility in a research project

The beginning of a research project is often very exciting: you have a cool research idea, and it is finally going to come to fruition, hopefully giving you some exciting answers. But a lot needs to happen between point A (coming up with a way to tackle a research question) to point B (getting the answer to that question). Some people are tempted to plan every last detail...

How to review a research article

Peer review is central to the scientific process, and I have written about what to expect when you are submitting a journal article, and how the peer review process works, but what happens when you are on the other end of the pipeline? How do you review an article? Firstly you might ask how you do you even get selected to review an article in the first place?...

How to find a postdoc position.

After submitting your PhD thesis, you may want to consider finding a postdoctoral position. A postdoc gives you the chance to further refine your skills and expertise, under the guidance of an experienced researcher. A postdoc doesn’t need to be on the same topic as your PhD, you can switch fields or techniques if you want, although if you switch both you may have a harder time and...

Peer coaching in academia: a surprisingly effective way to help each other

Peer coaching has recently become popular in academia, and for good reasons. It can be surprising how similar our issues are to our colleagues’ and how well we can help each other. On a sunny afternoon last May, I walked into a conference room, my heart beating fast. I greeted the other five people in the room, and we exchanged slightly nervous smiles. It was the first time...

What to do during your PhD to be competitive

Last year, Alya and I organized an Academic Skills Workshop in our department. This idea blossomed while we were writing up a lengthy postdoctoral grant proposal. We realized that certain sections of our CVs had been neglected. While talking to several PhD candidates and postdocs from different labs, we realized that a lot of them felt they lacked this kind of mentoring from their PI, their lab, or...

How to write a literature review

It’s time to start your literature review! You have read what feels like, and actually may be, hundreds of articles, but you are sitting there and having a staring competition with a blank word doc, and the word doc is winning. Where do you start? It can definitely feel overwhelming to try and sum up a whole field of research in sometimes as little as a page. A...