Archive for: June, 2015

Decimate them!

Jun 29 2015 Published by under Careers, Life, NIH

Lots of people recognize that the NIH/NSF grant making systems just aren't working under the current conditions of low funding and a glut of PI's. There will be a cull of PI's whether it's deliberate or not. Let's face it, it's already happening and has been for a while. That's led some people to suggests changes to the way we do business. Reform of the NIH if you will. All the suggestions I've seen essentially promote the elite at the expense of the riffraff.* And are poorly thought through at best. Frankly, I've yet to hear a suggested reform that would truly improve upon what we currently have.

So. We're being culled. How can we manage this in a way that benefits science? There are arguments - often good ones - against targeting specific groups.** And most suggestions center on "them, not me".

How about a truly democratic approach? One that's impervious to the old boys clubs?

Anyone up for decimation? Roman army style?


* I am proudly riffraff, so obviously opposed to those.

** Except maybe KILL THE OLDZ!!!!!!!!!*** Although maybe even then. How best to define the old? Are all the oldz deserving of being culled?

*** A CPP favorite.



19 responses so far

Maybe, just maybe...

Jun 26 2015 Published by under Careers, Life

Maybe, just maybe, the NIH/NSF systems we have - aside from the underfunding/glut of PI's - are as good as it gets? No one seems capable of coming up with something better.


21 responses so far

Fiction Fact!

Jun 24 2015 Published by under Careers

I need a picture of a gel I can put into this manuscript that's a placeholder. Just until the experiment's finished and I have the real data. Let's see... Let's look through all my old lab notebooks and see if I can find a gel that's just the right size. With exactly the right number of lanes. And exactly the right number of bands in exactly the places I'm expecting them of course! Just as a placeholder...

<six months later>

Oh gee willikers! I forgot to take out that gosh darn placeholder figure and now it's published. Oopsie!


Apparently this kind of innocent mistake - a pitfall if you will - is made a lot in submissions to at least one Glammag... It's easy to imagine a poor honest scientist making such an error, isn't it?

3 responses so far

To OA or not

Jun 15 2015 Published by under Careers, Life

Today on the twits it was twitted:

This is an important issue facing those currently on or about start on the tenure track (TT). The problem with asking this question is that the resulting discussion tends to devolve into arguments between open access (OA) evangelists and the rest of us* as to the necessity etc. of OA. Phrases like "moral imperative" and "OA wackaloon" get bandied about. I don't really want to get into all that again. Bottom line is:

Moral imperatives won't get you tenure.

So, do T&P committees care? Yes. No.


It's going to depend on the institution. The make up of the committee. The culture of the department you're in (letters from your chair and senior faculty carry weight). The field you're in (outside letters also carry weight).

What the T&P committee should care about is the science, not where you've published it.

[Brief pause for tenured readers to catch their breath after laughing.]

We don't live in that world yet. GlamHumping is still a thing remember. As is IF-lust.

My advice? Look to see what recently tenured folks have done. Maybe push that limit a little if you're very pro-OA. But mostly, publish in a variety of places.

But first do good science.


* For the record, I like OA. I've published in OA journals and will continue to. I don't see it as a moral imperative though and don't do OA exclusively.

11 responses so far