Archive for the 'NIH' category

In fact, it is well known that...

Nov 07 2016 Published by under Careers, Life, NIH

If you find yourself writing:

"In fact..."

"It is well known..."


"...leading to a better understanding..."



Drop a heavy object on your head.

Think again.

And maybe just don't.



Feel free to add other overused/cliched/etc. phrase/words in the comments.

10 responses so far

An oldish dog learning new tricks #drugmonkeyday

Sep 23 2016 Published by under Careers, Life, NIH

I'm what you might describe as being in my late mid-career stage. (I'm not ready for that late career part yet, thank you very much.) Most of my career I've managed to keep my lab funded and humming along. Not so much the last few years. I've scraped together little pots of money here and there, but have failed to pull in the NSF-level grants that have supported me much of my professional life. There are reasons behind this extended funding lapse, but the bottom line is I have no one to blame but myself.*

I'm doing my best to pull out of the spiral. Writing grants etc. Not panicking of course, but also trying not to miss any opportunities. And there are glimmers of hope. I've been getting closer and closer to fundable scores. Like well within reach close. Not at the NSF though. At the NIH. NIH proposals are not like NSF proposals. And I don't mean the whole medical relevance thing. They feel different. At least to me they do. And of course the NIH review process is very unlike that at NSF.

It's been, and continues to be, an education.  Much of what I've learnt has come from the intertube's very own Grumpy Curmudgeon Grant Fairy, the Statler to @PhysioProf's Waldorf**, Bane of Co-First Authorship, and Untiring Champion of Author-Date Citations, the inimitable DrugMonkey. His "Your Grant in Review" series has proven invaluable. And judging by the comments, many of his readers agree.

Happy #drugmonkeyday my friend.



* I've tried blaming others. It doesn't seem to help. Go figure.

** Or is it Waldorf to @PhysioProf's Statler? Aged Starsky or Hutch? Laurel or Hardy?




2 responses so far

What is an editorial board?

Jun 22 2016 Published by under Careers, Life, NIH

What do you think the role of an editorial board should be? Not what you observe one to be, but what you believe it should be.

2 responses so far

Feeding the machine

Jun 22 2016 Published by under Careers, Life, NIH

Yesterday I tweeted:

This lead to an interesting discussion part of which included:

And therein lies what I see as the single biggest issue with some editorial boards. Not reviewers. Editorial boards. The people that handle the review exercise. Those that are supposed to oversee a timely and fair process. Those that choose the reviewers and, supposedly, ensure the reviews are reasonable. The gatekeepers if you will. It is not the job of the handling editor, or of a journal, to feed the glam-humping machine. Reviewers routinely ask for MOAR EXPERIMENTS!!!!!!!!!!!! because handling editors let them get away with it.

Why do editorial boards do this? Not, in my opinion, to "improve the journal" (i.e. JIF chase), but more because that's what they're used to. Journals have this habit of stacking their boards with the vertically ascending. For the prestige. Is it really surprising that glam-humpers are okay with a glam-humping-like review process?

Journals need to stop pursuing the prestigious and start filling their editorial boards with people who understand the scope and standing of the journal.* People who actually publish there on a regular basis. Most people I know don't submit to journals because the editorial board is full of the vertically ascending. They submit because they like the level of science published there and think their own work fits.


* That's not to say the standing need remain static.

6 responses so far


May 18 2016 Published by under Careers, NIH

Journal Impact Factor or peanut butter?

Both seem to require a heaping helping of nuts.


2 responses so far

New NAS members

May 03 2016 Published by under Careers, Life, NIH

Today the National Academy of Sciences announced their newly elected members. You can read the announcement here.


Once again, I'm not on the list.


Once again, the gender balance isn't. Not even close.



Apparently the Royal Society didn't do any better with their new Fellows.


One response so far

Climbing ponderable

Apr 25 2016 Published by under Careers, Life, NIH

People often refer to a ladder when discussing ascending through the ranks in their careers. I prefer to think it's more like rock-climbing* - there's not necessarily one route as implied by a ladder.

Be careful not to tread on the fingers of those below you and don't forget to point out the hard-to-see hand/foot-holds.

No point in getting to the top if there's no one left following to witness it.


* It's still an imperfect metaphor. Also, I'm no rock-climber.


4 responses so far


Apr 11 2016 Published by under Careers, Life, NIH

The discussion in the comments here on PI's "purloining"* projects developed by postdocs is one of several reasons why someone starting their own lab is well advised to have more than one research project in mind. To not do so is foolhardy at best.



* I put this in quotes because situations can vary tremendously and be more complicated than they appear at first.


One response so far

Punching down much?

Mar 21 2016 Published by under Careers, Life, NIH

This popped up on my Twitter timeline this morning:

Go read the linked post in all it's "glory".

What an arse.

I retweeted the above and got the following response:

Interesting thought. What's to stop PPPR* degenerating into this kind of crap? I get that most scientists are decent people and wouldn't do this, but...



* Post-publication peer review if you're wondering.


9 responses so far


Mar 15 2016 Published by under Careers, NIH




I found at least some of Michael Eisen's responses to Andrew Kern's tweets. Worth reading (click on the tweets below)-



It's worth looking at PLoS's Core Principles. I'm not seeing anything there they've violated by acting like... a business. And before you leap on Principle 6, "fair price" is generally interpreted as "what the market will bear". PLoS doesn't seem to be hurting for submissions.


18 responses so far

Older posts »