Pondering Blather http://blather.scientopia.org Mon, 13 Apr 2015 20:16:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Not even self-cites?!?!? http://blather.scientopia.org/2015/04/13/not-even-self-cites/ http://blather.scientopia.org/2015/04/13/not-even-self-cites/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 20:16:04 +0000 http://blather.scientopia.org/?p=1013 An interesting study of publications in cardiovascular journals is coming out soon in the journal Circulation. The abstract seems to tell the story. In the decade 1997-2007 15.6% of the publications had zero citations after five years. Not even self-cites. 46.0% were considered "poorly cited" (defined as having ≤5 cites).

Is there any reason to believe these numbers wouldn't apply to all biomedical science beyond "my sub-field is special"?

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Inheritance http://blather.scientopia.org/2015/03/05/inheritance/ http://blather.scientopia.org/2015/03/05/inheritance/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 18:28:05 +0000 http://blather.scientopia.org/?p=1007 This isn't just about those who are mid-career PI's now. These are issues those that follow will inherit.

Unless we do something to fix the system.


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Presentations http://blather.scientopia.org/2015/03/04/presentations/ http://blather.scientopia.org/2015/03/04/presentations/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 15:19:04 +0000 http://blather.scientopia.org/?p=1005 I don't care who you are. Grad student or Nobelist. In presentations, clarity trumps quantity, and often even quality, of data.

Every. Single. Time.


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Ponderable http://blather.scientopia.org/2015/01/26/ponderable-3/ http://blather.scientopia.org/2015/01/26/ponderable-3/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 15:23:59 +0000 http://blather.scientopia.org/?p=1000 If you're publishing multiple (closely-related or not) reviews per year, you're doing it wrong.


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Sub-sub-field accepting bloc http://blather.scientopia.org/2015/01/06/sub-sub-field-accepting-bloc/ http://blather.scientopia.org/2015/01/06/sub-sub-field-accepting-bloc/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 14:50:42 +0000 http://blather.scientopia.org/?p=995 I have been on the editorial board of a middling journal (IF ~4) for some years now. I get sent a lot of the manuscripts that are in my sub-sub-field. My job is to obtain reviews and make a decision as to the fate of each of these manuscripts. It's become apparent to me that there is a group of reviewers who all display the same phenotype when it comes to their reviews. They all i) are quick to agree to review manuscripts in our common sub-sub-field, ii) submit their reviews on time, and iii) will recommend acceptance or minor revisions for all manuscripts. All.

This journal rejects ~70% of all submissions.* ~40% are desk rejects so ~50% of all manuscripts sent out for review are rejected.

Odd, yes?

Did I mention that this bloc of reviewers are all strongly linked to one particular well-known member of our sub-sub-field? Former trainees, co-authors etc. Given that pretty much none of the manuscripts they've reviewed for me in the past have authors from within the group, I doubt this is a organized ring of shady reviewers. In fact, having interacted with some of them I suspect this is more a misguided** attempt to raise the profile of the sub-sub-field promoted by Dr. Well-Known.

I don't use these reviewers anymore.



* Yes, there really is that much crap being submitted even to middling journals.

** "Misguided" is somewhat euphemistic.

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Why Fund Basic Research http://blather.scientopia.org/2014/12/09/why-fund-basic-research/ http://blather.scientopia.org/2014/12/09/why-fund-basic-research/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 19:51:55 +0000 http://blather.scientopia.org/?p=989

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Ponderable http://blather.scientopia.org/2014/12/09/ponderable-2/ http://blather.scientopia.org/2014/12/09/ponderable-2/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 13:56:41 +0000 http://blather.scientopia.org/?p=986 You know how some publisher's web sites let you download a pdf of a paper with supplementary material included (usually after more clicks than necessary)? And of course others don't? Why isn't the combined paper + supplementary material the default?*



* Let's set aside the asinine nature of supplementary material for the sake of this discussion.

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Twelve (Sporadic) Months of Odyssey (2014) http://blather.scientopia.org/2014/12/05/twelve-sporadic-months-of-odyssey-2014/ http://blather.scientopia.org/2014/12/05/twelve-sporadic-months-of-odyssey-2014/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 17:10:18 +0000 http://blather.scientopia.org/?p=984 Following DrugMonkey's lead on this meme...

It's been a fairly sparse year for the blogging here. Life and all that. But here's what I have:

January: Over the years I've been involved in quite a few collaborations of various sorts.

February: So PLoS has this new data sharing policy.

March: A number of recent happenings (to name just two the PLoS data sharing mandate and tweets that led to @MyTChondria's guest post over at DrugMonkey's joint) have got me thinking...

April: NSF is big on promoting diversity.

May: Nada. Zip. Nothing blogged.

June: People who drive in the left lane on the highway at or below the speed of people driving in the right lane.

July: There's a lot of advice that can be given on surviving your tenure track years.

August: When writing a manuscript you should be writing for the audience you want to reach.

September: Nada. Zip. Nothing blogged.

October: I'm sure many of you are quite aware of the ongoing kerfuffle surrounding the ASBMB's president and his recent comments.

November: NSF's review process determines which research has the greatest potential.

December: By special request from Twitter's favorite kitten...


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Everybody Hates You: Holidays in Academia Edition http://blather.scientopia.org/2014/12/03/everybody-hates-you-holidays-in-academia-edition/ http://blather.scientopia.org/2014/12/03/everybody-hates-you-holidays-in-academia-edition/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 18:53:47 +0000 http://blather.scientopia.org/?p=980 By special request from Twitter's favorite kitten...

So, what do you all hate about the holidays in academia?

The kitten can get us started:


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Turkey Day Beers http://blather.scientopia.org/2014/11/24/turkey-day-beers/ http://blather.scientopia.org/2014/11/24/turkey-day-beers/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:35:57 +0000 http://blather.scientopia.org/?p=975 Thanksgiving is almost upon us here in the US. I'll bet by now you've got most things arranged. Turkey. Sides. Pies. Guests. Seating. All that good stuff. But what about beer? Have you really thought about what beers you'll have on hand beyond "I'll pick up a six-pack or two before Thursday"? Really?

Now you may be thinking wine would be better. If that's what you like, go with wine. But it's a fair bet the pilgrims had beer, not wine, at that first feast that eventually evolved into Thanksgiving.

I have a few suggestions for you that might take your Turkey day brews from "hmmmm, beer" to "HMMMMM, BEER!!!!!" And I'll try to stick to beers you should be able to find fairly easily.

What you want to do is think about what you'll be doing T-day and what your menu will be and go from there. Here's what I'm planning:

1) I'll be grilling the turkey. Beer and grilling go together like Fred and Ginger, Waldorf and Statler, Starsky and Hutch, beer and pizza. But grilling a turkey is a long process - in my case it will take about three hours. So I'm going to start slow and light. No, not lite, light. Something refreshing and easy on the palate. I happen to have some Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale in my fridge. Perfect. Citrusy with a hint of hops and easy on the malt. Sierra Nevada Kellerweis would also work. Also citrusy with a hint of banana. Are there better wheat ales? Sure. And if you have easy access to one go for it.

2) Appetizers. These are often fat laden affairs, so you want something heavy on the carbonation to lift the fats off the tongue. Something champagne-like if you can. But beer of course. A biere brut would be ideal. But not always so easy to find. And often a little high on the alcohol. Remember, T-day is a marathon event and you want to make it to the end. So you could stick with something like the Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale - the citrus and hops will help wash that fat off the tongue. Or maybe go with a domestic saison/farmhouse ale like Prairie 'Merica. That's what I'll be doing. Prairie Hops is also a good choice. There are plenty of decent farmhouse ales out there. You should be able to find one.

3) Salad. On T-day? Seriously? Okay, if you must do the green stuff, stick with the farmhouse ale. But really, salad on T-day?

4) The main event. Okay, think this one through. Turkey, stuffing, maybe ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, etc. Heavy stuff. You want something with flavor so it's not overwhelmed, but not the kind of flavor that will compete. I'll be having Sierra Nevada Celebration Fresh-Hopped IPA. Hoppy, citrusy, piney, a little grassy, and yet malty. Another good choice would be a good brown ale. Something like Bell's Best Brown. Or split the difference - Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale.

5) Dessert. Still hanging in there? Coffee goes with dessert, right? Go with a beer with coffee flavor. A really good stout or porter can bring out coffee flavors without actually having any coffee in them. I'm a big fan of Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. But I happen to have some Sierra Nevada Coffee Stout in the fridge (yes, it has coffee added). That's what will work for me. By the way, those big heavy stouts/porters? Often fewer calories than their paler cousins. Although, at this point in T-day who's really thinking about calories?

One final note. That's potentially a lot of beer. Be smart about that. Maybe split a bottle with one or two other people rather than drinking it all yourself. You might not want a full 12-16oz with appetizers, entree and dessert. And you might need to drive.



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