Integrative Molecular Phenotyping
INTEGRATIVE MOLECULAR
PHENOTYPING
WHEELOCK LABORATORY
DEPARTMENT OF MEDICAL
BIOCHEMISTRY AND BIOPHYSICS
WHEELOCK LABORATORY
DEPARTMENT OF MEDICAL
BIOCHEMISTRY AND BIOPHYSICS
WHEELOCK LABORATORY
DEPARTMENT OF MEDICAL
BIOCHEMISTRY AND BIOPHYSICS
WHEELOCK LABORATORY
DEPARTMENT OF MEDICAL
BIOCHEMISTRY AND BIOPHYSICS
WHEELOCK LABORATORY
DEPARTMENT OF MEDICAL
BIOCHEMISTRY AND BIOPHYSICS
WHEELOCK LABORATORY

Blog Category Academics

It's time for academics to take back control of research journals

It's time for academics to take back control of research journals

Academic publishing is broken.  Predatory journals.  Corporations driven by profit.  University administrators too lazy to evaluate science and looking for an easy metric.  It is time to leave impact factor behind.  Move beyond surrendering copyright of taxpayer funding research to for-profit corporations.  Science knowledge is for the public who paid for the work.  Free science! 

Tags: 
Publishing

How we lost the world-changing power of useless knowledge

How we lost the world-changing power of useless knowledge

This article highlights a distrubing global trend.  The merging of market capaitalization with academics.  It is not longer acceptable to be an academic pursuing knowledge for the sake of knowledge.  Every EU grant demands a section on the market impact of the reserach.  How will the proposed experiments lead to a marketable product?  What is the business plan for the project intellectual property?  What type of return on the investment can be expected over what time frame?  The line between venture capitalists and funding agencies is merging - to the detriment of discovery science. The closing line of this article makes a powerful point - "The point of study is to create a civilisation worth saving."  The world has lost sight of that - and we are all poorer.

Tags: 
research

The findings of medical research are disseminated too slowly

The findings of medical research are disseminated too slowly

Academic publishing is broken.  It is time for a change - or even a revolution - in publishing. The impact factor fallacy that a single metric somehow both predicts the importance of the publication and reflects the scientific prowess of its authors needs to fall. Science and knowledge should be open and readily available to the world - that is the ethos of our endeavors.

Tags: 
Publishing

A sad day for science

US science agencies face deep cuts in Trump budget

Continued efforts to destroy the quest for knowledge.  It is disturbing that the world is turning its back on science.  Discovery brings out the best of humanity - making the world a better place for everyone.  Shortsighted attempts to stifle science will make us all poorer. 

Tags: 
funding

Addressing Biomedical Science’s PhD Problem

And yet another article on the dwindling prospects for a career in academics. If you are going to get a PhD, you really need to ask yourself why.  This quote from the article really says it all: “They’re really not ‘alternative’ careers anymore,” says Larry Petcovic of careers services company SciPhD. Rather, for today’s bioscience PhD workforce, “it’s academia that’s the alternative now.”

Tags: 
research

How to respond to a broken peer review system

Peer Review is in Crisis, But Should be Fixed, Not Abolished

Peer Review is in Crisis, But Should be Fixed, Not Abolished

Simply put, peer review is no longer working. After spending months to years submitting, submitting and resubmitting the same paper in order to get it published, one cannot help but become jaded. The constant fight for impact factor is destroying the publication process. It is time for something new.

The Postdoc Crisis

The Postdoc Crisis

Academics is certainly not an easy career choice - and a post-doctoral position is a bit like trial by fire. It is obvious that everyone who does a postdoc will not be able to have a research career (in either academics or industry). It is just another sign that the acdemic system is broken.  If you choose to do a postdoctoral stint, it is smart to be clear on the reasons for doing so - and your subsequent career options....

Tags: 
career

The future of the postdoc

The postdoc pile-up

There is a growing number of postdocs and few places in academia for them to go. But change could be on the way.

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academics

Not for love or for money – why do a PhD?

Useful article in The Guardian

"The prestige power of the PhD is however on the wane. With mass education, the number of doctorate holders has increased exponentially, so that the elite membership and the high social status that comes with it is weakened. Especially in connection with a decrease in salary size for university professionals, doctorate holders are perhaps now not seen as exceptional but quirky: why choose to specialize narrowly, work so many hours, and for so little pay when one could get a more lucrative employment elsewhere?"

 

Tags: 
academics

Rethinking graduate education

A useful editorial by Alan Leshner in Science that highlights the obvious problem that academic science is facing in the training of graduate students. Simply put, the vast majority of students who pass through graduate school will not have careers in academic science.  However, the majority of training is focused on academics and other career paths are often considered to be of less value. Clearly unsustainable. All ponzi schemes fail eventually.

"What is needed is a fundamental system analysis and reconfiguration that results in graduate training programs that are better designed to meet the diverse career needs of today's students."

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academics

A man for our season

And as our vineyards, fallows, meads, and hedges,
Defective in their natures, grow to wildness,
Even so our houses and ourselves and children
Have lost, or do not learn for want of time,
The sciences that should become our country.     Henry V, V, ii 54-58

An interesting piece on the malaise afflicting science. The point that I find most poignant is that the article was written in 1997 - yet could easily have been written yesterday. What does this say about the ability of the scientific community to address the significant issues facing the very foundation of academic science?  Concerns raised almost 20 years ago are if anything even more valid today.  Particulary the words "Can politicians be educated to know what science is and to value it for its long-term benefits, rather than putting their trust in the new cult of short-term management?"  The answer would unfortunatlely appear to be no.

Tags: 
research

WHY SO MANY YOUNG SCIENTISTS ARE PUSHED OUT OF ACADEMIA

A rather frank but fair comment on the nature of the PhD process (link). The odds of obtaining an academic appointment are consistenly getting worse. Even if you are one of the lucky few to obtain a position, chances are that you will be expected to cover your own salary, lab expenses including rent, overhead, administrative support etc - with no hope of tenure in sight. A further indication that the academic process is broken??

Tags: 
career

Rescuing US biomedical research from its systemic flaws

Rescuing US biomedical research from its systemic flaws

It has been clear for quite some time that there are an insufficient number of academic positions available for all of those who want to pursue an academic career.  However, another question that is asked less often is how many of those individuals should pursue an academic career. An academic career is clearly not for everyone and nor should it be. The reality is that the majority of PhD students and postdocs will not become PIs at an academic institution. I think that one of the primary problems is that the academic community still pretends that we are only training future academic researchers - and even tends to look down upon those individuals who choose a different career path. This is statistical madness. We know that the odds of anyone from our research group securing an academic position are vanishingly small, yet we continue to pretend that we are only training academics - and that is all that is valued. Clearly the nature of the PhD and postdoctoral experience need to be broadened to encompass the range of career opportunities available to someone with critical thinking skills and analytical training.

Is Higher Education Worth the Price?

Interesting piece from the Economist on the return for investment on higher education. Given the associated costs, perspective students really need to be clear on why they are pursuing higher education.

Here is the link to the article

Tags: 
academics

Rescuing US biomedical research from its systemic flaws

Rescuing US biomedical research from its systemic flaws
Glad to see that this issue is finally being raised. This article applies equally well to Europe and Japan. The nature of academic research, especially at top tier institutions, has become so hyper-competitive that the nature of academic collegiality is in serious danger. I am reluctant to advise young scientists these days to pursue a career in academics. The opportunities are few, and the hurdles to success high. At a certain level, society needs to decide the extent to which it values academic research. The current model is not sustainable.

Having an impact (factor)

Impact Factor

While a little dated, this is a nice take on the ludicrous nature of the use of impact factors in academics

Here is the link to the original article

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