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Digital skills – how do we …

The concept of digital skills is a bit slippery.  The term has changed its meaning as the digital universe has expanded. Jisc is currently doing some work in this area, led by Caroline Ingram.

I attended an interesting workshop recently to look into the challenges of developing researchers’ digital skills. Continue reading

Posted in digital, Information skills, Research data, roles, skills | Leave a comment

University rankings are fake news. How do we fix them?

tagThis post is based on a short presentation I gave as part of a panel at a meeting today on Understanding Global University Rankings: Their Data and Influence, organised by HESPA (Higher Education Strategic Planners Association).

HESPA University Rankings Panel - May 2017Yes, it’s a ‘manel’ (from the left: me, Johnny Rich, Rob Carthy). In our defence,  Sally Turnbull, who was chairing, s Continue reading
Posted in metrics, science, Scientific Life, University League Tables, University Rankings | Leave a comment

The Cathedral on the Marsh

I’ve already shared this on Twitter and Facebook but wanted to post it here as a more permanent record. Two weeks ago i managed to fulfill the ambition, held since I had seen Nic Stacey’s and Jim Al-Khalili’s quite wonderful BBC documentary on thermodynamics, to visit the steam engines at the Crossness sewage pumping station. Thre Continue reading

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Six questions about preprints

2017 is shaping up to be the year that preprints in biomedical sciences go mainstream.

At the beginning of the year MRC and Wellcome Trust both moved to accept preprints in grant applications and scientific reviews. Another major UK biomedical funder is likely to follow suit. In the USA the NIH has recently done the same. Continue reading

Posted in Open Access, peer review, Preprints | Leave a comment

In which we ride the imposter rollercoaster – again

We often think of our personalities and tendencies as being immutable, fixed, typical. But the older I get, the better I know myself.

And what I know is that I’m often no more in control of my perceptions of self than that beetle in my three-year-old’s Pyrex specimen jar, being shaken and examined with a wide blue eye.

Continue reading
Posted in careers, Research, staring into the abyss, Teaching, The profession of science | Leave a comment

European Reflections from Padua

The ERC (European Research Council) last month celebrated its 10th Anniversary. Judging by the speeches and conversations on the day, ranging from  Commissioner Moedas and President Juncker to the ERC’s many grantees, it seems to be widely considered as rapidly to have become a success story and is highly regarded. Its philosophy is simple – and in Continue reading

Posted in Brexit, Elena Piscopia, ERC, Science Culture, Science Funding, William Harvey | Leave a comment

The March for Science: Can and should politics be absent?

eventLogo_MarchForScience

Since the crowning of the current US administration, the scientific community in the US has not only been reeling from the proposed cuts to almost every type of scientific research in this country, but also from the quandary of what to do about it. Scientists have been all over the map, embracing everything from encouraging active scientists to ru Continue reading

Posted in #MarchforScience, education, March for Science, Occam, Research, science, scientists, truth, US | Comments Off on The March for Science: Can and should politics be absent?

Weather with you

I, for one, welcome our robot overlords

Even before we moved to Gravesend, we knew of its “dodgy thermometer” from the weather forecasts on TV and radio. Gravesend was consistently the warmest place in the country, bucking the nation’s trends by a degree Celsius or two.

In our first year here we realized that this was no meteorological fantasy; we soon came to recogniz Continue reading

Posted in code, Friday afternoon, html, Me, met office, personal, weather | Comments Off on Weather with you

Success does not preclude Humanity

Mental health on campus is frequently in the news. It is widespread, as it is within just about every other sector. If you haven’t suffered from a period of depression yourself, it is almost inevitable you know someone who has or who has other mental health issues such as bipolar disorder. Yet those you know about probably only represent the tip of Continue reading

Posted in depression, Meaning of Success, Science Culture, support, Women in science | Comments Off on Success does not preclude Humanity

The March for Science: advocacy masterstroke or PR misfire?

Last night made my way to an upstairs room at The Castle pub near Farringdon to participate in a debate organised by Stempra on the forthcoming March for Science.

March for Science debate
The panel (Photo by Anastasia Stefanidou)

The question before the panel and the assembled audience was whether the call to arms, first issued by scientists in the USA but now heard and a Continue reading

Posted in Science & Politics | Comments Off on The March for Science: advocacy masterstroke or PR misfire?

Making the most of our ASSET’s

When it comes to the reality of what it’s really like for women in academic science, it is always useful to have evidence up one’s sleeve to make a point as well as merely be able to relate anecdotes, personal or otherwise. The recent report on the 2016 ASSET survey  provides just such concrete evidence to bolster arguments around Athena Swan actio Continue reading

Posted in ASSET2016, HeforShe, Hong Kong, SAGE Australia, Science Culture, Sydney, Women in science | Comments Off on Making the most of our ASSET’s

Making the most of our ASSET’s

When it comes to the reality of what it’s really like for women in academic science, it is always useful to have evidence up one’s sleeve to make a point as well as merely be able to relate anecdotes, personal or otherwise. The recent report on the 2016 ASSET survey  provides just such concrete evidence to bolster arguments around Athena Swan actio Continue reading

Posted in ASSET2016, HeforShe, Hong Kong, SAGE Australia, Science Culture, Sydney, Women in science | Comments Off on Making the most of our ASSET’s

When Your PhD Goes Wrong

There is no point pretending that research often doesn’t pan out the way one hopes and dreams about. All kinds of things can go wrong in both the short and long term, and these are not always your own fault (although sometimes they are). I have been reflecting on this aspect of a researcher’s life during a week being spent about as far away from Ca Continue reading

Posted in electron microscopy, failure, Research, Science Culture, scoop | Comments Off on When Your PhD Goes Wrong

R2R – the Researcher to Reader conference

The R2R conference took place back in late February. It is an event more dominated than others (46%) by publishers – those on the business, strategy, and marketing side of the publishing industry. Smaller numbers come from libraries (15%), technology (12%) and consulting (10%). It attracts high-profile speakers (with interesting things to say) from Continue reading

Posted in Copyright and IP, Journal publishing, Open Access | Comments Off on R2R – the Researcher to Reader conference

Back to the cranes

Although it feels almost treason-like to momentarily hold my tongue and write a blog about unrelated to the war being waged on science and truth in the US, the annual crane-fest is as good a reason as any to distract oneself with nature’s wonders.

IMGP8116

The sandhill cranes at the Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary

It’s been over Continue reading

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