Latest posts

Book sequences

You may have seen some of my #nimrlibrarybyebye tweets, showcasing books that we have been transferring to other libraries. I will write a proper post about them sometime soon. The ‘byebye’ in the hashtag is to signify that nearly the whole of the library stock is being disposed of.  Transferring books to other collections means that pa Continue reading

Posted in Books, Collections, History, Research data | Comments Off on Book sequences

Library Day in the Life – July 2016

The Library day in the life project was a great way to let people know what librarians do. It was an excuse for us to document a day or week in our working life in excruciating detail and, in my case, to inflict those details on the reader(s) of this blog. I joined in the project in 2011 and 2012 but it stopped in 2012 having run its course.  I per Continue reading

Posted in Libraries and librarians, Library day in the life | Comments Off on Library Day in the Life – July 2016

Stiffening the Backbone

As usual the problem seems to lie with the sub-editors. I read a piece in the Guardian entitled  ‘Struggling students are not lacking resilience – they need more support.’ Reading the heading on its own I thought that the article must be going to imply that resilience was somehow an optional extra in life and decided that was rather silly. However, Continue reading

Posted in education, mental health, supervisions, tutors | Comments Off on Stiffening the Backbone

In which I wave in your general direction

Has it really been a few months since my last post?

Holidays are only partially to blame: that covers two weeks. Maybe three, if you count the frazzled week finishing up in the lab beforehand, or the frazzled week on the other end catching up with what I missed (a Dehydrated Incubator Incident, chiefly).

Continue reading
Posted in academia, Domestic bliss, Gardening, Research, The profession of science, Women in science, Work/life balance | Comments Off on In which I wave in your general direction

Still Feeling like an Impostor?

It’s that feeling you get when your PhD supervisor asks you to give your first conference presentation. Or, at a later career stage, when someone suggests you apply for a fellowship. That feeling they must have got it wrong, you’re not the right person, don’t have the right skillset and experience and they’ll very soon find you out as incompetent a Continue reading

Posted in Communicating Science, Hugh Kearns, Im[pstor syndrome, Science Culture, Stuart Higgins | Comments Off on Still Feeling like an Impostor?


This excuses my long absence from this and other blogs, right?

And I’m so excited that the cover and the publisher’s page have been finalized so that I can tell you about it at long last!

I was approached last year by a commissioning editor from Icon Books, who publish the illustrated Graphic Guides series. Continue reading

Posted in blog buddies, personal, publishing, science, Writing | Comments Off on I WROTE A BOOK!

Flowers for Algae-non?

I am delighted to report that I am now happily entrenched in my new environment–just 2 miles west of my previous home–here at the western edge of the city of Omaha. “Chez Ginger,” as we have named our new place (after Ginger the dog), came from a desire of an already-suburban midwest family to live in close proximity of walk Continue reading

Posted in algae, algal bloom, lake, omaha, science, wildlife | Comments Off on Flowers for Algae-non?

Playing to Your Strengths

With many fresh graduates on the market seeking jobs, the Independent recently ran an article on interview tips. They were at the basic level. Fair enough for those people who’ve never had to endure such an experience before: be on time, don’t panic, do your research, be positive not aggressive and answer the questions. One can’t fault these wise s Continue reading

Posted in careers, interview panels, job interviews, Science Culture | Comments Off on Playing to Your Strengths

ReCon 2016 – my favourite small conference

ReCon has become my favourite small conference about publishing and research. It’s held each June in Edinburgh. I attended it in 2015 and really enjoyed it. There were stimulating presentations on non-trivial topics, and plenty of interesting conversations over coffee and lunch. So I went again this year with high expectations that were not disappo Continue reading

Posted in conference, data visualisation, Information skills, Journal publishing, Research data, Research tools, scholarly communications, software tools | Comments Off on ReCon 2016 – my favourite small conference

Women on the Platform

Too often one hears of — or attends in person — conferences where all (or nearly all) of the invited and keynote speakers are male. It is dispiriting every time one comes across such an occasion. It isn’t as if people have not had their attention drawn to this form of unconscious bias when a programme is drawn up, since it is so often highlighted, Continue reading

Posted in burden, committees, conference, keynote speaker, Science Culture, Women in science | Comments Off on Women on the Platform

ICYMI No. 6: What is the meaning of Brexit?

Today EMBO Reports has published my commentary on the implications for scientific research of Britain’s recent decision to leave the EU. Although it should be freely available, the piece is  temporarily stuck behind a paywall. So, for those without a subscription, here is the full text. I’ll update this post once the paywall has been li Continue reading

Posted in ICYMI, international, Science & Politics, Science policy | Comments Off on ICYMI No. 6: What is the meaning of Brexit?

Self promotion

Self-promotion via Bad Science Jokes

via Bad Science Jokes

I do find the trope that women do not self-promote tiresome. If I self-promote, does this mean that I am not a woman? 😕

It is not in my nature to do disco moves in a lab, but I do admit to having done some stuff. Continue reading

Posted in Meta, self-promotion; women in science, Women in science | Comments Off on Self promotion

Being Stern about Portability

Most people seem to think the Stern Review of the REF (Building on Success and Learning from Experience), published today, has done a fine job, with (if my Twitter stream is to be believed) the exception of the issue of the portability of outputs. The interpretation being put on it is that this will somehow disadvantage early career researchers (EC Continue reading

Posted in ECRs, Lord Stern, REF, Research, research outputs | Comments Off on Being Stern about Portability

Keeping Track

I am a great believer in Post-it notes.  Every room in which I work (perhaps embarrassingly there are three: in the Department, the College and my home in the Master’s Lodge) has torn off Post-it notes scattered around and a selection of virgin pads of different sizes to hand. This is how I scribble down those tasks I mustn’t forget to do. I don’t Continue reading

Posted in office tidiness, post-it notes, Science Culture, to do list | Comments Off on Keeping Track

Why Side-line the Women?

‘I bumped into my supervisor on the stairs when I was with X [my fellow postdoc]. I might as well have been invisible, he didn’t address a word to me. It really hurt.’

So wrote a young female postdoc during an extremely miserable couple of years working in the USA. Continue reading

Posted in job share, mommy track, motherhood, part-time, Women in science | Comments Off on Why Side-line the Women?