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ORCIDs set to bloom in 2016

Have you got an ORCID identifier yet? You should. They’re on the rise – and for good reason.

An ORCID iD is a number (mine is 0000-0002-0552-8870) that unambiguously and persistently identifies you in the digital world of academia. Continue reading

Posted in science | Comments Off on ORCIDs set to bloom in 2016

Henry Gee’s top ten reads of 2015

At the tail end of 2015 I reviewed the 23 books that had entertained and enlightened me over the course of the year. My friend Henry Gee, formerly of this parish, managed nearly twice that number. In a guest post full of his characteristic wit, he lists his top ten. 

On going through the list of 41 books read this year, I was amazed to come across Continue reading

Posted in book review, Science & Art | Comments Off on Henry Gee’s top ten reads of 2015

Armchair Travel

One of the best things about the Christmas break is the ability to immerse oneself in books without the endless distracting ping of arriving emails or the intervention of interminable committee meetings (and accompanying papers to wade through). This year I seem to have indulged myself in a feast of books on travel (loosely defined), from the large Continue reading

Posted in book review, Equality, Gloria Steinem, metaphor, Simon Armitage | Comments Off on Armchair Travel

The Season of Presents

I have written before of my desire to get my hands on a Pensieve, that wonderful, fantastical creation of JK Rowling characterised as the receptacle described here:

One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one’s mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one’s leisure.

I would also find a Timeturner rather useful too, another inventio Continue reading

Posted in Ed Kramer, mentoring, Science Culture, support | Comments Off on The Season of Presents

The Metrics of Reaching Out

In my College we are pleased to see that we are doing well against a specific set of metrics associated with social mobility at admissions. This hasn’t happened by accident, but is down to years of hard work and careful thought regarding our widening participation efforts. The recently published annual report of the Social Mobility and Child Povert Continue reading

Posted in Cambridge University, Churchill College, college admissions, education, Equality, widening participation | Comments Off on The Metrics of Reaching Out

Libraries, technology and e-books–go with the flow…

Kindle vs paper

Libraries are becoming virtual, and there are some distinct advantages…

Technology is changing the world, and libraries are picking up on the changes. As a long-time library patron, it has not been uncommon for me to head out to the local branch nearly every weekend. Typically with ~20 books out, including paper ones, CD audiobooks for the c Continue reading

Posted in "Matter Over Mind", A Degree of Betrayal, authors, Books, ebooks, libraries, library, omaha, paper, reading, Research, royalties, royalty, science, Welcome Home Sir | Comments Off on Libraries, technology and e-books–go with the flow…

ICYMI No.1: Preprints for biologists

Since I have developed a habit of writing elsewhere, which necessarily takes time and words away from the blog here at Reciprocal Space, I thought I would try to make amends by developing the habit of linking to the pieces that appear in other corners of the internet. 

To kick off therefore, permit me to alert you to a short article this week publi Continue reading

Posted in Open Access, Preprints, publishing, science | Comments Off on ICYMI No.1: Preprints for biologists

On the troposphere

The second best thing about flying to the US on business is the views you get on the way.


The best thing about flying on business to the US is, of course, coming home

Tropospheric 2

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Posted in art, work | Comments Off on On the troposphere

What’s Changed? Anything? (#Just1action4WIS)

This was the year, amongst other things, of the #distractinglysexy hashtag, as discussed recently on BBC Radio4 here. This hashtag was itself part of the fallout of #Huntgate, the undeserved fall from grace of a Nobel prize winner on the back of an ill-judged joke in Seoul around which a whole mythology seems to have grown up.

As someone who knew T Continue reading

Posted in louise mensch, Tim Hunt, twitter, Women in science | Comments Off on What’s Changed? Anything? (#Just1action4WIS)

Men Talking (and Needing to)

In the wake of the recent fracas over whether a university should celebrate International Men’s Day or not, I was struck by the following sentence in a book I was reading

‘I learned how much everyone needs to talk about their own past, the forces and experiences that shaped them and how rarely this constant need is satisfied in the competitive, pre Continue reading

Posted in Equality, mental health, Richard Holmes, suicide | Comments Off on Men Talking (and Needing to)

In which I lose my tubes, and other manifestations of lab rustiness

When you’re a young scientist, it’s the done thing to poke gentle fun at the lab head for being out of touch. For example, when I was a graduate student, we’d all pretend to be horrified whenever our boss, wearing that rare white coat, approached the bench to actually do an experiment. After all, once you reach a certain point in Continue reading

Posted in careers, Research, Scientific thinking, The profession of science | Comments Off on In which I lose my tubes, and other manifestations of lab rustiness

Just Say No (but How?)

One of those persistent stereotypes-by-gender is that women are less good at saying no than men. Whether or not you believe that to be true, there is no doubt that many of us – myself included – are less than perfect at saying exactly what we mean. It is too easy to try to soften a rejection to the point that the listener, who may after all have an Continue reading

Posted in committee work, Outreach, Research, Science Culture | Comments Off on Just Say No (but How?)

Jolly good fellows: Royal Society publishes journal citation distributions

Full marks and a side order of brownie points for the Royal Society: they have started publishing the citation distributions for all their journals.

This might seem like an unusual and rather technical move to celebrate but it matters. It will help to lift the heavy stone of the journal impact factor that has been squeezing the life out of the body Continue reading

Posted in Open Access, science | Comments Off on Jolly good fellows: Royal Society publishes journal citation distributions

Light Touch Metrics?

In the summer metrics looked like they had been substantially laid to rest for the Higher Education sector: The Metric Tide report, written at the behest of the (probably the about-to-be-late-lamented) HEFCE took many pages to point out that metrics alone would never be a good way of assessing excellence in our universities. Whether you care to use Continue reading

Posted in James Wilsdon, REF, Sajiv Javid, Science Culture, TEF | Comments Off on Light Touch Metrics?

Chairing: Not as Easy as it Looks

If you are setting out on your career, how do you acquire leadership skills? If you think you’re a born leader how can you check it out or improve? As part of the commemorations around the 50th anniversary death of Sir Winston Churchill (Churchill2015) various organisations have been considering different aspects of leadership. The Moller Centre at Continue reading

Posted in chairing, committees, leadership, Science Culture | Comments Off on Chairing: Not as Easy as it Looks