Looking back on 2017

Dear CogTales reader, this post is about and made possible by you! You made this year the best yet in this little blog’s history. In today’s post, we want to take a moment and review which five posts you were most interested in. But first, we want to thank you. We’re hoping that you continue to come back and maybe even tell a friend or two about us. You can even contribute, if you have a story you would like to share, either with your name or anonymously, just get in touch.

So now let’s take a look back at the year as it is ending and review the top five posts according to our visitor statistics in 2017.

  1. P-hacking: A magical way to find significant effects

Our most successful post was, to my personal mild surprise, a satirical guest post on p-hacking for April 1st. At one point, we were actually getting worried that some people would like this “fool-proof” way of finding a significant effect in your data too much. This goes to show that there is still a lot of work to be done.

  1. International mobility for postdocs

The runner up in our top posts of 2017 was Sho’s tale of moving to the US for a post doc, with visa trouble and an honest reflection on the cost – be it financial or in time and energy. A lot of people are in the same situation, and visa application procedures seem like they require you to learn yet another language. We hope some found Sho’s post helpful, if it’s only knowing that you are not alone in this administrative grind.

  1. How to conduct a meta-analysis?

The post on third place was actually quite short, we posted a piece about a 12-part video tutorial we created for our joint project MetaLab. It’s fantastic to see that this got so much attention (and we were pleasantly shocked to find out that the youtube channel has over 100 subscribers, thank you all). If you are thinking about creating a meta-analysis or want to contribute to MetaLab (for example by sharing data or contributing code), we would be thrilled to hear from you.

  1. How we got the Marie Sklodowska-Curie post doc fellowship

Now, number four actually was posted last year already, we share our experiences applying for (and both actually getting) the Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie post doc fellowship. Even the name is a mouthful, and the application procedure is not easier. The latest numbers show that like most post doc grants, this funding scheme is becoming more and more competitive. We’re crossing our fingers for your applications which are currently under review (or if you apply for another grant maybe are in the writing stage). Our advice in the post is as up to date as ever, and if you have more questions, post them in the comments and we will try to answer them.

  1. “Alternative” careers: Leaving academia

The fifth most popular post discusses #altac careers (careers outside academia); Sho interviewed a data scientist and a consultant, and both give wonderful advice on how to survive life after the uni-verse. With the pyramid structure of academia, that means lots of PhDs versus very few permanent positions, knowing that there are alternatives for you is in our opinion very important. We learn a lot in our academic life, but we never get taught how to market those skills. It’s uplifting to see that this is slowly changing, though. I even have added anecdotal evidence for those turning tides, because all (=two) career events I spoke at this year featured non-academic career options. I think it’s great to apply the flexibility of thinking we all need in our science lives to problems outside the ivory tower, including our own career paths.

So, this list is quite diverse, featuring fun posts, methodological topics, and career advice. And even though we focused here on the posts that got the most visitors, we love all our “babies”, from Sho’s recent first episode of her journey through rejection to a short intro to scicomm. We’re also super excited that our colleague Franziska has started her Academic Crisis Line, a live vlog delivering survival skills for academia, which is such a beautiful complement to what we are doing that we’ll keep cross-posting her videos. We plan to continue CogTales in 2018 in the same way, and we’re looking forward to see which topics will make the list next year!

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