This week, I am tweeting not from my own account, but from the science communication “rocur” (rotating curator) account realsci_DE, the German version of realscientists. This is the latest instance of a few experiences in talking about science and my work as a scientist to a non-expert audience, and I’ve learned a great deal from and about this in the past. So I thought I’d share a few insights that I had along the way (fun fact: there are no natural born communicators, it all needs practice).
The new year is here, and many of us start off with some resolutions. Following this trend, I thought it would be fun to share some things I’ve been doing and will continue to do that mostly (with the exception of point 3) require only little effort on my side and which positively impact my sciencing and that of those around me. Continue reading 7 small things you can do for science in 2017
A year (and a few days) ago Sho and I launched CogTales, and what a year it has been. Thanks to you all, be it as readers, guest posters, or in the comments, we’ve grown quite a bit in this short time. Posts covered research practices, personal experiences, an ongoing R course, and even a successful kickstarter campaign! Our most popular posts were actually those where we shared a personal story, be it about becoming an expeRt coder or standing up in a big room to ask the tough questions. This shows that those stories matter and are of interest, so we will continue to share the experiences and opinions of junior female researchers in cognitive science. If you would like to tell your story, just get in touch!
To a fantastic 2017!
Recently, we (that is Page and Christina) successfully launched the Parisian installation of R-Ladies Global. It’s a meetup group and at the same time a non-profit coding club for all R proficiency levels, whether you’re a new or aspiring R user, or an experienced R programmer interested in mentoring, networking, and maybe picking up some new skills. We are a community designed to encourage, support and ultimately drive the development of our own R skills through a range of events, including meetups where members tackle hands-on tutorials and exercises to learn specific functionalities, informal gatherings, talks about latest trends, and debates. Our goal is to promote access to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) careers and tools for women (trans and cis) and gender-variant people. Men are welcome, too, by the way. We just need a member to bring them to the next meetup. In other words, we try to be a harassment-free zone. Sadly, that’s easier to do when men are screened beforehand.
Criticism, and how to (not) do it has been a hotly discussed topic. For example, there is a very useful three-point guide by Uri Simonsohn how to handle criticism in a civil way. If you do science, you will be criticized at some point and you will have to criticize others. After all, our whole peer review system hinges on picking out all that might be wrong. Not everyone knows how to give and handle feedback, actually, and it’s really very hard sometimes (and this is for example an integral part of science woman’s origin story). Some people might spend their whole scientific career never learning anything about being constructive, be it as recipient or criticizer. Continue reading Critical culture
You might have noticed that this blog was very quiet during the summer months. That is, in part, thanks to the fact that we actually went on holidays! (Plus, while preparing for those vacations there might have been a finish-everything-madness, but we admit to nothing).
Why is this newsworthy? Continue reading Summer is over, and that’s ok
Science is becoming more and more open and transparent, and I think that’s awesome. An important aspect is sharing whatever information is necessary to reproduce results, usually that includes data and scripts. While open science can be beneficial for a researcher, this practice is still being met with some (justified) skepticism, but has become more and more accepted and common in research; in fact PLOS One for example made it a requirement for publication (how well that’s going is a different story). Funding agencies across the globe are quickly following suit, so chances are high you either already have to or will in the near future think about data sharing. But what does it entail? Continue reading Datasharing – yes, please! An attempt at a beginner’s guide
Britain has voted to leave the European Union. Of course, this vote is, as many are quick to point out, not legally binding and does not equal an instantaneous exit of the UK from Europe. If anything, an exit will take over two years. What the result reflects, however, is a current trend to oppose mobility, immigration, and an overarching body, the EU, that collects and re-distributes money.
Whatever the UK does with the Brexit vote in the end and however it will be implemented, it’s near certain that this will negatively affect science across borders, as for example the Guardian, Times Higher Education, and the Scientific American write. Continue reading Brexit, and now? Scientists share their personal thoughts and stories
Both of your favorite blog writers, that is Sho and me, Christina, are currently funded by a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual (post doc) Fellowship by the European Research Council. Before that, we also applied, sometimes successfully, for other grants. You might ask how we did it, and we’re happy to share what we learned during the application process and from the feedback we received.
We’re focusing this post on the Marie Sklodowska-Curie individual fellowship in general, if you have specific question about the Intra European version or the Outgoing-Incoming funding scheme ask us for details. We’re both happy to help you out, and might add your questions to this hopefully dynamic and growing post.
The great preregistration challenge is here, so this is a perfect time to preregister your next study. After all, when do you get the chance to win money for your research? But some might wonder what this pre-thingy is…
Preregistration is a simple, and yet surprisingly novel (as far as I know), idea to ensure that researchers follow the scientific method. In other words, a preregistration means you decide before data collection what (which phenomenon, population) you want to test how (procedure, stimuli, measures, and perhaps most importantly statistics). This is the very definition of testing hypotheses, because commencing data collection should be marking a point of no return when it comes to hypotheses, variables, and statistics. The exception is exploratory work, I will go into detail later on that topic. But back to a typical experiment, the (idealized) lifecycle is illustrated below. Note the arrows going only in one direction and the red line you should definitely not cross between data collection and planning your analyses based on pre-specified hypotheses.