How to use Twitter for networking in academia

Within the span of two months, I’ve been asked to give essentially the same talk three times. The topic: how to network on Twitter (and other social media). How did this happen? Well, first a group of Parisian post docs organized a day-long workshop and apparently my tweeting is good enough to warrant inviting me back to my former home. Because I was invited, I took some care to prepare, and I think I did a decent job – decent enough, at least, to get some audience members to tweet about it and putting into practice what I just told them. Continue reading How to use Twitter for networking in academia

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Building a network of women and nonbinary cognitive modelers

Here’s a (maybe not so well-kept) secret: I’ve got a PhD in modeling! No, not the posing kind, I constructed computational models of babies’ minds and behavior to better understand their early language acquisition. I learned a lot about cognition, babies, and data in that time. Next to that and two programming languages (Python and R) I also learned a bit about the modeling world. A key insight came to me after repeatedly trying to network with senior men and that being taken … the very wrong way. I must admit, I don’t know how much not being taken seriously as a modeler by some (no, not all) fellow modelers contributed to the fact that I took a step away from this field and am now an infant and a meta-science researcher most of the time. I am often thinking about what I’d recommend fellow women aspiring to a modeling career. So, at last, here’s the insight: build a support network of women modelers.* For those who watched a recent instalment of Academic Crisis Line, this might not be terribly earth shattering, but you have to realize that this is something that holds for your corner of science. I met a node in this support network soon thereafter, Olivia Guest, with whom I could talk forever about all those “fun” encounters. At some point, the idea to make a list of all fantastic, but probably vastly underappreciated women and nonbinary folks in modeling emerged, as she writes in her blog. There was some back and forth, questions about time investment, criteria, subcategories, so we effectively never got started, but such lists are super useful. For example, I suggested replacement speakers when asked to give a talk recently, and this list would have made my life much easier. So I am glad that Olivia turned to Twitter and simply asked others to make a list. The resulting thread is a goldmine.

The overwhelming response led us to start a spreadsheet, where you can add yourself and/or others. We welcome volunteers to make this into a website, improve tagging, etc…

Now, when can you use this list? There are so many moments beyond looking for speakers, which is probably the most salient use case. You also want to open it when you prepare a lecture on modeling and are looking for authors whose papers to discuss (you might even know them but forgot to add them to your reading list). Some might also find it useful when planning summer schools, I’m teaching modeling at two this year, for example. Or when writing a paper and looking for a reference, why not cite a woman modeler?

These efforts might seem small, but remember: Every time a woman modeling student sees a fellow woman modeler speaking or cited the path to success will seem a little less steep.

* I also want to mention Women in CogSci which has a mentorship program.

How to review a manuscript for a journal

Franziska Hartung, PhD

Good reviews are supportive, constructive, thoughtful and fair. They identify both strengths and weaknesses alike and offer concrete suggestions for improvement. Good reviewers acknowledge their own biases and knowledge limitations and justify their conclusions.

Bad reviews are superficial, petty, and arrogant. Bad reviewers are very opinionated but typically don’t justify their biases. Their reports focus on weaknesses only but don’t offer solutions or other form of helpful feedback.

In today’s session, I walked you through the review process and told you how I write review reports:

Here you can find a template for the review report.

Additional ressources:

https://authorservices.wiley.com/Reviewers/journal-reviewers/how-to-perform-a-peer-review/step-by-step-guide-to-reviewing-a-manuscript.html offers a detailed step by step guide.

https://editorresources.taylorandfrancisgroup.com/reviewers-guidelines-and-best-practice/ offer additional advice and concrete examples of how to express criticism diplomatically.

http://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2016/09/how-review-paper features a lot of personal strategies and experiences which are often different from what I do.

Where I stole the summary from (almost word by word): https://facultystaff.richmond.edu/~rterry/NECTFL/How_to_Review_a_Journal_Article_NECTFL.pdf

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When authorship sails away – Stories of the intricacies of academic accreditation

Papers are the currency in academia, they seem to determine our whole career. So, naturally, we try to publish as much as we can, while at the same time trying to produce good science. But sometimes authorship can become tricky, with hard decisions and disappointment. We share author-hard-ship stories here that cover a range of experiences, from being undeservedly excluded over the impression of getting too much credit to our own case that we consider ambiguous to this day.* All stories illustrate one key advice: Talk about authorship as early as possible in a project. This includes defining who is responsible for what, and discussing who is the lead of this project.**
Continue reading When authorship sails away – Stories of the intricacies of academic accreditation

Rejection report: Part 1

Sometimes, things just fall into place:  The evening before the most recent Academic Crisis Line on dealing with rejection and frustration, I got a pre-holiday manuscript rejection. As pointed out by the crisis liners, rejection in academia happens to everyone on a rather regular basis. So what we should really be concentrating on is to deal with it in the most self-preserving and productive ways possible. One thing that can really help is to talk through it, and to connect with others in similar situations.

So I thought it would be an interesting experiment to share my unfiltered thoughts while I deal with this rejected paper here on this blog.

Continue reading Rejection report: Part 1

How to deal with rejection & frustration

Franziska Hartung, PhD

Being able to deal with rejection and frustration is a key academic skill. The earlier you learn it, the better. Whether you get roasted in a Q&A session, have to deal with constant cynical remarks from peers, get a series of papers or grant proposals rejected, or deal with the endless frustration of university bureaucracy and interpersonal conflicts – negativity lures around every corner. It’s time to pick your weapons.

With my friends Dr Molly Berenhaus and Dr Christina Bergmann, I chatted today about our strategies to deal with the everyday rejection and frustration in academia. In the session we talked about First Aid as well as Long Term Prevention strategies. You can rewatch the discussion here (most important take home messages below):

  1. Understand that this is part of your job. Your experience is not unique to you -everybody deals with the same shit. Promised.
  2. It is also rarely personal.

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How to manage your supervisor

This week’s academic crisis line on how to manage supervisors.
#1 Talk open about expectations, communication, and concerns.
#2 Their job is to help you get independent.
#3 Always be proactive and prepared.

Franziska Hartung, PhD

Today I talked about the relationship with your supervisor. The role of your supervisor is to provide you with an environment suitable to develop your academic skills in order to become independent and to finish your thesis in a reasonable time. In turn, your supervisor expects from you commitment, involvement, and accountability. It is important to understand that your supervisor is also a person with strengths, shortcomings and an own agenda. Luckily, it is usually in your supervisors best interest if you succeed because your success is also their’s. In order to have a functional relationship with them it is crucial to build on strengths and develop strategies to deal with difficulties. You are just as responsible to nurture your relationship with your supervisor as they are. In the live session, I discussed different types of supervisors sand how to deal with them:

Most supervisors are a combination of the…

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Academic side hustles

This week’s Academic Crisis lines: Which side hustles bring you forward at each stage in your carrer?

Franziska Hartung, PhD

Today, I talked about academic side hustles. You can rewatch the session here (mini summary below):

Most side hustles are helpful for networking, developing and communicating your skills, and can generate a side income. You should only invest in side hustles which will help you achieve your goals or are fun. Keep in mind that these are usually voluntary activities which should in the first place benefit you and your career.

If you are very early in your career, I suggest you focus on fewer things. Most helpful side hustles for pre-doc researchers are reviewing (you can ask your supervisor to help you get experience or volunteer for conference abstract review), teaching (don’t overdo that, it is very time and energy consuming), as well as volunteer and science communication services (public outreach, valorization).

If you are at least halfway through your PhD and have finished one project from start to…

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Shared office space – a delicate ecosystem

Just a few months ago, I moved into the very first office that has only my name on it. During my whole scientific career, I shared offices of various sizes with between 1 and 7+ people. My office history ranges from the windowless undergrad thesis internship room where 6 students working on related projects and shared science and cookies over the room with a view and 2 colleagues as a PhD to the office with a server and between 0 and 3 others I occupied as post doc. During this time, I experienced many ways of sharing space: From the uncomplicated folks that tolerate your occasional cursing at the monitor to the weirdly expansion obsessed colleague who insisted that I would have more room if I just moved closer to the wall. Now, I’d like to think I know a bit about how to navigate shared office spaces, and I want to impart some bits of my wisdom and open them for discussion. Don’t hesitate to share your office mate horror stories in the comments and/or add useful tips how to improve office life!

Continue reading Shared office space – a delicate ecosystem

How to juggle multiple projects

Our wonderful colleague Franziska has started a great new vlog: Academic Crisis line, a biweekly live Q & A on your burning questions around navigating academia. Check out the video and summary of her first session!

Franziska Hartung, PhD

How to juggle multiple projects

In the first Academic Crisis Line session, we talked about tips and tools which help organizing your work time efficiently so that you can manage multiple projects without getting overwhelmed. You can rewatch the video here:

Here is a mini summary:

  1. Day to day business (microlevel managing)
    • Tools: timetable, calendars, planners, spreadsheets, post its, Google Tasks, Trello,…
    • Make a week overview with all the regular events to see which blocks of time you have available to work on your projects. Don’t forget to insert private events to see which evening you can realistically work longer and which not.
    • Your week will now be chunked up into smaller and bigger time windows. Try to get two entire days of uninterrupted work without meetings, lecture series or other obligations (1 full + 2 half days will do, too). These are the days on which you can work…

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