Deal or no deal: Brexit hurts scientists

Two and a half years ago, just days after the referendum, we asked colleagues to share their thoughts on Brexit. Back then the heartbreak and shock were fresh, but the far-reaching consequences had become apparent quite quickly. Those who hoped that due to the very close result (I would not advise any policy maker to even consider making decisions based on such a study result, nor would we build theories on such weak and inconclusive grounds!) that Article 50 would never be triggered were disappointed almost two years ago. That means the deadline for leaving the EU with or without a deal is almost here. We, as fans and beneficiaries of the EU, thus asked ourselves what it is like right now to be a researcher in the UK and are grateful to our anonymous friend, Remaining researcher, who shares their story and viewpoint from within the UK. Our hearts go out to all our colleagues who only got to lose, be it with or without a deal… Continue reading Deal or no deal: Brexit hurts scientists

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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

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. Continue reading Building a network of women and nonbinary cognitive modelers

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

Through the eyes of an undergraduate student: I was part of ManyBabies, an international collaboration project

Guest post by Meghan Mastroberardino, third year undergraduate student in Psychology at Concordia University

So, you think you might want to have a career in psychology? In North America, most people who end up calling themselves psychologists began as undergraduate students in a Bachelor of Psychology program and have then completed a PhD. I am a third year undergraduate student in Psychology at Concordia University. One of the best ways to get a better picture of grad school is to volunteer in a research lab and take part in research projects. I have found that it has been challenging journey but it’s when I joined the Concordia Infant Research Lab and met my supervisor in my second year, Dr. Krista Byers-Heinlein, that I felt that maybe psychology really was meant for me. I pushed myself and took on as much responsibility as I could in the lab and for the past year, she and I have worked closely together on a large-scale, pre-registered study called ManyBabies1. Continue reading Through the eyes of an undergraduate student: I was part of ManyBabies, an international collaboration project