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
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.
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
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):
- Understand that this is part of your job. Your experience is not unique to you -everybody deals with the same shit. Promised.
- It is also rarely personal.
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Most of us that are currently grad students or postdocs have experienced colleagues leaving academia for industry jobs. Even though I am currently a happy scholar, I can very well understand those who venture into industry – be it for making impact on a shorter time-scale and in a more direct manner, for more job security and more regular working hours, or simply for higher pay and the possibility to plan a family and get some savings. And indeed, the fluidity between academia and industry has arguably never been that strong. I find it very important for us young cognitive scientists to know that academia is not a one-way street, and the world outside there is welcoming us warmly, should we choose to enter it.
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
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.
ResearchGate – a social networking site for researchers to interact, connect, and to share papers and knowledge. Since its foundation in 2008, it has by now a (self-reported) 8 million users, and its press coverage has been mostly positive. Interestingly, the rather enthusiastic press articles are contrasting with more critical voices from inside the research community (for instance here or here). Main points of criticism are