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Writing, Publishing and Presenting

From Submission to Print: Getting the Best out of the Peer-Review Process

In this webinar you will learn: What happens to your paper from submission to print. Top tips for getting your paper published. Abstract: We all know how important publications are in scientific research; they are the medium to share your work with the wider scientific community and are key for getting grants and furthering your…

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Five Simple Tips to Break Your Dissertation up into Manageable Parts

You’ve got an advisor, you’re done with classes, you’ve finally passed your qualifying exams and your dissertation project is underway. Life is looking good, but it’s not too early to start thinking about how to tackle your dissertation. Chances are this is the biggest writing project you have ever undertaken, so breaking it up into…

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Five Easy Ways to Reduce Word Count

The NIH grant that you are working on only gives you five pages to describe your research strategy. You’re wrestling with a research report for Science that has a maximum word limit of 2500. And the abstract for the conference you’d like to speak at this spring only allows you 300 words to summarize the…

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When the Words Won’t Come: Overcoming Writer’s Block

Whether you are writing your thesis, a manuscript or a grant, there will come a time when you need to write, but getting words onto the paper will be like trying to get DNA from a rock – you are pretty sure it ain’t going to happen. Luckily there are a few tricks you can…

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Common Sins When Publishing Your Paper

When it comes to publishing your paper you want to show the world what excellent research you’ve worked so hard to produce. Part of that is providing enough detail so that others can reproduce your work and take it further. There are certain details you need to include in your paper; many, but not all…

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Stand By Your Poster

A lot of scientists hate presenting posters. Because more often than not, you stand near your carefully designed, full of great results placard, all alone, while there is a crowd gathered two posters down. There are some conclusions you could come to: You might think that the popular poster author’s work is brilliant – unlike…

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Dive into Science writing, presenting & editing at Bitesize Bio

You’ll learn How writing with Bitesize Bio… gives you an opportunity to express your ideas and help fellow bioscientists can bring you opportunities to gain training and experience and opportunities not only in writing, but also in editing, eBook publication, webinar presenting and more how to get started! Bitesize Bio’s central goal is to equip scientists…

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Choosing the Best Journal for Your Paper

Publishing research results is critical to maintain a career in academia. Unfortunately, with the ever-increasing number of journals, it can be very time-consuming and difficult to find a good match for a new manuscript. In this webinar, we’ll look at ways to: search for target journals (and where to collect additional information and metrics about…

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Tips and Tools for Making your Next Paper Amazing

In this webinar you will learn: tips, tricks and information on how to assemble a great manuscript how to increase your chances of getting your paper accepted. Summary: While writing a paper may seem very straight-forward, it is actually a process with many steps and pitfalls, especially since there are likely several people involved in…

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If English is My Native Language, Why Would I Need Editing

In this webinar you will learn:  a variety of different types of editing how editing can improve your paper Summary: This webinar covers different types or levels of editing, how editing can improve the writing of both native and non-native English speakers, the benefits of improving a paper via editing, and what to look for…

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Lay out your manuscripts, theses and reports like a pro with LaTeX for Biologists

In this webinar, you will learn how to get started with Overleaf, and run step-by-step through everything you’ll need to create and publish your first article. how to share your documents with your collaborators, and how the integrated commenting system can be used to allow others to give quick feedback Summary: Overleaf is an online…

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A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words – Making Diagrams Simple

Figures play a central role in science not just as a way of displaying results, although this is obviously important, but also as a way of getting across complicated theories and processes in a relatively simple and direct manner.  I’m a firm believe in the power of putting ideas into diagrams and spent a considerable…

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Banish Those Insecurities: Tips on Giving Scientific Talks

Every once in a while you are forced to abandon your comfort zone.  You have to leave behind your comfortable territory of the lab bench or your desk in the reading room and stand up in front of a group of people. Then, you will be expected to deliver – the department seminar, a progress…

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Do science and copyright mix? (or: if you love your writing, set it free)

American academic and political activist Lawrence Lessig argues that digital technologies allow all of us to change from passive consumers of culture to its creators. Producing books, newspapers, and movies in the 20th century required a lot of investment into manufacturing and distribution, which made most of the population unable to take part in wider culture,…

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Where to publish negative results

I met a final year PhD student once, who told me a sad story. His supervisor had a plausible idea that exercise reduces the chances of developing bowel cancer. To test the hypothesis, the student made a transgenic mouse with an increased incidence of bowel cancer and got the mice to run (or not run)…

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Alternatives to presenting your science with Powerpoint

I was shocked recently at a seminar called  “Writing with style” by the Manchester University writer-in-residence, Chris Simms. He opened by saying that he has never done a presentation using Powerpoint in his life. What? Surely biologists and PowerPoint presentations (PPT) go together like biologists and white lab coats. They teach you to make PPTs…

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Scientific manuscripts: what constitutes authorship?

With ever increasing demands on researchers to publish, sometimes it feels like the whole world and their dog are vying for authorship on your latest manuscript. Appropriate and fair representation of those that contributed to sample collection, lab experiments and preparation of the manuscript is essential but can often be complex. So in this article…

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Writing for science? Beware of these spellchecker hiccups

You’ve added the final touches to your scientific manuscript / presentation / thesis. You’ve even run the spellchecker and grammar checker and everything seems perfect. There are no little green or red squiggles under the text. Now it’s ready to submit or present – or is it? What could be wrong? If you read my…

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11 scientific spell-/grammar checker failures that you can learn from

You should never completely rely on your spellchecker or grammar checker when writing your scientific manuscript, thesis, or presentation. I’ll talk more about exactly why in my next article, but first let’s have a bit of fun to get you warmed up – this is Bitesize Bio after all. Over the years, I have lovingly…

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The Reproducibility Initiative: Let Them Eat Cake!

Despite obvious differences between the Korean professor-biotechnologist Hwang Woo-suk and German-born postdoc Jan Hendrik Schön, who used to work in the US on semiconductors, both of these scientists have something in common. Since Hwang Woo-suk’s and Schön’s groundbreaking articles were published in Nature and Science, nobody has been able to reproduce their results  and the…

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Science writing tips by Trivalent Editing

January 2013 marks the start of a series of articles by Trivalent Editing, full of tips and advice to help you improve your academic writing skills. We are a trio of experienced biomedical scientists who spent many happy years as postdoctoral researchers before making the decision to switch to science editing. During our research careers we successfully prepared…

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How To Craft The Perfect Title For Your Manuscript

Of all the words you write to prepare a manuscript, too often the most important ten or so are left as an afterthought. You’ve slaved for weeks to finish your manuscript. Through draft and re-draft, you managed to shoehorn hundreds of man-hours of careful lab work into the word limit designed to be precisely 300…

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What Is Open Access Anyway?

It is a truth universally acknowledged that free cheese exists only in a mousetrap, and even there it’s free only to the end user. So it’s no wonder that the traditional system of most scientific publications through publishing houses seems to be fair. A publishing house (PH) employs editors as well as technical personnel to…

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The Pressure to Publish and Scientific Misconduct

Every once in a while a big case of scientific fraud reaches public attention. Does that mean these well-known cases are exceptions, a few rotten apples…or might the rest of the fruit bowl also be affected? A major part of a scientist’s work is to secure funding for future research. Obtaining funding is strongly connected…

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How To Ace Your Journal Club Presentation

Scientific journal clubs are a fantastic opportunity to sharpen your presentation skills in an informal atmosphere composed of your peers.  Furthermore, regular attendance will help keep your knowledge of the scientific literature up to date and foster good scientific relationships with your colleagues. The following are a few tips to make the most of your…

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Can Post-Publication Peer Review Really Work?

I recently became aware of Webmedcentral.com, a collection of biomedical journals that publishes research articles online under the unique philosophy of “post-publication peer review”.  The flagship journal of this website, WebmedCentral, promises publication of any article within 48 hours, with absolutely no review process beforehand.  Articles are then open for commenting by members of the…

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How to Write Your Thesis Right

After years of hard work in the lab, having to sit down and write everything up can be a daunting and difficult task. Here are a few tips that I picked up during my thesis write-up that might help to make the process that little bit easier. Back up This is probably the advice most…

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How To Write an Awesome Abstract

Let’s face it: when you said you read that paper, what you really meant was that you read the abstract. And that conference you went to? You probably scanned the abstracts of the posters instead of actually attending the poster session and chatting with the presenters. It’s a dirty little secret and a time-saving tool…

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5 Ways to Delay The Publication of Your Manuscript

Most scientists I know approach the publication process with fear and trembling: the endless discussions about what journal to submit to, the agonized consideration of impact factors, comparing the all-important “time to first decision”, etc. Now that I’ve been working for a scientific publisher for a few months, I’m surprised at how many manuscripts still…

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4 Tips for Better Scientific Image Processing in Photoshop

For scientists, Photoshop is a double-edged sword with a dagger nailed to the hilt. Its power in image processing is unrivalled; its ability to gut you with ethics violations is unmatched. An earlier article outlined how to keep your conscience clean when Photoshopping, here we offer four tips that will help walk with the Photoshop balancing…

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How to Present Successfully at Conferences

The very idea of standing up and giving an oral presentation at a conference gives even the most confident of us butterflies. Additionally, I don’t know many scientists who find the thought of spending hours working on a powerpoint presentation exactly thrilling. However, there are many benefits to presenting your work at a conference. First…

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Is Your Science Making an Impact?

It’s pretty likely you’ll have heard of impact factors, either through colleagues talking about them in the lab, or from a journal homepage advertising its latest score. Whilst impact factor is a relatively artificial value, it is something that journal editors, scientists and some funding agencies take seriously. It’s therefore important to understand what it…

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How to Survive a Poster Session

Poster sessions can be your best friend, or your worst nightmare; it all comes down to how well you’ve prepared.  In this article, I’ll discuss how to present your data in poster form, what to look out for at a poster session, and how to make the most out of a poster session…in short, how…

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Turn That Frown Upside Down! or, How to Publish Your Negative Results

There are six little words that can instill both excitement and trepidation in the heart of a graduate student: “No one’s ever done this before.” What those words really mean, of course, is “No one’s ever published this before,” and you are either standing at the edge of a great discovery or a chasm of…

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5 Reasons To Use LaTeX (The Typesetting Engine, Not The Gloves)

In today’s technology-driven world, we leave so many things to our electronic gadgets. Surprisingly, many life scientists try manically to control the appearance of their documents by hand with programs like MS Word. LaTeX takes this task off your hands by providing highly efficient algorithms to properly format your texts. The results are almost always…

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Make Better Figures Faster Using Illustrator

Against the advice of journals and printers, many scientists use Microsoft Powerpoint to assemble posters and figures. You should consider upgrading to Adobe Illustrator! For generating scientific figures, Illustrator is more powerful and flexible than Powerpoint and is designed to produce print documents at high quality resolution. This means that journals will stop sending your…

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How To Make Figures Right The First Time

Collecting the data took several years, writing the paper took several months, assembling the figures took several weeks, and converting those figures to PDFs took a frustratingly long day. You waited a month for the paper to come back from review, then two months re-doing experiments to satisfy a sadistic reviewer. Finally, your paper is…

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Build a CV You Can Be Proud Of – Part I: Communication Skills

They say scientists are highly skilled… and rightly so! While many people would think that we’re shy, retiring types who sit at our lab benches obsessing over teeny-weeny molecules, science (and particularly the process of obtaining a PhD) sets us up as highly skilled members of the workforce. I can hear you all groaning as…

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7 Mantras for Pain-free Thesis Writing

You’ve spent a few years optimising your experiments and gathering data, and with good planning “The easier way to write a PhD thesis” it’s all come together and you’re ready to start writing it up. This is the last big challenge in getting your PhD finished, but it’s the part which can feel the most…

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