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Science Communication & Ethics

How to be a Scientific Social Media King/Queen!

You have a nicely baked research project, all set and ready to tempt the world. Then comes an afterthought. It needs some spice, decoration, and even more. As a young or mature scientist your work is often confined to a niche area, riddled with scientific jargon, and confined to intellectual circles. In the 21st century…

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To (Science) Blog or Not to (Science) Blog

Look out technical science writing, there’s an alternative voice in town. In the past decade, bloggers have taken to their keyboards and changed the voice of the internet. With their relaxed writing styles and ability to impart wisdom in a few short paragraphs, most of the online population consumes science blogs. Although scientists are often…

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Are you Guilty of P-Hacking?

P-value abuse directly contributes to one of the biggest problems facing the scientific community: the prominence of false-positive results in the published literature. Contrary to popular interpretation, the p-value doesn’t indicate the likelihood that the observed result was due to chance. There are important qualifications to p-value interpretation.  Moreover, the p-value cannot directly speak to…

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Science Outreach: Why Should You Care?

All scientists should be involved in some aspect of outreach. There. I said it. I know, I know. This goes completely against why most scientists pursued their careers in the first place: to dedicate their lives to discovery, and to do so alone. With minimal human interaction, especially with non-scientists. Why You Should Reach Out…

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How do you Solve a Problem like Pseudoscience?

If you need hair advice are you more likely to scour the Trichological Society’s website, or head over to Pinterest? In the age of the search button, people have access to all sorts of “information,” and knowledge is power. No subject or discipline is shielded from social media, and now more than ever the public…

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How to Write a Press Release to Impress

If you’re like most scientists, you spend far more time worrying about getting your name on a paper than in the paper. Concerns over misrepresentation, peer perception and busy schedules keep scientists from reaching out to the media and, by extension, the public. Sharing your science is beneficial to both the public and your own…

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How to Have a Successful Lab Outreach Program

Lab outreach programs are one of the ways that science reaches out to its future generations and entices them to join the ranks of those who have pledged allegiance to the pursuit of the unknown. Successfully running these programs for young adolescents depends on a certain number of factors, such as the ability to capture…

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How to Access All Science for Free?

I am writing the revision of my latest manuscript: choleric Reviewer #2 argues that Bogdanov (2010) has already done the same work. Surprise! Bogdanov (2010) is not exactly available…the article is behind a paywall at $30. Yes, it’s unfortunately true, universities cannot grant me access to all the science, but will I pay? For a…

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Common Myths of Copyright

Copyright is something that a lot of scientists only give a passing thought to. However, this is something that affects us all. If you publish your work, then you need to understand copyright, the different types of copyright, the difference between open access and copyright and what you can and cannot do under different copyright…

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Brahe’s Battles: The Outcome

What do science and rapping have in common?  Usually not much.  Unless you happen to be Tom McFadden that is, and then rapping becomes a tool for teaching kids about science. Tom McFadden is no stranger to music and science.  Tom is a science communicator whose hit single, Regulatin’ Genes, garnered him national recognition.  In…

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Avoiding Plagiarism in Science

I remember when I first learned about plagiarism during my undergraduate course. The lecturers were so firm in telling us that if we got caught plagiarizing we would face serious repercussions and that all our work, especially our dissertations, would be vigorously checked by plagiarism detecting software. I was so panicked that I would inadvertently…

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Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks

A few summers ago, my son came home from day camp and reported that he saw a “bad magician.” Was the magician incompetent, I asked, or was he evil? The bad scientists Ben Goldacre profiles in his book run this gamut of badness. Gillian McGrath, a nutritionist who claims that eating the darker leaves in…

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Perfecting that Lay Summary

Most of us have had to write a lay summary or abstract at some point. How easy do you find this? In my experience, it is harder than you think! Whether for your thesis, graduate fellowship grant application, or even lab newsletter, writing about your research in plain English is a crucial skill. Communicating your…

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Keeping Your Science Out of the (Junk) Headlines

As a research scientist you spend years toiling away on your area of interest, hoping for a big breakthrough, or at least a more minor contribution to your field. So it is no doubt frustrating to see good science gone bad (or just bad science) perpetuated by the mainstream media catering to those with an…

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Book Review: Bad Pharma – Ben Goldacre

With a subtitle that says ‘How drug companies mislead doctors and harm patients’ you’re hardly expecting a comedy. Shockingly: on page 5 Ben Goldacre already dissolves all hopes that it might not be as bad as the title suggests, by saying: ‘… it is so deep-rooted that even if we fixed it today – right…

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Science and the Media – Dos and Don’ts

Have you ever wondered how the media can write (often cringingly inaccurately) about a recently published scientific paper? Attending Standing up for Science media workshop organised by the Sense about Science charity shed a lot of light on this issue for me There are times when the media are hungry for any news, mostly during…

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Brahe’s Battle: Kickstarting Science With Rap

“Science” and “rap” are not the two words I expected to find in one sentence. How very small-minded of me. Much to my surprise I discovered that in 2010 Bitesize Bio had a BioPop Rap Battle between nationally-recognized Tom McFadden and a relative newcomer, Science Rapper. In this epic battle between the Cassius Clay and…

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Us and Them: Bridging the Gap with Curiosity

The recently released poll from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press puts light to an interesting dichotomy between scientists and the general public. If you have often wondered whether anyone outside the scientific world ever notices your hard work, take heart! You are appreciated! Seventy percent of the public view scientists as…

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