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Writing, Publishing and Presenting

What You Should Know About Intellectual Property Rights

Innovation is the essence of research and it is the fuel that keeps the research industry going. If it were not for inventions, the field of scientific research would have dropped dead long ago. However, simply innovating something is not sufficient. It is not the end of the road, but the beginning of it. Therefore,…

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How (not) to write a terrible scientific thesis

So it’s time to write up your thesis. By now, you probably consider yourself an expert on your topic or you hate the sight of it (or both!). Either way, hundreds of typewritten pages are all that stands between you and graduation/freedom. One of your first requirements will be to review the current knowledge on…

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Publishing Online? Consider a Graphical Abstract

There is a new way to present your paper, and some journals are even beginning to require it. Introducing… the Graphical Abstract. When submitting for online journals, not only do you have to write your normal abstract, you may also need to provide a graphical abstract. Various publishers, such as Elsevier, Springer, Taylor & Francis,…

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15 Top Tips to Giving a Great Talk

I still remember the first time I stood in front of a crowd of about 35 people, including my brand new lab mates and professors, in my first ever lab meeting. My feet were as wobbly as ever and all I wanted was a big boulder to hide behind, so my crazy shaky legs would…

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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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5 Top Tips for Surviving Your First Conference

One of the really exciting parts of being involved in research is the opportunity to travel to a conference (hopefully at an exotic location!) to present your work and get to see presentations from the major players in your chosen field. Now you’ll probably have all sorts of frivolous reasons for not wanting to go…

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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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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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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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