Thursday, November 21, 2013

Google as a bibliography software

It looks like Google have introduced some bibliography software functionality to their Google Scholar. Now you can add Google Scholar results to your personal "library" of papers. And you can also assign labels (essentially - tags) to articles.

The interface for adding labels is slightly awkward (a bit too Gmail-style for my taste), but usable: to add a label to a paper you should first create a label (it will be empty just after you created it), then click on the paper title, get to the "paper page" (where the abstract is whoen), and there use a drop-down menu. A bit too many clicks to enjoy the process, but it's usable.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Linkedin endoresments

I like how on Linkedin I have 7 endorsements for "confocal microscopy" (which I in fact only tried for about a week), but just 1 endorsement for "patch clamp" (which I did for 3 years). Naturally, all from people who knew me ~7 years ago (before I tried either). Is not it nice?

Also one endorsement for "Communication audits" (I don't even know what this thing is. How did it even get there?)

Conclusion: endorsements totally don't work if most of your connections are from your previous career. People just choose words that sound nice, and then via positive feedback (most endorsed skills being shown at the top) these flukes perpetuate, and get written in stone.

I am now tempted to delete "confocal microscopy" from my list of skills altogether =)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Number of PhDs

Back from SfN. People still don't understand that the trendy motto "Limit the numbers of PhDs" inevitably comes together with "Make it harder to get to a graduate school".

Which, in turn, means "Make GPA mean more than it does now" (aka "No way back", or "You have only one chance"). Which would totally screw "non-traditional candidates" of all kinds, as well as "hesitant candidates", such as women, minorities, first-generation scientists, converts from other educational paths, people who had a baby, people who took some years off away from academia, etc.

The numbers are not the problem; it is the training program that should be improved (and there's more than one way to do it).

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

English language

ze = terrible
hirself = terrible
s/he = rather terrible
she or he = OK, but longish
they = great, correct, traditional, and sounds good!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

On Researchgate

As people around me are designing their posters and "science cards" (aka "business cards") for the SfN meeting, I see several of them using QR codes that link to their Research Gate profiles.

Now, I do find ResearchGate useful. It gives you space to host your papers, so that people could download them for free, bypassing the paywall. It also comes up pretty high in Google results, so if you want to look professional in Google search, you'd better start an account there. As well as at Linkedin, Google Citations, and Mendeley.

But at the same time, it is just such a half-baked, half-functional site! If a person, a casual visitor, is not registered there (and also logged in by default!) it doesn't even allow them to see your profile! Instead it produces a pop-up, and then flanks the profile with some ridiculous invitations to register that together take up almost half of the screen. Compare it to Linkedin that at least shows your CV all right, even if the visitor is not logged in to the system.

And also ResearchGate just isn't flexible enough to store your CV. It can represent your publications rather decently, and you can put your awards there, and maybe your positions and education history are also OK, but they totally don't have a proper section for teaching experience. They have some weird "Skills" section, that is common in Resumes, but aren't traditionally included into CVs. But they don't have a good way to reflect your teaching. It's just not an optimal way to store a CV online, and certainly not the best way to represent it.

Or maybe I am just too harsh on them?.. I don't know.

Surely it's still better than nothing. But every time I visit ResearchGate, can't help but feel the pain from seeing all these opportunities wasted.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Alternative SfN browser

In case you haven't seen it before, here's an alternative (and really pleasant) browser for SfN abstracts:

Also you can vote your favorite abstracts up =) Not many people seem to be doing it, but I think it's fun.