81 episodios

Welcome to Working Scientist, the Nature Careers podcast. Our series of free audio shows features interviews and advice from experts in the field and highlights diverse career issues relevant to today's scientists.



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Working Scientist Nature Careers

    • Profesiones

Welcome to Working Scientist, the Nature Careers podcast. Our series of free audio shows features interviews and advice from experts in the field and highlights diverse career issues relevant to today's scientists.



Naturejobs podcasts can be delivered directly to your desktop by subscribing to our free RSS feed. Simply click here and copy and paste the URL into your media player.

    How the academic paper is evolving in the 21st century

    How the academic paper is evolving in the 21st century

    Adam Levy delves into the article of the future, examining the rise of lay summaries, the pros and cons of preprint servers, and how peer review is being crowd-sourced and opened up.


    Manuscripts are mutating. These changes range from different approaches to peer-review, to reformatting the structure of the paper itself.
    Pippa Whitehouse, an Antarctica researcher at Durham University, UK, commends small changes to the paper's summary over the last few years, telling Adam Levy: “Often now there's a short layman's review of the work. I find those really useful in subjects slightly outside my field.


    “I see a title that looks useful and don't quite understand the language in the technical abstract, but sometimes the lay abstract can give me just enough insight into the study.”


    Sarvenaz Sarabipour, a systems biologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, praised preprint servers from an early career researcher perspective in a February 2019 article published in PloS Biology.


    She tells Levy: “It's very beneficial for researchers to deposit their work immediately, because journals are not able to do that. Preprinting is decoupling dissemination from the peer-review process. It's wonderful to have it published earlier.


    “The peer review process is inhibitory to dissemination but of course has added value.


    “As a very early career researcher you don't have many papers, so it's wonderful to have something out quicker and be able to discuss
    that with colleagues and more senior researchers.


    "Researchers can notice each others' work quicker. They contact each other if they have something similar and they may start collaborating.”


    But catalyst researcher Ben List, managing director at the Max Planck Institute for Coal Research in Mülheim, Germany, sounds a note of caution about preprints.


    "In my field of chemical synthesis it's a bit risky,” he tells Levy. "It's a different thing in physics or biology where experiments take a long time. In chemistry you see something and within a few days you can actually reproduce this work. I'm not 100% sure if this is the future of publishing, in chemistry at least."


    List is editor-in-chief of organic chemistry journal Synlett. Its approach to peer-review involves e-mailing a paper to a panel of up to 70 reviewers. This "crowd-reviewing" system is both quicker and more collaborative, he argues, and the size of the panel reduces the risk of bias. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

    • 19 min
    How to get media coverage for your research

    How to get media coverage for your research

    Your paper has been accepted, reviewed and published. Now you need to get it talked about by journalists, the public, your peers and funders.


    Pippa Whitehouse recalls seeking advice and media training from colleagues in her university press office when her first paper was published.


    “I recorded some soundbites and listened back to them and reflected on how to communicate information very clearly. It gave me a lot of confidence,” says Whitehouse, an Antarctica researcher at the University of Durham, UK.


    ”All of the interaction I've had with the press has been really positive,” she adds. “It can seem a little bit daunting to begin with, but if you give it a go I think you'll find the media are very interested in finding out about science.”


    In the third episode of this four-part podcast series about getting published, Jane Hughes describes her role as director of communications and public engagement at The Francis Crick Institute in London.


    She and her team help 1,500 researchers communicate their science to the press, public, policymakers and funders. Hughes recommends reaching out to press-office colleagues as soon as possible to discuss a paper's potential for attracting newspaper, broadcast or online media coverage.


    Researchers can take other steps themselves to get a paper talked about, she tells Levy. ”One thing that can make a difference is an image, a video or something alongside the paper that you can share on social media,” says Hughes.


    She also warns against over-hyping a paper's findings. ”Try not to sensationalize or over-simplify. You can work with your press office to make sure the message gets across properly.” For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

    • 21 min
    How to bounce back from a bruising peer-review or paper rejection

    How to bounce back from a bruising peer-review or paper rejection

    It's important not to take reviewers' comments personally, even if you feel they have misunderstood the science, Adam Levy discovers.It’s a great feeling when your manuscript is accepted, but the peer-review process after that can be tough, particularly for first-time authors.

    In the second episode of this four-part series on publishing a paper, Adam Levy asks four researchers and a manuscript editor how best to respond when your paper is rejected or subjected to peer review comments that you disagree with.

    Jen Burney, an environmental scientist at the University of California San Diego, says of peer review feedback: “It always feels incredibly intimate and personal the first time you read it. Who are these jerks and why are they responding this way. Didn't they understand what I did?”

    In May 2019 Heike Langenberg, then chief editor of Nature Geoscience, published an editorial on the art of responding to reviews after handling a particularly fraught dispute between an author and a reviewer.

    “You always have to be very careful to see all sides of any dispute, discussion or problems," she says. "As editors we try to put ouselves into the shoes of the referees and of the authors. We try to be as fair as possible to all sides.” For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

    • 15 min
    How to write a top-notch paper

    How to write a top-notch paper

    Getting published for the first time is a crucial career milestone, but how does a set of experiments evolve into a scientific paper?


    In the first episode of this four-part podcast series about writing a paper, Adam Levy delves into the all-important first stage of the process, preparing a manuscript for submission to a journal.


    He also finds out about the importance of titles, abstracts, figures and results, why good storytelling counts, and the particular challenges faced by researchers whose first language is not English.


    Pamela Yeh, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, shares some personal pet peeves when she reads a paper: “I can’t stand those papers that have really long sentences with a ton of commas and a lot of jargon. I don’t think the writer is thinking about the reader,” she says. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

    • 18 min
    How apartheid's legacy can still cast a shadow over doctoral education in South Africa

    How apartheid's legacy can still cast a shadow over doctoral education in South Africa

    PhD programmes in "the rainbow nation" mostly lead to academic careers, but reform is needed to boost collaboration and integration, higher education experts tell Julie Gould.


    It's 25 years since since South Africa's first free elections swept Nelson Mandela to power as president.


    But higher education in the "rainbow nation" (a term coined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu to describe the post-apartheid era), could do more to encourage integration and collaboration between black, white and international students.


    Jonathan Jansen, a professor in the Faculty of Education at Stellenbosch University, tells Julie Gould that despite seismic political change in 1994, education, research, and economics have not kept pace with the country's democratic transformation.


    Liezel Frick, director of the Centre for Higher and Adult Education at Stellenbosch University, says that around 60% of students are part-time, with many having staff positions at universities.


    Doctoral education still clings to a research-focused "Oxbridge model," she adds, and unlike programmes in North America does not offer credits for coursework and elective classes. "What is different is that we do not have an over-production of PhDs. A lot of PhDs still get absorbed into the academic sphere," she says. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

    • 14 min
    The PhD thesis and how to boost its impact

    The PhD thesis and how to boost its impact

    The thesis is a central element of how graduate students are assessed. But is it time for an overhaul? Julie Gould finds out.


    How do you decide whether or not somebody is a fully trained researcher? Janet Metcalfe, head of Vitae, a non-profit that supports the professional development of researchers, tells Julie Gould that it's time to be "really brave" and look at how doctoral degrees are examined.


    But what role should the thesis play in that assessment? Does it need overhauling, updating, or even scrapping?


    Inger Mewburn, who leads research training at the Australian National University in Canberra and who founded of The Thesis Whisperer blog in 2010, suggests science could learn from architecture. Student architects are required to produce a portfolio, creating a "look book" for assessors or potential employers to examine as part as part of a candidate's career narrative. For graduate students in science, this could include papers, journals, articles, presentations, certificates, or even video files.


    "The PhD is meant to turn out individual, beautifully crafted, entirely bespoke and unique knowledge creators," she tells Gould. "And we need people like that. We need creative people with really different sorts of talents. We don't want to turn out 'cookie cutter' researchers."


    David Bogle, who leads early career researcher development at University College London, tells Gould that UCL's three-pronged mission statement includes impact.


    "We want our research to make an impact, and in order to support and reinforce that it is now mandatory to include a one page impact statement at the front saying 'this is the difference it will make in the world,'" he tells Gould. "Any impact — curriculum, society, business, anything. It might not end up making that difference, but we want people to think about it."


    What about the pressure to publish? In October 2019 Anne-Marie Coriat, Head of UK and EU Research Landscape at the Wellcome Trust in London, argued in a World View article published in Nature Human Behaviour that PhD merit needs to be defined by more than publications.


    She tells Gould that the experience of getting published is a good thing, but making it mandatory is not. "Learning writing skills is a hugely important part of PhD training. Should it be a requirement that all students publish in peer reviewed journals in order to pass the PhD? My answer is absolutely and emphatically no." For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

    • 12 min

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