How to Write a Really Good Research Paper

April 29, 2009

Here are the slides and the video of a nice talk by Simon Peyton Jones with some general advice on the subject.

Some excellent advice on writing (primarily for mathematicians) can be found at the blog of Terence Tao;  see also  this post at the blog of Daniel Lemire for some important (especially for beginners) technicalities, and Six Rules for Rewriting by Michael Nielsen. More writing tips can be found here.

Some tips on avoiding the writer’s block can be found here at the Tomorrow’s Professor blog. Another possibly helpful trick is the writing microschedule by Gina Hiatt.

Having right coauthors can greatly improve the quality of your paper; for interesting discussions on scientific collaboration go here, here and here (these three posts deal with collaboration in mathematics but can be of interest for other scientists too) at the Secret Blogging Seminar, here and here at the blog of Michael Nielsen; see also this post at the Backreaction blog, and this article by Richard Reis.

Mathematicians can also make use of the classical text How to write mathematics by Paul R. Halmos. Another potentially very promising tool for mathematicians is Tricki (the wiki of  math tricks and techniques) whose aims and scope are discussed at the blogs of the Fields medalists Tim Gowers and Terence Tao, see e.g. here and here.

Update: some advice on dealing with the paper rejection can be found here.

Update 2: A very interesting story on turning potential competitors into collaborators is discussed here, here, here and here.  See also these two posts and these two discussions on the caveats of peer review and possible danger of scooping (with focus on the life sciences and physics), and this post on the catch 22 of publishing in the top journals.

Update 3: Google has recently produced a demo for a new online collaboration tool, Google Wave; see the post of Terence Tao for more details and a broader discussion of various collaboration tools at the Secret Blogging Seminar.


On Giving a Talk

April 21, 2009

Some good advice on the subject is here, here and here (the last two are primarily intended for the mathematicians), here (this one is primarily on giving short talks) and here (this one also contains some helpful links to writing tips). As for the job talks, see e.g. this article by Richard Reis. On a related note, see also his article on getting the most of your conference trips.

Update 1:  Presentation Guide for Scientists by Ad Lagendijk

Update 2: How to Give a Good Talk (see also the video) by Uri Alon and

How to Conquer Public Speaking Fear by M. Orman

Update 3: How to Give a Great Presentation at the To Done blog

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What’s in a Name?

April 6, 2009

From now on this blog will go under the name Successful Researcher rather than Academic Career Links but the URL ( will remain the same, at least for the moment.

Academic Time Management

April 5, 2009

As usual, there is a great advice on the subject from Terence Tao. See also a paper in the Science Careers. The comments with further suggestions and links are welcome!

Another useful tip from the Lifelong Scholar’s blog: whenever you take a break, make you sure you have a specific task to do when you get back to work.

Update: there are many more resources on the academic productivity. To list a few,

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How to Write a Letter of Recommendation

April 3, 2009

Some advice on the subject can be found in the article by Richard Reis and in the book by Steven G. Krantz (the second link is from the discussion of the Secret Blogging Seminar’s post on the subject). As for the letters of recommendation for students, see also here, here and here.

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