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.


Academic Networking: on the Network and beyond

March 31, 2009

Phil Agre‘s  Networking on the Network contains plenty of great advice on academic networking — building a net of colleagues and collaborators.  See also interesting related materials here, here, here and here. As for collaboration per se,  see the links in my post on writing. See also this post at SBS on the conference networking.

Update: An interesting article from the Chronicle of Higher Education. See also this post on Academia 101.

Is there an academic counterpart for social networks like the Facebook? Yes. I have found, and there is plenty of sites of this kind (the Nature Network is just another example, and the Researchgate is yet another)

Update 2: see my comment exchange (1 2 3 4 5 6) with Bee (her responses are right under my comments except for #6) at the Backreaction blog regarding the academic networking.


How to Succeed in Science

March 22, 2009

I have recently come across two papers on the subject (addressed primarily to the biomedical scientists but mostly of general interest too) by Jonathan Yewdell in Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology: here and here.

As usual (cf. e.g. this discussion), this advice should be taken cum grano salis.

More related advice can be found in the other posts on this blog.  I especially recommend the talk You and Your Research by Richard Hamming, and the advice from Terence TaoJames D. Watson,  and Steven Weinberg. See also advice from E. W. Dijkstra and J.H. Conway

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Ten simple rules: career advice from P.E. Bourne et al.

March 16, 2009

Ten Simple Rules for

The above articles are also available as a single collection (which however does not seem to include the correction mentioned above).

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What They Don’t Teach You in Graduate School

March 16, 2009

This is a series of four articles at Inside Higher Ed by David E. Drew and Paul Gray:

Part I Part II Part III Part IV

These authors have also recently published a book on the subject but I haven’t got it yet.

However, I’ve just found a presentation which appears to be a nice summary of the book (important note: the link in this paragraph works even though Snapshots says it doesn’t!).

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Career Advice from the Nobel Prize Winners

March 10, 2009

S. WeinbergScientist: Four golden lessons

R.P. FeynmanA Letter to a Former Student

(more advice from R.P.F. can be found in the book Feynman’s Rainbow by Leonard Mlodinow)  

J.D. WatsonSucceeding in Science: Some Rules of Thumb

(see also his book Avoid Boring People)

A. CiechanoverNuggets of Career Advice

The above materials make for an interesting comparison with the advice from the Fields medal winner Terence Tao.


Career advice from the Fields medalists and some other mathematicians

March 10, 2009

The career advice from Sir Michael Atiyah (see also his lecture containing some bits of career advice (hat tip: N.E.W.)), Béla Bollobás, Alain Connes, Dusa McDuff, and Peter Sarnak is here:

Advice to a Young Mathematician

This is an excerpt from The Princeton Companion to Mathematics. By the way, the most recent errata for PCM are here.

See  also great advice from E.W. Dijkstra and J.H. Conway, excellent  career advice and writing tips from the blog of Terence Tao, and Six Rules for Rewriting at the Michael Nielsen’s blog.

Finally, here go the interviews containing some nice bits of career advice:  Alain Connes, Maxim Kontsevich, Sergey Novikov, Terence Tao (see also his Google buzz page and this blog post).

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