Signup date: 11 Sep 2008 at 12:06pm
Last login: 16 Jul 2014 at 7:49am
Post count: 502
I've just finished my PhD, so perhaps this shouldn't still be a problem, but it is. I tend to print lots of papers, more than I am ever likely to read. Even those I read (which is still rather a lot) end up sitting around once read. So, I've been wondering about reading them on the screen rather than printing.
When I have hard copies, I highlight and sometimes annotate, and then tend to write my own little abstract (with anything particularly interesting for me) at the top, and I then add this little abstract into EndNote, so I can search for it at a later date. I wouldn't be able to do this so easily with reading on the screen, but the advantage would be that I might have at least a bit of space on my desk!
Any tips or suggestions?
I'm coming towards the end of my PhD now, and with 5 months until I submit, I'm wondering/panicking about what to do next. My PhD is in the field of medical/molecular/cell biology, and for the most part I've enjoyed it, and been fairly successful too. However, for the past year I've felt rather depressed (I have a history of depression anyway) and felt like I was going through the motions with it all. Perhaps this is "end of PhD" symptoms, or perhaps dissatisfaction with academic life.
Anyway, I'm now wondering whether to go for a postdoc, industry, or something else. I love the science and intellectual aspect of what I do, but I'm not a massive fan of the lab/bench work, and I am very concerned about the short-term contracts and the way that progression seems to be dependent so much on politics and luck. It seems like you need to be very good and hard-working to do well, but also it can depend on whether experiments work and whether your papers get published, which can often be down to luck or something other than purely the quality of the work. I'm older than most of my peers, and will be early 30s once I graduate, and I'm concerned that academia may be a path which is not only wrong for me, but hard to get out of. The instability means that putting down roots can be very hard, and getting a mortgage seems nigh on impossible according to other postdocs.
Equally, working in industry, at least to me, seems like the science is driven purely by financial gain (fair enough) and not by what is interesting or potentially important.
Does anyone have any advice, comments, or guidance, particularly regarding staying in/leaving academia, regrets, satisfaction at staying/leaving etc? I'd be very grateful :)
I was just wondering about what you all do with your papers once you've read them. I keep electtronic copies on my computer and link them to EndNote, but I also have about 500 papers in hard copy which I've read but are just sitting on my desk. I've thought about filing according to some kind of subject area, but a lot of them overlap into three or more areas. The alternative would just be putting them all in alphabetic order. Unless someone can suggest something else...
Four days ago, I returned from a conference in west-coast USA (a hard life, I know). Anyway, I'm still suffering from really bad insomnia, only sleeping 4 hours a night, dropping off at about 3.30am-ish, despite going to bed by about 11.30pm. Has anyone else experienced this, and if so, how long did it take to pass, and do you have any tips for getting over it? Right now I feel rather rough!
Sorry to post another negative thread on here, but I thought it might be best to see if other people have felt like this too (I suspect at least a few will have)...
I'm on a 1+3 PhD, and am about two-and-a-bit years in, so one-and-a-bit into the PhD-proper. About a month ago I did my transfer/upgrate/MPhil-to-PhD thing, with a thesis and viva, which I got lots of praise for, and I'm currently writing a paper, with another to come in the first half of 2012. However, for a while now, and particularly since my transfer, I've been feeling motivation-less and burnt out. I took a week and a half off after my transfer, which was really the first time I'd had away from all work for about a year, as I usually take at least some papers when I go home for weekend, Christmas etc. But now I feel like I can't be bothered and just don't care about anything. I don't have that many friends here, have been single for a very long time, and don't do much in my social life except for helping to run the postgrad society, and even that I can't be bothered with right now. I sometimes tell myself that reasons for not having many friends/gf/social life is that I'm too busy with work, but this might be an excuse.
I've had a history of depression and anxiety, for which I've been treated with several kinds of antidepressants with over the past 11 years, although I've been off them for 18 months now because of drowsiness and weight gain. Perhaps the dark days aren't helping, but work seems to be going so slowly right now, and I have no idea what to do. I'm waiting on cells to become available, so I spend large swathes of time having to find things to do, when I feel like I should be doing experiments all the time. People in the lab tell me that I work too hard and shouldn't, but I don't know if that's true, and they might just be saying that out of trying to stop me making them look like they don't work as much, even though I feel like they do more work than me.
Anyway, I thought I'd jot this down to see if anyone else has experienced similar...
Something I've been wondering about for a while - do people use Kindles to read academic papers? I know they support pdfs, and I've thought that they might be a good idea for loading papers onto, in case of ten or fifteen minutes being spare at some point, but does anyone do this? And if so, how do you find it, particularly in terms of showing graphs etc?
Since I started my PhD about 24 months ago (I have 24 months left), I've been using SigmaPlot for my graphs and statistics. I find it ok in terms of the results it gives me, but rather cumbersome in terms of entering data, and also pretty inflexible. I have used GraphPad Prism a little in the past, and much preferred it, but it wasn't available. However, my whole faculty has just been given access to Prism, so I'm wondering what to do. Do I change to the programme which I much prefer, but have to redo all my graphs? Or do I save time by sticking with SigmaPlot, even though I don't really like it?
Thanks for all the useful tips so far :)
In response to the points above - I wouldn't add her to my PhD publications as they're not in the same field really, certainly no real overlap, and for my PhD stuff, I'm already collaborating with two other groups, so they probably wouldn't be too pleased with another name on it.
Ady - my sup (who was also her sup) agrees with me. In fact, I got the impression that she felt that my work warranted "equal authorship" with MY name first, but we agreed that this might be pushing it a bit. My sup's name will also be on the paper, so if she agrees with me, then it's something in my favour. It's just that the postdoc's behaviour regarding getting it written up is doing me no favours whatsoever.
Hi Ady and Sneaks,
Yes, I suppose I could pull my work, which would leave her with not enough to do anything with (n number too small), but then this is a bit like cutting off my nose to spite my face and, if the truth is told, I would slightly prefer to be second author than no author at all, even though both of these options would leave me rather cheesed off. The journal does indeed welcome "equal contribution" footnotes, but she still claims that this would dilute her contribution, which as far as I'm concerned is total nonsense. Even if it reduced the impact it has for her by about 10%, being a second author would have considerably more impact for me.
Perhaps I'm being cynical, but now I've completed the experiments, it just feels like she's trying to screw me (she just asked for me to send all the graphs and stats I've been doing, so that she can write the results section), and that I'm almost being treated like her personal technician.
Correct. A couple of postdocs I know and with whom I've discussed this have used a word equating to what comes out of a male cow's backside. As a result, she won't let me know about how I can contribute to the writing, and seeing as I need to get it written in some form anyway, there will be two forms. The paper itself has a lot of stuff in it, and some quite important and novel findings which other groups don't have the facilities to replicate, so if it's published intact, it'll be in a really good journal. I'd rather sort it out and have one great paper rather than accede to pettiness and get two mediocre papers. In fact, I'm not even entertaining the idea of the second one because all the work on it is finished and I'm trying to get on with my actual proper PhD work while this is happening.
No - for equal authorships, I think you can have either way round, but her surname is first alphabetically anyway, so it would be her name*, my name*, other authors (*these authors have contributed equally to the work). I've emphasised that it's ok for her name to be first, just that I want equal first authorship status. It would still be referred to as "postdoc et al", but the paper would make it clear that we contributed equally.
I've been working on my PhD for about 16 months now, and have just finished some experiments which are ready to be written up into a paper. These experiments aren't directly part of my PhD, but were done after a postdoc, who had been doing them, left about 15 months ago, just after I started my PhD. However, my sup says that they'd be useable for my thesis in the event that my main work doesn't yield as much as we hope.
So in the past 16 months, I've spent the majority (around 70%) of my time doing this "side project" rather than my main PhD stuff. I reckon that I've done around 55-60% of the work that will be included in the paper, as well as all the data analysis (graphs, stats etc). I communicate regularly with the postdoc (she's not in the UK now) and have asked several times about authorship of the paper. My position was that I was happy for her to be the first named author on the paper, but I wanted it to be marked as "equal contribution" so that I can use it more easily for my thesis, and also because I feel that the amount of work I've done has justified it. These questions were always unanswered.
However, now that I've finished the experiments, and done most of the analyses, the postdoc says that she's not happy for me to be marked as an equal contributor, and that she doesn't want me doing any of the writing for the paper either. I've remarked that I need to write it up for my transfer thesis, in 6 weeks' time, because I've spent so long doing it that it's formed the major part of my year. I've arranged to go home for a week so that I can get away frm the lab and distractions, and write the paper there, but she's not having any of it, and won't even enter into discussions about what I can write. Therefore, it looks like we're going to end up with two versions of the paper on the same results, and still with her wanting to demote me to second author.
On the positive side, my supervisor thinks that I'm well warranted in wanting equal authorship, but the postdoc claims that this will "dilute" her contribution and make it hard for her to get grants in the future. It seems like she's been happy for me to do all this work over the part year and a quarter, ask for all the graphs to be done, suggest more things that I could do, but now I've done it, she doesn't want to let me get the credit for it that I feel I'm due.
So, I go home today, a bit confused as to what to do about the writing process, and more than a little angry at the situation.
Does anyone have any advice on what else I can do, or whether I should have done anything differently?
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