The COMPASS Career Subcommittee is truly excited to bring a bevy of helpful resources to the annual meeting this year. We have given a lot of thought to what students and postdocs like ourselves want, regardless of whether we're in the beginning, middle, or end of our training. The offerings this year include one-on-one career coaching, CV review, discussion tables and networking sessions with popular employers of life science PhDs.
While COMPASS has been busy year-round, many of our programs are leading up to the Annual Meeting, coming up in just a couple of weeks. The full program is available online, and you can also download a convenient mobile app for Android and iPhone/iPad.
The ASCB wants to create new opportunities for members' participation. Currently, most members participate by attending the Annual Meeting, where they present exciting new data, develop collaborations, and learn more about cell biology. However, this is not the only thing the ASCB offers to its members. The ASCB organizes multiple events and activities during the whole year, and we need people to know about them.
With the advent of smartphones and tablets, bringing movies to poster sessions is becoming more common than ever before. Even so, a low-tech flip book is still a lot more fun for visitors to use, and it's easier to pass around a large group. When the session's over, a flip book can live at your bench indefinitely, ready for visitors with no boot time.
Jim started his postdoc 15 years ago and never left. He loves working at the bench, publishes regularly, and has a great relationship with his principal investigator (PI). But Jim hates writing grants, and didn't want to leave behind his technical expertise. A few years ago, Jim's PI secured him a promotion as a research associate so he can continue the work that he loves. Plus, Jim's PI can keep him as a valuable member of the research team. Jim's family also benefits from the arrangement, as he lives close to his aging parents, who can continue to spend time with their grandkids.
As the Annual Meeting approaches, it's time to start thinking about printing your poster. If you're not looking forward to the prospect of traveling with a giant cardboard tube, yet you're reluctant to return to the days of the multiple-panel poster, consider printing on fabric.
When I started reading it, my head felt foggy and my eyes glazed over. My PhD in biology did nothing to help me understand. I realized how my mom felt when I told her about my latest western blot results. Without a particle physics expert to come up with a metaphor, there was no way I was going to understand the original Higgs boson paper1.
Imagine walking up to a poster, snapping a QR code with your smartphone, and being connected to a permanent and citable version of that poster on the web. From there, you're a click away from connecting to the authors, reading an associated manuscript, embedding the poster in a website, or sharing it with your contacts. With the data repository figshare, this is easy to arrange.
1) Retractions in the scientific literature seem to be more common now than 10 years ago. How often are articles being retracted? How many retractions are due to outright fraud, compared with possible "sloppiness," as in use of a bad cell line, technical problems, or other unintentional mistakes? Should scientists worry about what they read in the literature now or do you think scientists should always be skeptical of what they read?
It is truly alarming to see the sharp increase in retractions in the scientific literature due to misconduct such as outright fraud and data falsification. To put the rising trend in perspective, the number of articles retracted due to misconduct, rather than errors, has increased ~10-fold since 1975 . Multiple studies have tried to explain this distressing trend by providing information on the numbers of scientists who knowingly committed misconduct (for examples, see [2-5]), studying the patterns in retractions from different journals , or even analyzing details about the scientists committing misconduct . However, I believe a look at the causes is necessary in order to battle this epidemic.