Jessica Polka is director of ASAPbio, a biologist-driven nonprofit working to improve life sciences communication. She is also a visiting scholar at the Whitehead Institute and a member of ASCB's public policy committee.


Preprint comments: boon or ‘bog?’

The ultimate benefit of preprints (scientific manuscripts posted online before the completion of peer review) is the acceleration of discovery by making work available to scientific colleagues without delay. But there are many ways preprints benefit individual authors, too. One of the most immediate is  … Read more

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Opinion by Jessica Polka

For background and information on the GSI and NGRI, click here Even after passing through the bottleneck between a postdoc and a faculty position, early career researchers face an uncertain future. This “survival curve” (found on slide 47 in this deck from Mike Lauer) shows  … Read more

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Fresh Research, Delivered: How to Set up Preprint Alerts

How do you keep up to date on the literature in your field? If you rely exclusively on PubMed alerts, you might be missing out on the very freshest science: preprints, which are manuscripts that have yet to undergo journal peer review. Since PubMed is  … Read more

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Fair Labor Standards Act—What It Means for Postdocs

New labor regulations from the Obama administration are offering universities a great opportunity to improve working conditions for postdocs—and make the entire research enterprise more sustainable. Here’s what you need to know about the changes. What is the Fair Labor Standards Act? From the US  … Read more

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Consensus Grows on Preprints in Biology

On February 16–17 at Howard Hughes Medical Institute headquarters outside of Washington, DC, 70 attendees (junior and senior scientists, representatives from funding agencies, publishers, editors, postdocs, and Nobel laureates) came together for ASAPBio (asapbio.org), a meeting to discuss the role of preprints in communicating research  … Read more

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Consensus grows on preprints in biology

On February 16-17 at HHMI Headquarters outside of Washington, DC, 70 attendees (junior and senior scientists, representatives from funding agencies, publishers, editors, postdocs, and Nobel Laureates) came together for ASAPbio, a meeting to discuss the role of preprints in communicating research in biology. Because this  … Read more

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Make your voice heard on preprints in biology

The primary job of a scientist is to discover knowledge and communicate it to the community. Unfortunately, while technology is enabling us to generate data faster and faster, the process of publishing that data seems to be slowing down.   This was a major message  … Read more

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Get Started with Wikipedia at the ASCB Edit-a-Thon

Every couple of days ResearchGate sends me an enthusiastic email with a subject line reading something like, “Jessica, a researcher read your publication.” I know this is intended to make me feel good, but let’s be honest here: considering the total amount of traffic on  … Read more

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Making a Multimedia Elevator Pitch

By now, you’ve probably heard of the importance of (and maybe even devised and practiced) an elevator pitch. But given that so much of cell biology is visual, I think the best response to the question of “what do you work on?” is “would you  … Read more

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11 Tricks for Using OneNote as Your Lab Notebook

Over the past few months, I’ve presented two sessions describing the use of Microsoft OneNote as an electronic lab notebook at Harvard. As we’ve discussed previously on this blog, there are lots of options for digital lab notebooks, and all come with the enormous benefits  … Read more

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