Category Archives: #The Plan

Emerging Academic Reputation Development Plan

How science is distilling its message | Times Higher Education

The tongue-in-cheek paper, titled “The unsuccessful self-treatment of a case of ‘writer’s block’”, contained no words except the title, the author’s name and affiliation, one self-reference, and words of praise from one reviewer who examined the manuscript “very carefully with lemon juice and X-rays”.

When physicists found that neutrinos travelled faster than the speed of light, a claim that would break Einstein’s universal speed limit, Sir Michael Berry of the of Bristol and his colleagues published a paper in the Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical titled “Can apparent superluminal neutrino speeds be explained as a quantum weak measurement?” Their abstract revealed their stance: it read “probably not”.

Although some may be under the impression that this needed a bit more elaboration, the “probably not” abstract was a “precisely crafted answer to the question posed in the title of the paper”, Sir Michael told Times Higher Education.

The abstract was “perfectly informative”, in light of the title, he said: “not” because of their negative result, and “probably” because they needed a calculation to arrive at this conclusion. A “one-word abstract ‘no’ would not accurately reflect the work we had to do while writing the paper”, Sir Michael added.

In 1974, clinical psychologist Dennis Upper of the Veterans Administration Hospital in Massachusetts, US, published in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis the shortest-ever paper.


Key leads from this articles:

Data Visualisation

Seal level rise

These days I’m an independent data journalist and information designer. A passion of mine is visualizing information – facts, data, ideas, subjects, issues, statistics, questions – all with the minimum of words.

I’m interested in how designed information can help us understand the world, cut through BS and reveal the hidden connections, patterns and stories underneath. Or, failing that, it can just look cool!

Myself, and the rest of the crack team here at Information is Beautiful, are dedicated to distilling the world’s data, information and knowledge into beautiful, interesting and, above all, useful visualizations, infographics and diagrams.

@infobeautiful (just infographics)@mccandelish (details of my tawdry life too)This site’s RSS Web FeedFacebook email: pa [dot] david [dot] mccandless [AT] Gmail [dot] com.

I’m David McCandless, a London-based author, writer and designer. I’ve written for The Guardian, Wired and others. I’m into anything strange and interesting.

Curated from Hello | Information Is Beautiful

It’s been a year since I started Draw Science. Can’t believe it. The idea’s come a long way, from just a blog that I started for fun, to an open-access journal in the works. Now, I’m travelling while I set up the journal and doing a study on behalf of my other organization,


I’ve already ranted about the problems with science communication. Even when a layperson gets access to a paper despite all the pay-per-view journals, the use of esoteric jargon makes it practically impossible for the public to read fresh-from-the-lab-bench science. For the last few months, I’ve been working on a solution through Draw Science. Now it’s time to take off the band-aid and treat the wound.


Curated from Draw Science

Valuable Other Scholarly outputs

“The Winnower is an excellent forum for sharing ideas and rapidly disseminating work that might not otherwise have a great forum. I think it’s an excellent tool to engage a community with a very easy to use interface that generates great discussion between authors and reviewers. In total, it was the most supportive peer review process thus far, and allowed me to engage in great scholarly discussion with my reviewers in an open and transparent way.”

“The Winnower is paving the path to the future of science communication in the most radical, exciting way. Scientists can finally put a name and a story to the research they publish; this is the definition of “open and transparent.””

“The Winnower is one of the first that rightfully recognizes the educational value of both transparent peer reviews and open access scientific material. It is a modern scientific publication in the truest sense of the word”

“Re-imagine scientific publishing, unhindered by external pressures, with the sole focus to communicate science. Don’t be surprised if you end up exactly at what The Winnower is doing.”

“Although I did not ever think I would aspire to have my work highlighted in a section referred to as “The Chaff”, I find the idea of your new journal interesting and likely informative for the scientific community”

Curated from The Winnower | Open Scholarly Publishing

So without further ado….Today we are happy to announce that you can now assign a digital object identifier (DOI) to your blog via The Winnower. This is a first step of many that we are taking towards bringing scientific publishing into the modern era (we’ll soon be releasing an interface for Blogger blogs and blogs).  We hope you’ll help us create this “agora of the modern age” by participating and by letting us know what you think needs changing or improving.  Of course, one way to do that is to publish with us and another is to write a blog post!  Together we can create an archived virtual library that is accessible to not only those that can pay thousands of dollars to publish but to all.

Scientific research requires a free and open dialogue to thrive. Scientists must communicate their ideas through scientific journals for debate, testing, and often retesting. Today, this is the standard process by which new ideas advance in science. Currently, one major barrier to co… …

The 2013 Wolf Prize in , often referred to as the Nobel Prize in agriculture, was awarded earlier this year to Dr. Joachim Messing. Messing’s work over the years has spanned many fields but what may be considered his most important work was the development of a seminal te… …

Science publishing is a multi-billion dollar industry that brings investors and owners a spectacular 30% profit annually. How are they able to maintain such high profits and what does this mean for science? Pretend you’re a scientist who’s made an important discovery. Your next step… …

The value of blogs and bloggers in science is well recognized.  Blogs serve as an excellent form of post-publication peer review and host much of the scientific discussion that occurs on the web today.  Indeed, it is probably true that more interaction between scientists and between scientists and the public occurs away from traditional scientific articles themselves and in “alternative” forums such as Twitter, Facebook, and of course, blogs.  These mediums are becoming increasingly important in scholarly discourse and often times shape what is written in traditional scholarly articles themselves (i.e. they are often cited).  But for all the benefits blogs provide they are not afforded an equal footing.  They are superfluous and can disappear without a trace.  We want to change that. The content of these discussions can sway opinion and act as authoritative sources in their own right.  Blogs are without a doubt valuable and as such deserve to be archived and aggregated, just like traditional scholarly publications are.  They deserve to “count,” to be elevated to a level that is not viewed as something extra but as something integral to scientific communication (Nicholson 2014, Nicholson 2015).  We need to get around the notion that where you publish actually matters.  It doesn’t.  It is the content, not the wrapper, and the sooner we act accordingly, the better.

Curated from The Winnower | Open Scholarly Publishing

The Journal of brief ideas

We think that that there is an inherent inefficiency in scientific publishing due to the quantum (or minimum publishable amount) of research being too large. It can takes many years to do enough research for a publication in a top-tier journal. Meanwhile, all that intellectual capital is tied up solely in the heads of the researchers rather than circulating where it could be doing some good. Also, many research ideas and results are not publishable because they are small, negative, partial, or just don’t fit the criteria of other journals. But many of them can be expressed briefly and could aid other researchers.

Primarily because it is part of being a good scientific citizen but you also might get the feedback you need to improve your research. Entries in the Journal of Brief Ideas are permanently archived, searchable, and citable, so they have the same publication status as in any other journal. That means that you can get credit for your idea as soon as you have it. You can put the entry on a CV, attach it to your ORCID profile, or use it as you would any other publication.

In addition, if you are a good researcher, you have more ideas than you can pursue at length. Wouldn’t you rather be credited for those ideas and see somebody else build on them than have them disappear from the research community completely, or have somebody later come up with the same idea and have them get credit for it?

For something as brief as 200-words, wouldn’t you rather just judge the quality of an idea yourself rather than have that judgement proxied by an anonymous peer reviewer? It is impractical to have 200-word ideas reviewed pre-publication so we choose to have a post-publication review system. There is a rating for each idea and for each researcher so you can judge quality by those ratings if you don’t trust your own judgement.

The Journal of Brief Ideas is a research journal, composed entirely of ‘brief ideas’. The goal here is to provide a place for short ideas to be described – in 200 words or less – for these ideas to be archived (courtesy of Zenodo), searchable and citable.

Curated from The Journal of Brief Ideas

The Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO) journal

The Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO) journal publishes all outputs of the research cycle, including: project proposals, data, methods, workflows, software, project reports and research articles together on a single collaborative platform, with the most transparent, open and public peer-review process. Our scope encompasses all areas of academic research, including science, technology, humanities and the social sciences.

Curated from Research Ideas and Outcomes

Brevity of Communication



Curated from The Up-Goer Five Text Editor

The 1000 Word (or ten hundred word to be exact) Challenge was born out of the XKCD comic strip Up Goer Five, a very successful attempt at using only the 1000 most common words to describe the blueprints of the NASA rocket Saturn V. Geneticist Theo Sanderson created a text editor that tells if each word typed is one of the 1000 most common words (and thus allowable), and soon scientists around the world were challenging each other to describe their own research using only these 1000 words. The Burke Museum was already planning an end-of-the-quarter happy hour and invited FOSEP to hold their 1000 Word Challenge during the event.

FOSEP received almost 40 individual entries from across the campus, from researchers in atmospheric science to biology, from anthropology to applied materials science. David Domke (professor and acting chair for the Department of Communication at the University of Washington (UW)), Alaina Smith (Director of External Affairs at the Burke) and Andrea Cohen (Museology Program Assistant at the Burke) served as the judges for the event.

On Friday afternoon, the judges narrowed down the entries to the top 15. These 15 contestants were then each given an opportunity to share both how they would normally describe their research at a scientific conference and how they describe their research using only the 1000 most common words in the English language. Contestants were judges on three criteria: Language – Does the entry convey the work of the grad student in a clear and concise manner, using the 1000 words in an economical and grammatically correct fashion? Style – Does the entry go beyond clear word choice to incorporate humor, prose, rhythm or other elements of style to good effect? and Presentation – Does the candidate present their entry effectively?   Considerations are enunciation, volume, posture, and dress?

Yasmeen at a scientific conference: I study the link between sperm chemotaxis and fertilization success. Eggs in animals such as sea urchins release chemicals that act as sperm attractants. Sperm use chemotaxis – that is, orientation towards the source of a chemical gradient – to find the eggs. However, it is unknown whether sperm chemotaxis directly contributes to reproductive success.

Last Friday the Burke Museum hosted FOSEP’s inaugural 1000 Word Challenge with fantastic results. Just under 200 people were in attendance, and the grand prize winner by Yasmeen Hussain included, “Some man things are better at listening than others. I want to know if the man things that are better at listening are also better at making babies.”

Curated from Inaugural FOSEP 1000 Word Challenge Was a Great Success! | The Seattle Forum on Science Ethics and Policy


Which Journals are best? Who do I cite? Who cites me? 2

Sankey Diagram

This Post follows on from

Citations I've made are on the left. The citations I've made are grouped into subjects. Engineering is in a darker shade. Citations to me are on the right. This shows how I transform science into science of use by stakeholders of agri-environmental systems
I’ve made are on the left. The citations I’ve made are grouped into subjects. Engineering is in a darker shade. Citations to me are on the right. This shows how I transform science into science of use by stakeholders of agri-environmental systems

This shows very clearly how I am an applied Operational Researcher. I draw in the science of my three degrees (, Applied Environmental Science) and produce science of use the the engineer, mangers, scientists and policy makers in the agri-environmental sectors. I get nearly no citations from and Journals.

I’ve used Google Developers tools to produce this and they are far better than anything that Excel can do, but it is still a lot of informations to convey. It is hard to control all the features, but it is easier than a bespoke hand drawn visual.

It is an alternative to the column chart, but is it any clearer?

From Consumer to consumed from
Comparing the science I consume with the place my science gets consumed showing a clear difference in subject categories with less Operational Research and more Engineering, Technology and Multi-disciplinarity.

To Do List: Sankey Diagram

Sankey diagram would be a very good way of mapping the connections between the types of science journals I cite from and the types of science journal where I get cited. It may make this diagram clearer

From Consumer to consumed from
Comparing the science I consume with the place my science gets consumed showing a clear difference in subject categories with less and more Engineering, Technology and Multi-disciplinarity.

That is originally posted in this blog post: It would be good to do this for a Toastmasters Speech I am preparing that puts the proposal from my election as a Fellow of a Learned Society.

The hard part of Sankey diagrams is doing them as Excel is little use., but I have found one method on Google Developer… and a useful blog site





For the curious, they’re named after Captain Sankey, who created a diagram of steam engine efficiency that used arrows having widths proportional to heat loss.

A sankey diagram is a used to depict a flow from one set of values to another. The things being connected are called nodes and the connections are called links. Sankeys are best used when you want to show a many-to-many mapping between two domains (e.g., universities and majors) or multiple paths through a set of stages (for instance, Google Analytics uses sankeys to show how traffic flows from pages to other pages on your web site).

To my opinion, Sankey diagrams are underestimated, and should merit a greater attention. Sometimes they are a better choice than a pie or bar chart to visualize information.

Hi, my name is Phineas. With this blog I would like to share with you my fascination for Sankey diagrams. My goal is to present to you Sankey diagrams I find on the net, and discuss them. I am mainly focusing on the graphical aspect, layout, methodological issues or shortcomings of diagrams. I do not intend to discuss the scientific content or the data behind them. Neither the politics.

Do you have a Sankey diagram you wish to share? Have you seen an interesting Sankey diagram that should be presented here? Or do you have a great idea what Sankey diagrams can be used for?

Acknowledgement: The guys at ifu (e!Sankey) kindly ceded this domain to me. I asked them politely, if I can use it for a blog on Sankey diagrams, and they said ‘yes’. They reserve the right to put up a banner here, but so far this hasn’t happened.

I am using Sankey Helper 2.1, STAN 1.1 and e!Sankey 3.0pro for drawing my Sankey diagrams. I have used test or demo versions of most of the Sankey diagram software tools available, like S.DRAW, or Sankey 3.1. Although I do find some tools better than others, I don’t intend to endorse any of them.


Now done using Google Developers tools.

Citations I've made are on the left. The citations I've made are grouped into subjects. Engineering is in a darker shade. Citations to me are on the right. This shows how I transform science into science of use by stakeholders of agri-environmental systems
I’ve made are on the left (Web of Sciences Journal categories). The citations I’ve made are then grouped into subjects. Engineering is in a darker shade. Citations to me are on the right, again by Journal category. This shows how I transform science into science of use by stakeholders of agri-environmental systems, such as engineers.

The live interactive version is here:

Which Journals are best? Who do I cite? Who cites me?

I’ve been pondering the question, as part of my training and academic reputation development plan: If I was to concentrate my building into a subset of journals what might they be? I decided to think about what journals I cite from and what journals I am cited in. To do this I used the bibliometrics from the Web of Science database to analyse my papers. I then used the allied Journal Citations Reports database to explore more about these Journals and their subject categories. I’ve looked in detail at all those journals where there are two or more (about 1/3-1/2 of the total)

Who do I cite?

I’ve charted the results by number of papers that I’ve cited. It is worth noting that over half of the references that I use in any one paper refer to non peer-reviewed sources of data, such as farm management costings books and statistics.

Who I cite
The journals and number of papers that I have cited from. A few journals dominate with quite a long tail. Amongst the titles there are words like systems, , , environment, & ecology.

What strikes me is that I have done two things: 1) drawn in a wide range of underpinning literature on the science of agriculture and the environment, 2) drawn in a lot of scientific literature that has to do with Operational Research and or agricultural/ environmental systems. This is a clue as to how I maybe working as a scientist.

Who cites me?

I’ve repeated the analysis and considered which journals are the source of citations to me.

The journal that are the source of citation to me
The journals and the numbers of papers citing me showing a few dominant journals, a long tail and the words management, systems, engineering, technology, and production  featuring amongst titles

Again there is a subset of dominant journals citing my work. Two of them; Agricultural Systems and Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment; are dominant in both. A noticeable change from the journals that I cite is the absence of Operational Research and the addition of engineering, production and technology amongst titles. This is again another clue about how I seem to be doing ‘science’.

Science consumer to science producer

To get a clear idea about how I map the science I consume into science consumed by others I decided to group all the Journal titles into their subject categories. Where a Journal was categorised over more than one category I split the paper counts equally.  I then compared the two after normalising to 100% to bring both counts onto the same scale . Colour coding and shading helped pick out broad groups. This is all shown in this column chart.

From Consumer to consumed from
Comparing the science I consume with where my science gets consumed showing a clear difference in subject categories with less Operational Research and more engineering, technology and multi-disciplinarity.

The shift in subject categories is quite strong. I am very much an applied Mathematician and Operational Researcher as I consume its science, but don’t produce the science consumed by it. Overall I consume science from all three of my degrees: Agriculture, Applied Environmental Science, and Operational Research (see below). I combine that within a systems modelling framework and produce insights into agricultural and environmental systems that are of benefit to managers, engineers, technologists, applied [multidisciplinary] scientists, and fellow systems modellers and analysts.

My three educational degrees
My educational background showing my three degree of Agriculture, Applied Environmental Science, and Operational Research

This does seem a rational picture in hindsight, but much more telling given this hard data. It does lend support to the idea that the group that I have been part of provided a key service to Agricultural Engineering.  I joined the group at the former Silsoe Research Institute (SRI); a Public Sector Research Organisation specialising in agricultural engineering and its offshoots.


I’ve a much clearer idea of how I work as a scientist and where I make my contribution: The impact and identification of better, newer, or greener on the decisions that shape agricultural and environmental systems.

The shortlist of journals that I should focus on are the ones that I am cited from and that I cite from. This set includes Agricultural Systems, Biosystems Engineers (formerly Journal of Agricultural Engineering Research),  and Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment.

A tilt towards where my science is consumed makes sense so International Journal of , Journal of Cleaner Production, Journal of Environmental Management are strong candidates.

I need to consider Journal remits and bibliometric impact factors to really establish a core set.

What could be a fun addition is to consider the subject mappings that includes in a middle column where I’ve published.


Change The Way You See Fear And Change Your Life


Yesterday I identified procrastination and insecurity esp fear of criticism as the two things most likely to hold me back in increasing my publication rate. They are subtle once they take hold. I’ll ponder these a bit to distil some take-out actions.


Frequently, in business and in life, we get too comfortable. We find solid ground – a place that feels safe – we get comfortable, and we settle in. We’re programmed to do it. It’s how we operate. Look for safety and stay there. But these days, it’s imperative that we act against our programming to truly succeed and find our own greatness.


What’s holding us back? Ultimately, it’s fear. It’s almost always fear. Fear is the number one reason why people stay in their safety zones. It’s why people don’t start new businesses. It’s why people stop looking for love. But what are we afraid of? After studying fear for several years and working with countless clients who were letting fear hold them back, I’ve become convinced that when it comes down to stepping outside one’s comfort zone, there are really two things at work for most people: fear of success and fear of failure.


Many people say they have a fear of success. What does this mean? It means that when these folks envision their success, they see the ways in which they’ll disappoint people, the ways they won’t be able to handle the success, the ways they’ll mess up their success… ultimately, I actually believe that a fear of success is a fear of failure in disguise. In my experience, most people aren’t actually afraid of success, but rather of failing after the success. They’re afraid they can’t handle it and they’ll fall much farther than if they’d never tried at all. It’s much more painful to fall from, say, a 20-story building, than it is to fall from a sidewalk curb. It’s the fall from the height of success that we fear, not the success itself.


Let’s look at fear of failure, since that’s at the core of what’s holding people back. I’ve recently updated my thoughts about fear of failure. I’ve been reading Seth Godin’s book, Tribes, and Godin has some absolutely profound and brilliant thoughts on the fear that keeps us in our comfort zones. In Tribes, Godin says that there’s a common misconception about a fear of failure. He says that the fear of failure isn’t actually fear of failure at all – it’s a fear of criticism. We’re more afraid of being judged for our failures than anything else.


When was the last time you took a risk? Not something major and life-threatening, but something that represented a step outside your comfort zone. Can you recall a time recently when you did something that felt uncomfortable for you? If not, get ready to take a major step forward.


One of the best ways to “change the channel” of procrastination is to change your scenery. Rather than sit in front of your computer or TV all day, get up, do some stretches, jog in place, do pushups, and move until your frame of mind has changed.


Setup a daily (or hourly) reminder that you should be working on something or at least not wasting your time (unless you have time to waste). You can also set up reminders that give you motivational quotes.


There is nothing like having someone on your side when it comes to making your goals a reality. If you start to slip into procrastination, your motivation buddy will get you back in the game.


You can do this with people around you or even with your motivation buddy above. A great way is to announce your change publicly and be vocal about it. Hit the social networks, your blog, write letters, whatever it takes to make yourself more accountable to getting work done.


We all procrastinate. Sometimes it’s not a bad thing, but it can turn into something evil and nasty if we aren’t careful. Try these procrastination beating techniques to destroy this deadly foe once and for all.



Research Blogging

This site gets my interest. Yes I do blog about peer-reviewed research, especially papers I am cited by or may cite. Yes that is as much a form of science communication as it is my own personal reflective thought. Done well it could add to and digital footprint.

Do you write about peer-reviewed research in your blog? Use to make it easy for your readers — and others from around the world — to find your serious posts about academic research.

Research Blogging
Research Blogging

If you’re a blogger who writes about serious research, Research Blogging offers you a way to distinguish your serious posts from news, politics, family, bagpipes, and so on. We can direct your regular readers — and new readers — to the posts you’ve worked the hardest to create. All you need to get started is a blog and a peer-reviewed research report that you’d like to discuss.

Do you write about peer-reviewed research in your blog? Use to make it easy for your readers — and others from around the world — to find your serious posts about academic research.

Do you like to read about new developments in science and other fields? Are you tired of “science by press release”? is your place. allows readers to easily find blog posts about serious peer-reviewed research, instead of just news reports and press releases.

How it works

  • Bloggers — often experts in their field — find exciting new peer-reviewed research they’d like to share. They write thoughtful posts about the research for their blogs.
  • Bloggers register with us and use a simple one-line form to create a snippet of code to place in their posts. This snippet not only notifies our site about their post, it also creates a properly formatted research citation for their blog.
  • Our software automatically scans registered blogs for posts containing our code snippet. When it finds them, it indexes them and displays them on our front page — thousands of posts from hundreds of blogs, in one convenient place, organized by topic.
  • Our editors identify the notable posts in each major discipline, publishing the results on our news page.
  • Other services like PubGet index our database as well, so every time readers search for a journal article, they can also locate blog posts discussing the article.


2015 Metrics Insights & Plan Speech

I had call to deliver a short speech on my emerging academic at Cranfield Speakers Club (Toastmasters International) as part of an Advanced Technical Presentation speech. The link and excerpt to that is below. However, I want to spend a little more time thinking about the key graphics and some I didn’t have time to use.

Your reputation precedes you.  That means that you can walk into any room full of people that you have never met and be greeted with universal sigh of “oooohhhh”. Your reputation preceded you.

Let me tell you another anecdote of two business men setting up a business together. The older man was there to provide the capital and the younger one, with his MBA, to provide the management. When the agreements were signed and the older man handed over a very large cheque he took the younger man to one side and said:

The risks are greater for you. If this business succeeds you will get ALL of the credit and if it fails you will still get ALL of the credit for that. If it fails I will lose my capital, but I will survive and I can replace it.  If it fails you will lose your reputation and you will find it hard to replace that.

Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters and most welcome visiting Toastmasters I am going to tell you about my newly formed academic reputation development plan. I am going to tell you what my career is, the reputation metrics that I have, and my plan to improve things.

Curated from My Academic Reputation Development Plan 26/08/2015 | My Quixotic Dreams: Living in Fullness Everyday

Publication Rate

One way to look at publication rate is to look at the publications per peer per year and normalise them so that year 1 is the year of our first publication. It is important to compare like with like as the publication characteristics of different disciplines vary.  I’ve looked at my closest peers at Cranfield University and World wide.

BiblioMetrics (Autosaved)_15463_image001
Career publication rate of my closest peers at work

Most career trajectories show places where step changes occur and a new rate of publication establishes. Within any career trajectory there are undulations as publication rate waxes and wanes. Principal Research Fellow/ Senior Lecturer is two grades senior to my current position. I am a bad lad and a late starter for sure, but others have started late as well, possibly being more oriented to lecturing.

BiblioMetrics (Autosaved)_13655_image001
Career publication rate of my closest peers world wide

Looking at my global peer group one gets a similar message, but it seems Professors can leverage their name on to the outputs of their expanding departments to show a gentle acceleration  in rate of publication.

Citations and H-Index

In this section I’ve looked at citations to my work and the calculation of the H-index. The H-Index is the number of you papers that have been cited at least that many times. My H-index is four so I have four paper that have been cited four or more times (see below). Citations are skewed with a few papers earning farm more than the bulk of papers, but elapsed time is also a factor.

BiblioMetrics (Autosaved)_27555_image001
My citations and the derivation of my h-index showing that 5 is doable, but after that I need new papers
The citations and h index of my closest professional peer in Agricultural Operational Research showing that his publications exceed mine by a a factor of 2 -3 but the citations don't
The citations and h index of my closest professional peer in Agricultural Operational Research showing that his publications exceed mine by a factor of 2 -3 but the citations don’t

When I compare the chart above to my own H-Index it strikes me how different they are. One big explanation is that I’ve worked on Agricultural Operational Research for strategic applied questions of national policy rather than the narrower optimization of specific processes and production systems.  My first paper is also three years older than the case above.

I now turn to having a quick look at the citation life-cycle of each of my papers

These are my citations over time and by paper. 2015 is incomplete but the trend is upwards. It shows the lead time is long and my intellectual contributions stay cutting edge in fields that may not be that fast moving.
These are my citations over time and by paper. 2015 is incomplete but the trend is upwards. It shows the lead time is long and my intellectual contributions stay cutting edge over a decade in fields that may not be that fast moving.

It looks like 2012 was a good year and I will be interested to know where 2015 ends up as we are still only in August. I am impressed that my papers are still relevant nearly 20 years on (am I in a slow moving field?) It is also a little concerning that there are very long lead times to any peak in citations. Some metrics only score citations within a finite time of a few years. However, I like that fact that almost all my papers do attract citations. That is probably a reflection that I’ve not published much but have focussed on significant pieces of work rather than thin pieces of salami.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Any reputation plan needs to play to strengths and manage weaknesses. Reputations are hard-won and easily shattered. The best way to protect you reputation is to be entirely true to yourself and allow you reputation to be a natural outgrowth of self. the easiest way to wreck a relationship is to big-up something you are not and then find that collapses because it can’t take the weight you are putting on it. For example, if you say you are diligent and actually are cavalier when under pressure then sooner or later people realise that they are losing trust and confidence as reality is not meeting expectations.

I’ve tried to hard look at my strength and weaknesses (marks out of 10) and also my vices (from -10) and virtues (to +10). These are just two partial perspectives of a complex system (me), but may offer message to take forward.

Skills -strengths and Weaknesses
Starting with my expertise in my area (domain) I have a set of strengths that I use a lot and then opposite that there are areas of weakness where I need to collaborate. There are a set of useful communication and Leadership skills that Toastmasters International (Cranfield Speakers Club) is helping me develop in the middle.

The ideas I get from my strengths are that are: 1) I do have intellectual strengths to contribute, 2) Toastmasters my help me tie together a synergistic dissemination strategy using social media and communication skills, and 3) Toastmasters may also help me with the leadership dimensions of all too essential collaborations and co-authours.

This chart almost shows a well balanced value system bar a a vulnerability in inner peace and near perfectionism with truth. The legend is values or if the score is negative the the inverse vice is assumed. Each is marked on a scale of +10 for strong virtue to -10 for strong vice.
This chart almost shows a well balanced value system bar a a vulnerability in inner peace and near perfectionism with truth. The legend is values or if the score is negative the the inverse vice is assumed. Each is marked on a scale of +10 for strong virtue to -10 for strong vice.

The weaknesses in my conduct are lax manners, cavalier attitude to my own health and safety (but if I am honest I am aware of that), and slight lack of courage and the taking on of responsibility.


I was surprised by so many high values in Truth, I clearly want things to be right and just, but does it suggest perfectionism and the risk that I set a quality bar for me that means nothing gets done and finished on time? It might suggest where the procrastination comes from.

Achilles Heel

The biggest surprise was peace. I seems to have fragile esteem that would make me vulnerable to criticism. That may well be why I’ve Journal rejection letter strewn around my email systems that are either unopened or unread. It maybe that Truth is compensating for Peace?

Key take out. If I can manage procrastination and insecurity then productivity might step change.

The Love and Non-Violence are both solid looking suggesting that I’am more than happy to be involved with the citizenry and stewardship of my field and respect those that work within it. If there is a hidden weaknesses here it maybe that I am too keen the chip in and see everyone else’s stuff come along and not aggressive enough with my own agenda.

Overall I don’t seem to be the exciting tragic hero lurching from virtue to vice. How dull!


  • I’ve been a bad lad and need to get consistently more publications.
  • It is never too late to be what you might have been. George Eliot
  • If I can get the publications then I could build citations by combing communications skills with social media skills. Video abstracts no problem!
  • I do need to ensure I manage collaborations well to cover weak areas and to motivate and retain motivation from those collaborators
  • If I can manage procrastination and insecurity better I may be able to make a step change in productivity and take a more balanced approach to supporting others and “going for it” to push myself forward.
  • “Be the change you seek in this world” (Gandi). That is be true to yourself, but be the best you that you can.
  • “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.” Matthew 5:15 (King James Bible). That is be visible (by showing rather than telling)

Research Fellow Training: Publishing papers 28/08/2015

Fab training course. It is doing me the power of good to have a refresher, but also from this Professor. He is essentially a self made man who has dug deep to find very human answers in himself to push forward.

I am so glad that this paper writing course was not another re-hash of the hypothesis centred paper approach. This course gave you the behind the scenes approach to getting it done, giving strategic tips to write of any kind! Most of my work hinges on systems modelling. I’ve never seen a hypothesis formally stated in the literature that I read or even really figured out if it is implied. As a result I’ve mostly struggled and failed to operationalise earlier learning.

Part 1: Why publish and where?

  • I like the idea of focussing on a set of and consistent keywords to develop your .
  • I like the idea of a set of journal at impact factor 4+ to aim the best stuff at. A set at around 2 to fall back on and a final set of <1 further fall back on provided that have good readership. This is a better way to build a directed reputation than the more scatter gun approach.
  • I think for me I need to slant my outputs not at but more at Agri-environmental engineering, policy and . [Note to self if possible analyse my and peers for journal coverage]
  • Your quality bar on your papers defines your intellectual reputation (more than any other lever).

How to produce papers?

  • Guides to papers are like diets -develop the one that works for you!
  • I really like this killer idea. Separate the intellectual heavy lifting into a phase that takes time from the physical drafting and of the manuscript. Trying to think as you write means that you have to repeatedly return to the time consuming heavy lifting to move the paper on the next notch before you are yet again diverted to the more pressing aspects of the day job.
    • Intellectual phase
      • Define the message -one sentence
      • Define the structure
      • Determine the key information to include in then paper
      • Define the information needs in the introduction
    • Deliver
      • Write drafts
  • Plan of attack (Key to intellectual contribution -get balance of paper right)
    • Results
    • Discussion
    • Conclusions
    • Methods (& Materials)
    • Introduction
    • Abstract
    • Title
    • Keywords, Acknowledgements, References
  • F.O.C.U.S
  • The purpose of a paper is to be read and used [to communicate] (not to baffle, show off, prove hard work, to prove we are better). It is your sales pitch of your ideas and intellectual contribution.
    • “Do they see what you see, and understand what you understand? Is it easy and useful for them to read? What knowledge/ information do you want to leave them with?”
    • “If you cannot describe the message clearly and concisely you are not ready to write the paper”
  • The best structure is the simplest path for the story you want to tell. Clear redundant material off that path
  • Use a storyboard to organise the figures and tables into the story line you need for your message. What is missing? Are they needed at all? Use the storyboard as a research planning tool to target the graphs and thus work you need to do to support the story, but revise when a new story emerges. [Storyboard planning maybe very good for designing model runs for a paper if not building the model itself]
  • Allow time and have fun collaborating
  • Results: Describe, Compare, & Explain on each. Plant the hooks you will return to in the discussion. Be specific with comparisons and explanations never generic. Keep it to the points that add to your message
  • Key point: Do not start writing the papers until you have prepared the material. If the preps done then in half an hour snatch moments another bit can be written up.
  • Discussion: Bring out the main points first. Write a separate discussion to ensure you develop it well.
  • Materials and Method: the reader should be able to repeat your work. Include Quality assurance steps. Reference standard methods, describe what is different, but avoid referring to you own papers for basic details to help the paper stand on its own feet.
  • Introduction: What are the drivers of the work?, what is already known and done?, where are the gaps?, and what are we going to deliver?
  • Conclusions: Demonstrate delivery of the message, what is the point of the paper?, and each aim and objective should have a corresponding conclusion.
  • Title: This is the key hook. It is what people see first, if anything. Good titles are either short or contain colons and are brief, direct, and meaningful.
  • Abstract: Critical to further reading. Use 4 sentences: 1)The driver for the work, 2)The approach taken,  3)The key results, and 4)The main conclusion.
  • Visual/Audio-slide/video Abstracts: Important and no clear best practices
  • Keywords: Direct, meaningful, and consistent (Inconsistent keywords = lower citations as you become harder to find. Find a couple of key signature keywords and use them everywhere
  • Acknowledgements: funders, helpers and legal issues. Keep it brief
  • References: Follow the formatting instructions and check citation and reference list agree in both directions.
  • Basic rules: Keep to word limits, rules, and format guidelines. Do not flood journals -spread papers around if coming in a batch else be forced two rite one all singing paper. Don’t self plagiarise. If it is needed and it is published refer to it or come at it from another direction. If resubmitting post rejection to a new journal explain why and what you ave done to improve the article.
    • Have high standards of internal proof reading.
    • Handle referee comments constructively, properly, be timely.
    • Be a completer finisher!
  • Recieving criticism and rejection. Calm down and read and re read and re read the feedback until you feel more composed to respond positively. Keep at it as the light at the end of the tunnel never goes out.

ReadCube for Researchers

“Because I have seen both the difficulties of researching topics while struggling to stay organized and the ease of organization after ReadCube – I feel that writing, researching, and just keeping up with current practices has become so much easier when using this awesome program!”


“I have been using ReadCube for over past two years successfully. I am really impressed with software – user friendly, very fast and compatibility with pubmed, acrobat and endnote. I’ve even presented this software in our journal club to all the researchers in the lab and even convinced my prof to start using this software :).”


“I think that ReadCube is the best academic application I have ever used. It encompasses everything I need in a but in a very simple and stylish way, which is why I avidly recommend ReadCube to all my work colleagues.”


“I think that ReadCube is the best product on the market for managing a collection of papers. I have tried managing my collection of articles manually, and I have also tried using other management programs, and I believe that ReadCube is the best tool out there. I love that it will let me use my campus proxy wherever I have access to the internet. I find that it’s UI is intuitive and powerful.”


“I love that everything is inline! The enhanced PDF allows me to use the more easily-readable and more organized PDF format while retaining (and even improving) the functionality of an online-accessed, full-text article with hyperlinked references and supplements”



Research Fellowship Training -Career Planning 31/7/2015

31st July 2015 Life as a at Cranfield and

Nice to see 20-30 of us attending. Despite being an established Research Fellow it was useful refresher training for me.

It all boils down to a triad of academic Papers (out), research student PhDs (out) and Pounds (in). The ages old maxim publish or perish.

To some extent your job is what you want it to be if you begin to bring in funding, excel at what you like and are good at and do the least you can get away with for the rest.

One of the interesting messages is the for every four hours meeting the Research Customers needs two and a half could be spent advancing ones career with papers and items of esteem, one and a half seeking new research grants, 1 hour teaching and supervising students, and 1 hour of citizenry and giving back to the quality of life of your work community. Most of us spend most of our time chasing our tails and leave the advancing ones career stuff too much to chance.

It was interesting that hands-on teaching peaks mid career with lecturers and senior lecturer. Readers and Professors are more broadly focused on the intellectual stewardship of their fields and its strategic resources such as the funding and intellectual outcomes

Life can be a roller coaster of ups and down – you need to be able to handle failure -grant rejections -paper rejections, etc. You need to stay grounded in reality and not get over hyped or devastated. Respond to challenges and setbacks with solutions and don’t allow yourself to become a toxic moaner that everyone resits helping.

There are multiple paths to success, but don’t expect the rules and goal post to be written or set in stone. Luck and intelligent understanding matter as well. Know your skills and leverage your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses.

Esteem and publications are like social media they are an ecosystem that grows out and grow on itself and starts to show exponential influence with

Most research fellows struggle because they:
lack a plan to become a Professor
Most promotion cases are flawed because the candidate:
Lacks a clear and distinct intellectual vision

The Academic Reputational Development Plan has moved here to the PLAN

health check and plan
health check and plan