Writing an Academic Journal Article in the STEM Fields

The following is the flyer for course 298-4. I’ve attended a couple of Katie’s seminars, I would think it’s a good course to take if you want some guidance on how to get through the publishing process

Meets Tuesdays, 2:10-5:00pm, 396 Voorhies,
UWP 298-4, CRN: 41701, Register for 4 Units
This course will aid graduate students in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) in writing an academic journal article that they may potentially submit for publication. The course will cover various aspects of academic writing including: analyzing discipline-specific articles, writing abstracts, writing literature reviews, and editing for style and clarity.
The class will work like a writing group and/or workshop. Students will draft, revise, and edit drafts of an article with support and input from both their class peers and the instructor. We will benefit from the insights of guest presenters, including UC Davis scientists who will discuss their own publishing experiences, as well as individuals who have contributed to academic journals as editors and peer reviewers.
Students should be post-qualifying exams, or ABD, in order to participate in this course.

Ideally, all students will bring a piece of academic work that they would like to revise into a journal article, such as:
● A qualifying exam paper
● A conference presentation
● A thesis or dissertation chapter
● A previously rejected article
● A well-researched course paper

Topic we will cover in class include:
● Designing a writing plan and schedule
● Developing strategies for overcoming writing blocks
● Selecting a journal and analyzing its audience
● Developing and clarifying an argument
● Assessing our own writing strengths and weaknesses
● Practicing a clear and sophisticated writing style

Required Course Texts:
Day, Robert A. and Barbara Gastel. (2011). How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper. Greenwood Press. ISBN: 978-0-313-39197-2
Shimel, Joshua. (2012). Writing Science: How to Write Papers That Get Cited and Proposals That Get Funded. Oxford UP. ISBN: 978-0-19-976024-4
Day, Robert A. And Nancy Sakaduski. (2011). Scientific English. Greenwood. ISBN: 978-0-313-39194-1

Instructor: Katie Rodger, Ph.D., University Writing Program
Sponsored by the University Writing Program: Writing Across the Curriculum Program and Grad Pathways

Virtual computer lab

Virtual computer lab

Beth: So this is a thing you can use: Virtual computer lab

Andrea: WHAT?!?!!! SPSS


Andrea: freaking MATLAB

… yeah so apparently we, as students, can access a bunch of rad computer programs.


UCD offers new file storage option

I was recently informed that UCD has teamed up with to provide all UCD folks with FREE 50 GB of high security space in the cloud. If you use DropBox, you should definitely check it out. If you’ve always wanted to use DropBox but simply wanted more space or better security, also check it out.

Click here for the UCD Box website, and here for the FAQ page. And they say you keep your Box account after you leave the university. Bonus!

GSA Travel Award Applications are Open

Hi all.  Just a quick note to current UCD grad students that the applications for the Grad Student Association (GSA) travel award are currently open.  This is an award that can provide funding to attend conferences and workshops regardless of if you are presenting anything.  That’s right, you do NOT need to be presenting to receive the award, so apply!

Last year I found the application a bit hard to find, so here are my instructions:

  1. Log in to SmartSite.
  2. On your home page in the left hand bar click “Membership.”
  3. At the top of the inset click “Joinable Sites.”
  4. In the search box (upper right) type “GSA Winter Travel Grant 2014” (or just “travel” will get it).
  5. Click “Join.”

This will add the travel grant as though it is a class you are taking through SmartSite.  The “resources” section of the class will provide more detailed instructions.

Best of luck with your applications!

UCD resources

Today Joseph Na put together a beautiful video of our UC Davis campus.
What better to announce a new page on the site: a list of links for resources at UC Davis. Hope they prove to be helpful!

Video’s creator can be found here:

Symposium Bechdel Test

The issues faced by women in science is a topic worthy of a much longer and more thorough post.  For those of you who haven’t seen recent press on the issue I would direct you to the increasingly famous PNAS paper and New York Times piece.  Another specific issue receiving press recently, is the representation of women at conferences and symposia (one resource here: Fewer invited talks by women in evolutionary biology symposia).

I recently came across a neat little idea for assessing the gender balance at events like these (A Bechdel test for scientific workshops).  To summarize for those who aren’t as link-follow-happy as I am, the idea is based on the Bechdel test.  The original Bechdel test was written as a test for movies or TV shows.  It asks, does the movie:

  1. Have at least two women in it with names
  2. Who talk to each other
  3. About something other than a man

Cute and useful (though also arguably often misused, but that’s a side point).  The featured link proposes an analogous test for scientific events.  It asks if the event has:

  1. At least two female invited speakers,
  2. Who are asked questions by female audience members
  3. About their research

Neat, huh?  I’m not sure ultimately how much information this test will provide, since there are certainly a wide assortment of reasons any of the criteria won’t be met, but I’m very curious to see how it will play out at SfN this year.

Scientists & Social Media

It seems to me, that when scientists think about the intersection of science and media, they are (generally) thinking about publicity. Usually because of something new and exciting, but occasionally less so. Online journals and newspapers, blogs, and twitter have invaded our lives and in the process science writing has become so much more than press releases. (Yes, general science writing has always been around. But I would argue its accessibility and outreach is currently much, much larger) From career advice, to reporting, to the sharing of results, current and former researchers are readily sharing all their insights with each other.

I bring this up because my own RSS feed of blogs alerted me to a publication that asked how much and in what ways scientists are using social media.

Picard wants to knowAllgaier et al. “Journalism and Social Media as Means of Observing the Contexts of Science” Professional Biologist, 2013.

Scicurious, a writer who started blogging during grad school and now writes for Scientific American, dissects the paper and contrasts her experiences with the conclusions posed by Allgaier here. Personally, I think I have gained a lot from reading the blogs and tweets* of science writers**. Especially as I approach graduation, I think it has given me sense for what the world is like outside the safety of the graduate program.


Women, Scientists, and Having Your Princess Time Interrupted

— Dr. Isis (@drisis) March 19, 2013

**This blog has a resources page with a list of professional (housed at major journals) and personal blogs that are worth checking out. If you have sources you think others would enjoy then please send them our way!

Sequestration and Science Funding

I know you’re all pretty tired of politics right now. We’ve have a presidential election to deal with, plus local and state propositions. But you should also be concerned about a looming political issue called “sequestration.”
Sequestration means that if Congress doesn’t agree to a deficit reduction deal in its lame-duck session before the end of the year, there will be large (~9%) cuts to most kinds of government spending in January 2013–including defense and discretionary (read: NIH) spending.
I’ll provide some links and let you decide whether you think sequestration is a good or a bad thing. If you think it is important, and something needs to be done, then it is time to contact your representatives! If you live in Davis, I’ve pasted their info below. They’re on recess right now; some are campaigning, but all are supposed to be convening with residents of their home districts. They’re being paid to listen to you right now, so bug them. Good luck!
Member Name (DC Phone & Contact Form)
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D- CA) 202-224-3841
Senator Barbara Boxer (D- CA) 202-224-3553
Representative Mike Thompson (D – 01) 202-225-3311
Representative Dan Lungren (R – 03) 202-225-5716