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Lenny Teytelman
Co-founder of ZappyLab.

Yes, postdocs are underpaid

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Lenny TeytelmanJul 08, 2015Comments
A few days ago, Justin Kiggins wrote Postdocs will be getting a raise (based on Obama's proposed rule change for overtime exemptions, it's likely postdoc salaries will increase to $50,000). This prompted a vigorous discussion with many faculty complaining that they are already struggling and any such increase is going to harm them and their postdocs. Yesterday, the key question in this ~  read more

It’s not “Publish or Perish” but rather “Do Great Science”

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Lenny TeytelmanOct 30, 2014Comments
Everyone knows the destructive influence of the impact factor on academic research. This journal-citation metric is abused as a proxy for the quality of the published paper (see Mark Johnston's editorial and DORA). However, the impact factor maintains its grip and publishing in high-impact-factor (HIF) journals is commonly seen as a requirement for getting fellowships, faculty appointments, ~  read more

Don't stress over your thesis; no one will read it.

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Lenny TeytelmanMay 05, 2015Comments
Writing the dissertation is hard. I particularly found the two months of procrastinating and staring at the blank first page painful. That time when you suddenly feel compelled to cook a lavish meal, put together the Ikea shelf that was lying there for five months and generally do anything that gives you an excuse not to stare at that blank page. The 30-second procrastination clip in Adaptation ~  read more

Goodbye #TimHunt discussion

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Lenny TeytelmanJul 28, 2015Comments
We have clearly reached the end of any productive conversation around the Tim Hunt remarks. The whole discussion is now in GamerGate land. We have good journalists being accused of a conspiracy. A former politician Louise Mensch is on a campaign against those who were offended by Tim Hunt's remarks, pretending to be an unbiased journalist. My personal rule of thumb - once a topic on Twitter is ~  read more

Sacking Tim Hunt - what about tenure and academic freedom?

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Lenny TeytelmanJun 13, 2015Comments
Fiona Fox just wrote Call off the hunt, a post questioning whether the firing of Tim Hunt from important positions in any way advances the cause of women in science. And yesterday, Claire Lehman made an interesting argument: @lteytelman No. I think a better way to deal with bad ideas is to publicly debunk them, not fire people for holding them. — Claire Lehmann (@clairlemon) June 12, ~  read more

We need post-publication peer review of journals

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Lenny TeytelmanMar 08, 2015Comments
Mark Johnston, Editor-in-Chief of Genetics recently published an editorial against the high-impact journals, "A Glaring Paradox."  He notes that the editors at Nature, Science and Cell are frequently scientists who have not published much. In contrast, the editors at society journals are all active scientists with a deep knowledge of their field. As a consequence, Mark writes that the ~  read more

Looking for the scientist's spouse?

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Lenny TeytelmanMay 21, 2016Comments
Leslie Vosshal noticed yesterday that when you search for a woman scientist, Google seems to often predict that it's their spouse you really want to read about. Top 5 search suggestions for female scientists often include "husband". WTF? pic.twitter.com/6EuSkEO0AC — Leslie Vosshall (@pollyp1) May 20, 2016 Matt Davis noted that the same often happens when you search for famous ~  read more

What is the ethical compensation for nonprofit executives? (Should you boycott PLOS?)

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Lenny TeytelmanMar 22, 2016Comments
Over the last week, there's been a storm over the executive compensation and financials at the Public Library of Science (PLOS). It was started by a series of tweets from Professor Andrew Kern, looking into the financial disclosures of PLOS and learning that they pay good salaries and have operating margins. Andrew then concluded: PLOS's financials reveal that they are merely trying to maximize ~  read more

We can and should improve reproducibility. But it's not a crisis, so can do it without panic.

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Lenny TeytelmanApr 09, 2015Comments
Three days ago, I asked whether irreproducible research is a problem or a crisis. I asked on Twitter, consulted Ivan Oransky of RetractionWatch, and discussed over e-mail with many. We have a reproducibility problem. But is it a crisis? http://t.co/mqOlXnezp8 (I am genuinely curious about the answer. Please RT.) — Lenny Teytelman (@lteytelman) April 6, 2015 The overwhelming consensus is ~  read more

Want to be ethical in science? Speak up.

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Lenny TeytelmanMay 31, 2015Comments
What is the etiquette for disclosing an anonymous review that you wrote? It’s not a trivial question because all of us have the natural sense that an anonymous review is supposed to stay anonymous. Even I, an advocate of non-anonymous open peer review, see the problem of going public with something that was written in private at the request of an editor, with the understanding from the ~  read more

Subscription Publishing is the Hotel Industry. Science needs Airbnb.

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Lenny TeytelmanFeb 04, 2015Comments
I just re-read “Dragging scientific publishing into the 21st century” (Razib Khan, Laurie Goodman, David Mittelman. Genome Biology 2014, 15:556). It ends with: Should publishers continue to do business-as-usual, then they will (and frankly should) become dinosaurs, while younger, more innovative and more robust communication venues take the lead. The ~  read more

Hush academic, don’t speak up, Focus on your research and shut up.

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Lenny TeytelmanMar 07, 2016Comments
As a first-year graduate student in 2003, I rotated in Michael Eisen’s lab right before the launch of PLOS’s first journal. An older student in the department told me, “Don’t join Mike’s lab. He doesn’t care about the science any more and is just an open access activist at this point.” This is just one of the many dismissive comments I’ve heard ~  read more

The suicide of Yoshiki Sasai - no more witch-hunts please

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Lenny TeytelmanAug 05, 2014Comments
I am shaken, devastated, and heartbroken to learn that Dr. Yoshiki Sasai commited suicide yesterday. It's difficult to compose my thoughts right now, but I won't be able to fall asleep if I don't write this. Dr. Sasai was the deputy director of Riken Center for Developmental Biology (CDB) and the senior author on the retracted STAP papers. I am an outsider to this field and have zero insider ~  read more

Your mentor can make or brake your academic career

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Lenny TeytelmanJul 28, 2014Comments
Barely a day goes by when I don't see a mention or active discussion of abusive PIs on Twitter. This isn't surprising. I've personally heard countless horror stories about dysfunctional labs. Sometimes people are lucky to get out. Sometimes they suffer for years and tolerate the abuse. Often, they leave academia. Given how common these stories are among the people we know, if you follow 300 or ~  read more

Is sexual harassment less common in biology than in astronomy?

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Lenny TeytelmanJan 14, 2016Comments
Recent news is full of headlines such as Congresswoman Proposes Bill to Fight Astronomy’s Sexual Harassment Problem, Astronomy’s snowballing sexual harassment scandal picks up even more cases, Astronomy’s sexual harassment problem gets Congressional attention, Astronomers Are Finally Doing Something About Sexual Harassment and countless others. Painful ~  read more