Updating the Glossary

May 29 2015 Published by under BlogBlather, Blogging

I maintain a blog Glossary page which is supposed to be a handy reference for newcomers to the blog. It is necessary because I am lazy and often use shorthand when I am writing blog posts. My commenters frequently do as well. I was just adding RAP to the list when I thought I should maybe solicit feedback from you.

So, any suggestions for the Glossary, Dear Reader?

Anything which stumped you when you first started reading? Or which stumps you now?

What jargon should I add?

30 responses so far

  • Philapodia says:

    Jedi Council

  • Philapodia says:


  • drugmonkey says:

    Does Jedi Council have a specific meaning?

  • Philapodia says:

    Jedi Council - A term coined by the Habs-loving Michael Hendricks to describe a group of senior scientists (median age 65) whose mission was to save the NIH biomedical enterprise for younger scientists but concluded that they do not in fact know how to fix anything.

  • Grumble says:

    "R1", as in "R1 university." I still have no idea what defines a university as R1.

  • Dave says:

    'The Cull?

  • Spike Lee says:

    Agreed, The Cull. It's a thing.

  • lurker says:

    K99/R00 - in case a noob has only now discovered your blog.
    Noob - what I used to be till I saw the DM light.
    ORI - catching the fraudsters at a better but still dismally slow rate

  • Emaderton3 says:

    I recently saw Francis Collins speak. He showed a graph that I had never seen before comparing what the NIH budget would have looked like had we continued the normal yearly increases set in the 70's versus what it is now. The former approach would have led to a significantly larger pot of money than what we have today. At the time, I was trying to think of a humorous term for this mythical monetary curve as to avoid the depression of having to realize once again that this is the most difficult time in NIH history to be a scientist. However, I could not come up with something for this unicorn . . .

  • Established PI says:


  • Ola says:

    I once had to google FWDAOTI, but then I realised it might apply to me, so I didn't push for a definition here.

  • forensictoxguy says:



  • vxy says:

    I usually decipher the meaning based on context. This way, I knew what BSD referred to. Only now did I look it up :). Also, had to google h/t.

  • E-Rook says:

    It took me a while to get BSD, and now I have images of the Blue Dude from The Watchmen every time I see BSD on your blog. I also try to use the shorthand in polite company ('there's this blog on teh internetz...') with coworkers, and I have to whisper ("it means bigswingingdick"), when there are females (who anatomically presumably do not have dicks) also can serve this role. So, I'm not a fan of the term because of the sexual undertones of a big swinging dick. Seeing The Watchmen film in an IMAX with a real huge big swinging dick on the screen (that's me, prob tmi) opens up imagery that isn't productive when I'm thinking about grant/publication/mentoring/teh scienz strategies. again- prob too personal, but i'm not a fan of the BSD shorthand

  • E-Rook says:

    I want to add P&T or PT for promotion and tenure ... maybe it's to obvious; but I think the concept with reference to what admin's, review committees, and departments expect in contrast to the economics of the funding (NIH) system dictates occurs frequently enough that P&T warrants its shorthand.

  • Namaste_ish says:

    How about a handy timeline of big events in science social media. Helps to know BoraZ Ripples of Doubt happened post spittle gate.

    Also, a clickable button for those new to Teds World
    Your side bar
    Tab thing is
    An Unreadable
    Hot mess

    And why am I not on the masthead?

    And clickable boot coupons

  • drugmonkey says:

    What tab thing?

  • ScienceWoman says:

    Completely off topic here, but has anyone here heard about fake reviewing of journal articles? I had no idea that this happened so frequently until I caught my technician doing this. She's a Chinese citizen aiming for EB-1a fast-track Green Card here in the U.S. One of the criteria listed for the EB1a is: "Evidence of the alien's participation, either individually or on a panel, as a judge of the work of others in the same or an allied field of specialization for which classification is sought."

    To meet that criteria, she "reviews" for scientific journals. To do this, she has friends refer her as a reviewer for journals. When she gets the review requests, she accepts, and it appears that she has a friend either log into the journal website itself and submit the review, or she obtains a review for an article from a friend via email and then logs in herself to submit the review.

    Sadly, I think that this kind of low-level fraud must now be a "norm."

    When I interviewed her for the tech position and read her CV, I noticed that she listed reviewer activity for journals outside of her area of expertise (clinical specialty journals - she has a PhD). I remember wondering how she could review for these journals, especially when she had difficulty communicating her own research to me.

    But, journals have absolutely no way to screen for this activity. And, the thing that drives this behavior is desperation for a Green Card, when you think about it.

    There are other problems with this person. She has absolutely no drive with regard to research. In the lab, she spends most of her time surfing the internet, looking at women's fashion websites. The skill-set she listed on her CV doesn't match what she can actually do in the lab (at this point, I can't even trust her to extract RNA from tissue samples or to do Western blots on her own). I am starting to wonder how she could even have been awarded a PhD in the first place (from a Chinese institution that has a good reputation)?

  • drugmonkey says:

    I have not heard of this from the perspective of the reviewer. It comes up now and again when authors are busted for creating spoofed identities/fake emails and recommending those contact credentials to decide their own papers.

  • Grumble says:

    Sounds like a relative of the spamference and the open access journal scam.

  • Emaderton3 says:

    @drugmonkey Yes, that graph! I don't recall seeing it before. This is what I get for only being a more recent reader of yours! And as a young PI, I am only now getting totally immersed in every depressing facet of grant writing, submitting, etc.

  • drugmonkey says:

    blogs are really shitty at presenting a clearly indexed overview of content to the newcomer. All we really have is group memory and the topic headings. a drawback of the transiency of the blog form.

  • ScienceWoman says:

    DM and Grumble: I have actual colleagues here (2 PIs, one of a very large lab, the other of a smaller lab) who have told me about 2 separate incidents in which they strongly believed that the person they hired from China was NOT the person who showed up to work. In one case, the Prof thought it was odd that the video was down during the online interview (she could only hear the person's voice). She discovered that the person she hired was not the person she actually interviewed for the position. In the other case, the PI (who is also Chinese) fired the Chinese national because she believed that the person she interviewed online was a look-alike posing as the person she hired. She suspected this because their English language skills were totally different.

    At first, when I heard these stories, I didn't believe them, but then I had that experience with my technician and this news came out the other day: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/05/29/chinese-nationals-indicted-elaborate-cheating-scheme-standardized-admissions-tests

    What irks me about the reviewer fraud (which, I'm guessing, is likely a widespread phenomenon - I think that my technician paid the person to write reviews for her, either monetarily or through other favors either to that friend or to other members of her community) is that it's totally unfair to the authors of the paper. In that situation, who knows how many people read the paper while it was in submission?

  • ScienceWoman says:

    And, let me add - I heard both of these stories on separate occasions, even without mentioning the discovery I made about my technician's "reviewer" activity. These 2 PIs know each other. So, it may be likely that interview fraud is also happening on a larger scale than we know?

  • Dave says:

    That's only one of the criteria for an EB1, and it wont get her through the door alone. She will need a good citation record to get an EB1, and that ticks just one box. She will need money for a good lawyer too (that's the most important part). USCIS officers are definitely not stupid and can see through bullshit very easily. EB1s/EB2-NIWs are becoming tricky to get because a lot of people try to game it.

    If you want to scare yourself some more, look at the corruption with the TOEFL tests. Some countries have even banned it because of the widespread fraud.

    In my opinion, one should hire some foreign nationals with extreme caution. I have been involved in the lab with several hires that said they could do all sorts of stuff in the lab, and when they arrived, couldn't even make a solution or use a pipette (or speak English, see above about TOEFL). It's a disaster when it happens, because you thought you were getting a post-doc, but instead got an undergrad.

  • ScienceWoman says:

    Thanks, Dave. Yes - I have learned my lesson well and proceed with caution. I realize that about the money for the lawyer, etc. She seems to have that taken care of (not sure where the money comes from - maybe parents or in-laws). I think, however, that the citation record she has came out of sheer luck - she joined a lab (as a tech, after she was booted out of her postdoc) that was highly productive and, even though she can't design an experiment or write a sentence of English, she was given authorship on several papers by her former PI simply out of charity (she maintained the mouse colony). She couldn't get reference letters for her application on her own, so her former PI asked several other PIs for letters on her behalf, and they, being collegial with her big-name PI (despite not really knowing her), simply signed the references letters that were carefully crafted (by someone else she knows) that she sent them.

    Anyway, it seems to be a trend now - there's a network of folks who "help" each other out like this. What's sad is that I can tell that she has absolutely no interest in continuing in science in the long term.

    Also, let me correct my typo above: "These 2 PIs *don't* know each other." What I was driving at was that it's an independent observation on 2 counts.

  • Dave says:


  • AcademicLurker says:

    "Do it to Julia!"

Leave a Reply