Archive for the 'Society for Neuroscience' category

Neuroscientists: Start Electing Advocates

Mar 03 2015 Published by under Society for Neuroscience

NamasteIshIconThe following is a guest post from Namaste. Ish. Previously known as the bluebird of happiness, My T. Chondria. Stuff happened. The kitten walked away. Deal with it.


WANTED: Outspoken advocates for neuroscience research who is not afraid to ruffle a few feathers, call Congress Critters out on the current implosion of science funding and opportunities for trainees.

QUALIFICATIONS: Membership in the Society for Neuroscience.

JOB DESCRIPTION: The Society seeks “Leaders who best represent the interests and needs of the membership.”

SFN-NamasteishFig

With over 40,000 members, I look at the presidents of the SfN and wonder; do these people represent my interests and needs? I mean, do I have common struggles with folks in the National Academy, with HHMI status who have unfettered access to top tier journal editors and members of NIH Council? The answer is no, as I imagine it is for most of you.

Admittedly all of the people have made extraordinary contributions to neuroscience research, and have mentored countless outstanding scientists but this is not the job. The job is advocacy and I’m unimpressed.

I did a little experiment and searched Google News for 10 of the last presidents and came up with a rather unimpressive 40 events in which the lot of them had touted science (other than their own work) in any mainstream media outlet. These folks are putting out their semi annual newsletters and gaining ZERO traction in the real world. We can’t afford to preach to the choir any longer. We need people who will use a broad array of social media, PR and outreach tools to get the message across immediately.

I don’t know a single event around the SfN meeting in which the President or Counselors talk openly with the public, invite lawmakers to the meeting and chaperone them thru the day highlighting our biggest and most exciting stories as well as our most personal struggles as a community. We need these things to survive. We do not live in a culture that embraces science and education and where rational thought is valued. I know for sure we won’t get there by sending newsletters to ourselves. I would go so far as to argue that some of the past presidents are part of the problem we currently have in science. There are past SfN presidents in their late 70’s and beyond who still hold faculty appointments, are getting grants, holding onto research space, dollars and trainees when the market has a glut of young talent and few job vacancies.

NIH cannot petition Congress for money. So your society presidents and counselors need to be doing this and facilitating ways for us to do it as a group. We can no longer afford to be handing out these jobs as yet another feather in the caps of BSDs. Anyone who thinks we should need look no further than the ASBMB who ended up with Steve McKnight as a president who promptly used his column to tell the wee folks of science they are not worthy of performing NIH reviews or judging his work.

Nominate someone who will do better and represent you here. By Friday.

2 responses so far

The Journal of Neuroscience needs to explain the author ban

I agree with the following Twitter comment

Insofar as it calls for the Editorial Board of the Journal of Neuroscience to explain why it banned three authors from future submissions. As I said on the prior post, this step is unusual and seems on the face of it to be extreme.

I also said I could see justification for the decision to retract the paper. I say that also could stand some explanation, given the public defense and local University review decision.

4 responses so far

Is the J Neuro policy banning Supplemental Materials backfiring?

As you will recall, I was very happy when the Journal of Neuroscience decided to ban the inclusion of any Supplemental Materials in articles considered for publication. That move took place back in 2010.

Dr. Becca, however, made the following observation on a recent post:

I'm done submitting to J Neuro. The combination of endless experiment requests due to unlimited space and no supp info,

I find that to be a fascinating comment. It suggests that perhaps the J Neuro policy has been ineffectual, or even has backfired.

To be honest, I can't recall that I have noticed anything in a J Neuro article that I've read in the past few years that reminded me of this policy shift one way or the other.

How about you, Dear Reader? Noticed any changes that appear to be related to this banning of Supplemental Materials?

For that matter, has the banning of Supplemental Materials altered your perception of the science that is published in that journal?

44 responses so far

SFN 2014 Is Over

Nov 20 2014 Published by under Society for Neuroscience

I woke up two hours early today with brain obsessing over our next research priorities, thanks to the meeting. Working as intended then.

For some reason I didn't get around to visiting a single exhibitor other than NIH. First time for everything, right?

It is really great to see so many of the online people I've met through blogging and to see them succeeding with their science and careers.

The postdocs who have left our department in recent years for faculty jobs are kicking all kinds of science booty and that is nice to see.

Talk to Program, talk to Program, talk to Program.......

Catching up with the science homie(s) that you've known since postdoc or grad school is good for the soul. Dedicate one night for that.

Don't bad talk anyone in the hearing of relative strangers.....really, you can't know who likes and respects who and science is very small. I know 30,000 attendees makes you think it is large but....it isn't.

Gossip about who is looking to find a new job....see above.

I ran into the AE who decided not to bother finding reviewers for our paper whilst at SfN and heroically, HEROICALLY people, managed not to demand immediate action.

A little bummed I missed the Backyard Brains folks this year...anybody see what shenanigans they are up to now?

You know when you go over to meet and butter up some PI, trainees? Don't worry, it's awkward from our end too.

3 responses so far

Thought of the Day

Nov 18 2014 Published by under Society for Neuroscience

It turns out that trolling someone else's lab from a meeting with the cool study you just thought of that THEY NEED TO GET ON RIGHT NOW is even better than doing it to your own lab.

4 responses so far

A simple plea for SfN 2014 attendees, particularly of the older, maler demographic

Nov 13 2014 Published by under Society for Neuroscience

Do NOT creep on junior female scientists.

Do NOT creep on female scientists.

Do NOT creep on ANYBODY at the Annual Meeting.

(Getting drunk is not an excuse, btw.)

Don't so much as say anything creepy on your Facebook or Twitter or out loud where anyone can hear you.

Let everyone get as much science out of the Meeting as they can without having to worry about what your nasty self is up to, eh?

23 responses so far

SFN 2014: Minisyposium on Bath Salts and Fake Weed / Spice

Nov 13 2014 Published by under Society for Neuroscience

There will be a minisymposium on synthetic drugs at the upcoming Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Washington DC. You can find it on Tuesday, Nov 18, 2014, 1:30 PM - 4:00 PM in WCC Ballroom B.

571.Bath Salts, Spice, and Related Designer Drugs: The Science Behind the Headlines

Michael Baumann and Jenny Wiley have organized it, appropriately given their respective expertise with cathinones and cannabinoids, respectively.

The abstract reads:

Recently there has been an alarming increase in the nonmedical use of novel psychoactive substances known as “designer drugs.” Synthetic cathinones and synthetic cannabinoids are two of the most widely abused classes of designer drugs. This minisymposium presents the most up-to-date information about the molecular sites of action, pharmacokinetics and metabolism, and in vivo neurobiology of synthetic cathinones and cannabinoids.

Looks to be a can't-miss session for those of you who are interested in these drug classes.

One response so far

Are you presenting data at SFN 2014?

Nov 11 2014 Published by under Society for Neuroscience

I'll extend my usual no-promises offer.

If you either drop your presentation details in the comments here or email me (drugmnky at the google mail) I'll try to work it into my schedule.

If it is really cool (and I can understand it) I might even blog it.

Hope to catch up with old blog friends and meet a few new folks.

See y'all at BANTER.

13 responses so far

Hard truths for supposed neuroscientists

This is the truest and best thing I have read on the internet today.

12 responses so far

The Society for Neuroscience is launching a new Open Access journal

Jan 15 2014 Published by under Neuroscience, Open Access, Society for Neuroscience

An email from current president of the Society for Neuroscience announced the intent of the society to launch a new Open Access journal. They are seeking an Editor in Chief, so if you know any likely candidates nominate them.

The Society for Neuroscience Council has appointed a Search Committee to recommend candidates to serve as editors-in-chief for two Society-published journals:

The Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Neuroscience, to be appointed for a 5-year term beginning Jan. 1, 2015, after a period of transition with the current editor; and
The first Editor-in-Chief of a new online, open access neuroscience journal, expected to launch in late 2014, and temporarily referred to herein as “New Journal.” Please see the announcement here for more information about New Journal. This 5-year appointment will commence in the spring of 2014, to allow the new editor to be involved in decisions connected with the start-up of New Journal and the organizing of an initial editorial board.

The members of the Search Committee are: Moses Chao, Chair; Holly Cline; Barry Everitt; David Fitzpatrick; and Eve Marder.

The list of evaluation criteria may help you to think about who you should nominate.

In evaluating candidates for the editor-in-chief positions, the Search Committee will consider the following criteria:

  • previous editorial experience

  • adequate time flexibility to take on the responsibilities of editor-in-chief

  • a distinguished record of research in neuroscience

  • familiarity with online submission, peer review and manuscript tracking systems

  • ideas about novel approaches and receptivity to innovation during a time of great change in the scientific publishing field

  • service to and leadership in the neuroscience community (e.g., SfN committees)

  • evidence of good management skills and the ability to lead colleagues on an editorial board

  • for New Journal: the capacity to proactively engage on a start-up venture, and to innovate and lead in the creation of a high quality open access neuroscience journal, and guide it on a path to success

  • for The Journal of Neuroscience: the capacity to build on an established record of success, while continuing to evolve a leading journal in the field and take it to the next level

Interesting next step for the SfN. Obviously reflects some thinking that they may be left behind (even further, see diminishing reputation after the launch of Nature Neuroscience and Neuron) in the glorious New World Order of Open Access publication. Might just be a recognition that Open Access fees for a new journal when all the infrastructure is already there is going to be a cash cow for the Society from the beginning.

What I will be fascinated to see is where they pitch the New Journal* in terms of impact. Are they just trying to match JNeuro? Will they deliberately go a little lower down the feeding chain to avoid undercutting the flagship journal?

__
*my suggestion of Penfield must have been too esoteric a reference.....

13 responses so far

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