How to set up a research group

A couple of weeks ago I wrote down some thoughts I had while writing a paper for the JTH series on Early Career Researchers. I was asked to write how one sets up a research group, and the four points I described in my previous post can be recognised in the final paper.

But I also added some reading tips in the paper. reading on a particular topic helps me not only to learn what is written in the books, but also to get my mind in a certain mindset. So, when i knew that i was going to take over a research group in Berlin I read a couple of books, both fiction and non fiction. Some where about Berlin (e.g. Cees Nootebooms Berlijn 1989/2009), some were focussed on academic life (e.g. Porterhouse Blue). They help to get my mind in a certain gear to help me prepare of what is going on. In that sense, my bookcase says a lot about myself.

The number one on the list of recommended reads are the standard management best sellers, as I wrote in the text box:

// Management books There are many titles that I can mention here; whether it the best-seller Seven Habits of Highly Effective People or any of the smaller booklets by Ken Blanchard, I am convinced that reading some of these texts can help you in your own development as a group leader. Perhaps you will like some of the techniques and approaches that are proposed and decide to adopt them. Or, like me, you may initially find yourself irritated because you cannot envision the approaches working in the academic setting. If this happens, I encourage you to keep reading because even in these cases, I learned something about how academia works and what my role as a group leader could be through this process of reflection. My absolute top recommendation in this category is Leadership and Self-Deception: a text that initially got on my nerves but in the end taught me a lot.

I really think that is true. You should not only read books that you agree with, or which story you enjoy. Sometimes you can like a book not for its content but the way it makes you question your own preexisting beliefs and habits. But it is true that this sometimes makes it difficult to actually finnish such a book.

Next to books, I am quite into podcasts so I also wrote

// Start up. Not a book, but a podcast from Gimlet media about “what it’s really like to get a business off the ground.” It is mostly about tech start-ups, but the issues that arise when setting up a business are in many ways similar to those you encounter when you are starting up a research group. I especially enjoyed seasons 1 and 3.

I thought about including the sponsored podcast “open for business” from Gimlet Creative, as it touches upon some very relevant aspects of starting something new. But for me the jury is still out on the “sponsored podcast” concept  – it is branded content from amazon, and I am not sure to what extent I like that. For now, i do not like it enough to include it in the least in my JTH-paper.

The paper is not online due to the summer break,but I will provide a link asap.

– update 11.10.2016 – here is a link to the paper. 





Coffee and DVT: article in JTH and Mare now also in English

Earlier, I wrote about the interview published by the University newspaper Mare on our research of the protective effect of coffee on DVT risk. Being a Dutch University, the newspaper is in Dutch too. Luckily for us, the story was picked for the english page of the Mare. This page regurgitates some content of the previous week, except for that it is translated/rewritten in English. The english text can be found here, and I’ve put a pdf of the text in the Media section.

2013 advisory committee of JTH just got an email asking whether I would like to join the advisory committee of the JTH for the year of 2013. What a surprise! The text in the email reads:

[…]Our Advisory Board is composed of our most active reviewers and we expect members to review for us from time to time when papers fall within their expertise.[…]

I am truly honored with this invitation, and although I do not yet fully understand the difference between a regular reviewer and a member of the advisory board, I am really enthusiastic to help the journal to reach for and maintain the high academic standard of their articles. Recently, I’ve been wondering about the peer review system: should we change it in order to help prevent publication bias / scientific misconduct? Should we open up the system and urge reviewers to relinquish their anonymity like they ask at the PLoS journals?