Our colleagues at StatisticsViews recently interviewed Professor Lehana Thabane about mentoring.
Professor Thabane was born and raised in Lesotho and educated in both the UK and Canada. Currently, he is a professor of clinical epidemiology and biostatistics and the director of the biostatistics department at McMaster University‘s Centre for Evaluation of Medicine.
He is a passionate advocate for mentoring as a way for experienced biostatisticians to pass on professional skills to students and new graduates. In the interview, he explains how he began mentoring students, the struggles of preparing young students with the necessary soft skills, and his proudest moments.
Dr. Kimichika Fukushima is currently the Chief Specialist at Toshiba Nuclear Engineering Service Corporation in Advanced Reactor System Engineering Department. He achieved his doctorate degree from Osaka University in the Molecular orbital study of helium atoms in fusion reactor materials. He then went on to be a Senior Researcher in the Theoretical study on the electronic state of antiferromagnetism as well as energy materials and systems.
Dr. Fukushima has written countless papers over the last 30 years for several publications including his paper “CaCuO2 antiferromagnetism using shallow well added solely to atomic potential for generating O2- basis set of periodic molecular orbitals with consideration of coulomb potential in solid in an LDA” recently published in the International Journal of Quantum Chemistry. He was also honored with the Science Award from the Society for DV(Discrete Variational)-Xa.
The following is the next interview in our Take Note and Promote series. Dr. Fukushima talks about self-promotion, how to get published, and some helpful resources.
WriteForWiley: What’s important for the self-promotion of your papers?
Dr. Fukushima: Through scientific studies, we can gain the deeper knowledge about nature and the technological potentiality. The expansion of recognition is straightforward in some cases, but is indirect in other cases with difficult problems. Previous studies help our study via communities, although the interest is not common to researchers. Information related to a specific theme in papers of journals and reports of meetings/conferences are useful. The information is, however, not easily obtained, because of the tremendous number of papers and reports from researches. Journals for scientific letters or rapid communications as well as abstract magazines have so far been useful, and recently, the search using web service is increasing its role. The problem is how to get the information simply and effectively. One of the important items for the self-promotion is the full consideration on the recognition of nature and the basic role in technology before and during the study. The revealing universal concept results in making strong influence on the self-promotion.
How can you find published articles?
The only certain way to find a published article is the DOI in the form like http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/qua.23146
which directly sends the researcher to the addressed website of the article.
The DOI written in the above form can be found if the author cites the DOI in an abstract of a conference/meeting and his own paper in his communities. Another way is the use of key words in the paper, which are commonly used primary terms in searching for articles. Anyway, what’s important is that the article is worthy to be read.
Did the above items influence on the promotion of your paper?
The Google Search using my full name finds the article published from Wiley with materials in the related international symposium. I have cited this article in abstracts of international conferences and meetings, as well as in subsequent papers. I have further studied concentrating on a basic concept expressed with the primary word appeared in the previous journal and cited the published papers using the primary word as a key word. These procedures are for the deeper study and the announcement of the study.
What do you hope for from publishers?
Short-time peer-reviews of manuscripts with sufficient number of positive referees and rapid publications; publications of mathematical books in front mathematical fields using physical and chemical words which are not for mathematicians; publications of annual reviews and symposium abstracts/proceedings of each scientific field emphasizing questions, answers and comments; publication of selected papers in biology with a note which explains long and complex terms in chemistry and biology.
What were useful books in your studies?
A book of selected problems in the mathematical contest in Hungary for high school students, which blushed up the mathematical sense; a mathematical textbook by Masayoshi Nagata, which gave a mathematical view from an abstract mathematical formalism like the Dirac’s book; a physical history written by Tomonaga, which teaches zigzag processes for advancing science; a book on quantum field theory by Tomonaga, which reviewed an essence of physics.
Let us know your thoughts by leaving us a relpy in the comments box below.
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Loh Xian Jun, writing for journals, holding multiple roles, and being a fellow at Fitzwilliam College
Today’s interview is with Loh Xian Jun, research scientist, polychemist and Wiley author.
After earning his BA in Applied Science in 2006 and Ph.D in 2009 from National University of Singapore, he has held several positions at both academic and research institutions. His research interest focuses on biomaterials for healthcare (specifically delivery applications and tissue engineering), as well as nucleic acid delivery for therapeutic applications and shape memory polymers. Currently, he is the program manager and scientist at A*STAR Institute of Materials Research & Engineering.
As a young person in the industry, he had a lot of interesting thing to say about fellowships, publishing articles, and holding the distinguished honor of being the first from Singapore to be inducted as a fellow at Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam College. Read the entire interview below.
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Write for Wiley: How did you get interested in your area of research? Who were some of your heroes as a young academic?
Loh Xian Jun: Research came naturally to me as a kid. I was interested in ‘kitchen’ chemistry stuff. My first project was to try to grow rock sugar from normal cane sugar. I figured out that if you could have large salt crystals, you could do the same thing with sugar. I like good science and I do not really have any single hero. I really like the area of hydrogels and used to devour any articles that mentioned hydrogels in the work.
Talk about your current positions as scientist and program manager. Why did you decide to change gears from professor to manager and scientist? How did you prepare for this position change? How do these positions differ?
I have a dual role as a Program Manager of the Personal Care Program in Agency For Science Technology & Research (A*STAR) and as a scientist in the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE). These jobs are complementary.
As the Program Manager, I am given the opportunity to lead the direction of the Personal Care initiative in A*STAR. I find it exciting to talk to the different scientists from the institutes, universities and companies and to try to align their directions towards a main thematic thrust. Through the interactions, I learn more about their science and then assess their relevance to the program. My other role is as a scientist in IMRE. Here, I am most at home and very happy with my chemicals and round bottomed flasks. Life as an independent investigator is very interesting. As I continue to push the boundaries which I have set during my PhD, I remind myself that I have to surpass what I have achieved and to be better than my predecessors.
I read that you were the first Singaporean to be inducted as a fellow at Cambridge University’s Fitzwilliam College. Talk a little about this. How did you get to receive this high honor?
At Cambridge, I was inducted to Fitzwilliam College as a fellow, the first Singaporean to be given this honour. For me, a Singaporean, it is a great honour to belong to the same college as Singapore’s first Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew who is an honorary Fellow at the college.
What effect has it had on your career and your work and your recognition within the industry?
Joining Fitzwilliam College has been a very humbling and exciting appointment that has given me the opportunity to be part of the unique pedagogic faculty at Cambridge. Together with my research experiences, this exposure has enabled me to have personal insight into the eclectic and vibrant culture there. Being there allowed me to be exposed to many things, I did the usual journal publications, wrote a book there, organized conferences and had the opportunity to create world beating technology while I was there.
What are the major things you learned from your fellowships? Which one has been the most memorable?
I learnt three things.
First is humility, scientists have to be humble. We are in the business of generating knowledge and this is a never ending cycle. We should be humble to accept that we do not know or understand everything. Once we think that we are a know-it-all, we are finished.
Second is an open nature. Sometimes, we hold on to something, be it a technique, a know-how or a formulation, that seems valuable to us and we might be unwilling to share because we are afraid that others might copy the same idea and propagate the science instead of ourselves. This is not sustainable in today’s world. I believe in an open concept and continued innovation. Ideas can always be generated. Building walls and living in your isolated castles can only retard the progress of science. This leads directly to the point I made earlier about being able to communicate my science to the people.
Third is being able to give credit where credit is due. This comes later in the career where you become the project leader. I have seen the way my supervisor at Cambridge (Prof Oren Scherman) worked and how he accredits the lab members accordingly. And I have contrasted that with my observations at some conferences where scientists present their work without giving due credit to the co-workers. Even in journal publications, I believe that postdocs who are trying to build their own careers should ‘own’ the work together with their supervisors. This is a concept which will take time to gain acceptance but is something which I want to put right in my own team. If a student or a postdoc develops a technology in my lab that is world class and decides to develop it further later in his career, I would be more than happy to support that.
I believe the third is the most memorable and noteworthy.
What advice do you have for others applying for fellowships? Why do you believe these to be important?
Have a clear view of what you want and the final goal you have in mind. Be able to communicate your science to the interview panel. Being book smart is no longer sufficient these days; you have to be relevant to the ecosystem you are in.
You’ve published a large number of journal articles. What tips do you have for those who hope to get their research published in journals? What do you wish someone had told you at the start of the process?
I believe that writing style is important. The clarity of the manuscript is important. The reviewer typically looks at the title, followed by the abstract. Reviewers and editors are very busy people and for proper journals, the cover letter is your 15 minutes of exclusive time with the editor. It allows you to put forward your case for publication.
What is one thing you wish you learned earlier in your career? What advice do you have for younger colleagues?
I started my research at a very young age of 17. Throughout, I have been through experiences, both good and bad. For all the papers, none is more important than the grant that financially provides a conducive research environment. I wished that I had a mentor who had guided me in grant writing earlier. Early on, what I knew, I learnt from books, from the internet. I learnt hands-on grant writing very late in my career.
We spoke to Dr. Muhammad Atiqullah, Senior Research Engineer at the Center for Refining and Petrochemicals (CRP), Research Institute, and Professor; and Deputy Director Technical at the Center of Research Excellence in Petroleum Refining and Petrochemicals (CoRE-PRP) at King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. He has over 20 years of experience in teaching and research, and has published many papers in journals such as American Institute of Chemical Engineers Journal, Chemical Engineering Science, Polymer Reviews, Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, Polymer International, ACS Catalysis, to name a few.
In our interview, Dr. Atiqullah tells us some more about his extensive career and research in Polymer Science and Chemical Engineering.
If you have any comments to make about this interview or would like to participate in a future interview, please ‘leave a reply,’ at the bottom of this page.
WriteForWiley: Tell us about your current research interest in polymer science and technology. What is your mission?
Dr. Atiqullah: Current Research Interest – Polyolefin Science and Technology
Mission – Produce cost-effective new polyolefin catalysts, polymerization processes, products, and additives.
You have taken part in many research projects fulfilling several roles such as ‘Principal Investigator’ to ‘Project Manager.’ Which position did you enjoy the most and why?
Principal Investigator and Project Manager in our university are synonyms. For a governmental
grant-funded project, we use here Principal Investigator. On the other hand, for an industry-funded project, we use Project Manager. I enjoy both. The reasons are as follows. Shouldering such a responsibility benefits me in several ways. It inspires me to remain up-to-date and progressive in my research field. It helps me develop qualified research program and team. It offers me an opportunity to accomplish a job up to my best satisfaction through provision of the desired leadership and quality control.
Talk about the patent process. What were some of the struggles? What did you learn from this experience? What advice would you have for others hoping to patent their research?
Our patent process depends on the prevailing situation. Two general situations can be considered. One is the invention originating from a governmental grant-funded project and in-house research. Here, our university Intellectual Asset Office handles this because the university is usually the assignee. The other is the invention originating from an industry-funded project. Here, the client takes the major responsibility. The client alone or the client plus our university can be the assignee, which is decided according to the contract signed by both parties.
The major struggle in patenting lies in doing novel, nonobvious, and useful research, as well as effectively preparing the invention disclosure. Both parts are equally important.
Patenting is overall a rewarding experience. It motivates doing research not done earlier in a way that differs from that of others. However, publications in high-impact journals are also important. Here, the comments of learned and professional reviewers are mostly useful. They strengthen the work and open venues for further research. Publications disseminate knowledge which benefits the scientific community in general.
My humble advice in patenting is the following:
●Self-evaluate your research from the scientific, industry, and market viewpoints;
●Seek the advice of experienced colleagues who have patents;
●Attend workshops on patenting and intellectual property;
●Learn how to properly use laboratory note book in your research, and effectively prepare the patent document;
●Remain up-to-date with the literature;
●Consult your university intellectual asset office and patent attorney.
What was it like working with Prof. Edward B. Nauman?
Prof. Edward B. Nauman, who died in May 2009, was my PhD supervisor at the Department of Chemical Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Troy, New York. I was associated with him from mid-1984 to mid-1988. This association is an indelible, wonderful, and rewarding experience. I learnt, under his guidance, how to add new insight to research.
You have achieved many awards,what are you most proud of and how have these got you recognized in your field of expertise?
The awards I received cheer me because they recognize my contribution. However, I continue to feel humble when I notice that whatever I have not done or could not do far exceeds what I have done so far. Therefore, I do not have anything to be proud of. The awards received reflect my commitment to completing an assignment with quality. This is how they benefit me in my profession.
Why did you initially become interested in holding an editorial board position? What advice do you have for young authors?
I got involved in an editorial board position through invitation, presumably due to my publication profile. It benefits me through review of other’s works, establishment of a professional network, and learning from other’s knowledge and experience.
For young authors, I would like to recommend publishing quality papers in high-impact journals, without making it a goal to achieve editorial board position.
What are some of the struggles of your position as a reviewer? What is the most rewarding part of this position?
The major struggle for me as a reviewer is to control myself from giving negative criticism and resisting others from publishing. The most rewarding part of reviewing is the satisfaction I derive when I see that my recommendations have been duly incorporated by the authors and the work finally got published to benefit the scientific community. That I helped others grow in profession is gratifying.
Your publications have been presented at conferences. How did this occur and help you getting recognized in your field?
Both aspects-presentation of conference papers and achievement of recognition-resulted from useful contribution(s).
You have acted as a supervisor and committee member for postgraduate research students. How do you find this and what advice do you give your students?
Serving postgraduate research as a supervisor and a committee member is a highly rewarding experience in profession. This is mutually beneficial.
I advise the students the following:
●How to work caring for cleanliness and safety first;
●How to open research knots through patience and persuasion;
●How to work as independently as possible;
●How to improve technical writing;
●Why and how to collaborate with others;
●Why and how to maintain a sustaining relation with the supervisor and committee members;
●How to write research papers;
●Why and how to preserve and practice ethical values in profession.
What is next up for you in the future, what are you looking forward to?
To establish a research center devoted to polyolefin technology because polyolefin resins are the major plastics produced and consumed in the world, including Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. It is to be especially noted that the opportunities for new, novel, and challenging research that can benefit our society is immense.
This week, we interviewed David Alan Grier, current president of IEEE, associate professor of International Science and Technology Policy & International Affairs at George Washington University, and author of Crowdsourcing for Dummies. We talk about what crowdsourcing is, the role of technology, and how authors can utilize this strategy in their own work.
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WriteForWiley: Talk about what crowdsourcing is. Where did you come up with the idea for the book?
David A. Grier: Well, first, I should note that Wiley approached me with the idea for the book, not the other way around. In many ways, crowdsourcing chose me. In 2005, I wrote a book called When Computers Were Human,(Princeton 2005) which was supposed to be the pre-history of the computing age. It turned out to be the prehistory of crowdosourcing as well. The CEO of Crowdflower read it and asked me to talk about it at the first CrowdConf. When I got to the conference, I realized that my research for the book had taught me a great deal about crowdsourcing and how it fit into organizations. In one weekend, I had a new career.
What role does technology play in the development of crowdsourcing?
[Technology] makes crowdsourcing techniques affordable. Crowdsourcing has actually existed throughout time but it has been expensive because you have to keep a lot of records.
During the 1930s, for example, a branch of the US Government called the Works Progress Administration (WPA) did crowdsourcing in order to provide jobs for the unemployed. Because they were the national government, they could afford to subsidize the amount of record keeping. However, no private company could afford do to that.
In our age, the fact that computing is very cheap has allowed us to revisit the idea of crowdsourcing.
How does crowdsourcing affect what an author does and how they work?
It gives authors, or anyone actually, access to talent that you might not need. Suppose you are working on a chapter and you need an expert on global trade to explain some specific point. You can crowdsource that issue and get the expertise of the crowd to do it. Or suppose you want to have a mobile app that promotes your writing. Again, you can crowdsource it to get it done.
What tips would you give authors as far as how to use crowd sourcing to their advantage?
Start simply but don’t be shy. It works best when you have big piece of work to do. You can test your ability to crowdsource on a part of the job to make sure that you can do it right.
What is the biggest misconception of crowdsourcing?
That [crowdsourcing] is the same thing as outsourcing and that you do it to save money. It’s actually a way to get the right skills to the right job, to allow you to do things you could not do before.
How would you respond to those who say that crowdsourcing is not for them?
Well, it may not be for them. If it is, I would say “Bless your heart” but that is phrase that says, “You poor dear, you really don’t understand.” Crowdsourcing can bring you new skills and give you new ways of doing things that you could not do before.
What is the number one challenge with the movement towards crowdsourcing?
Checking quality. If you are doing a large job, you have to check the work to make sure that it is done well.
Why did you decide to create a blog corresponding with the book? What have some of the struggles been?
The blog predates the book. After I learned about crowdsourcing, I decided to start a blog to explore my ideas. You can see it at crowdsourcing.djaghe.com. You will see many of the ideas of Crowdsourcing for Dummies in a preliminary form.
What advice do you have for authors who would like to create a blog?
Play your strengths. Do only what you do well.
Where do you see crowdsourcing in 5 to 10 years?
It will be just one of many ways of organizing of organizing work.
What do you think are the 3 more important online tools/online technologies for authors to use and master?
First and foremost, spreadsheets. There are many, many things that you can do quickly and easily with spreadsheets. I think that I frustrated my editor at Dummies but the number of ways that I used spreadsheets.
Second, become a better searcher. We so often just try to find something on Google and quit when we can’t find it. You can find a lot with modern search tools if you try to use them well.
Third, the Mobile Oxford English Dictionary. I love words and want to use them well. I like all the examples you find in the OED. I also like that it is a crowdsourced book before we had crowdsourcing.