While the traditional ‘Hippocratic Oath’ 1 pertains to medical profession, seldom do we talk about definite ethical aspects on publishing research by scientists2. In the recent-past, the ethics statements, conflict of interests, mutual agreement of authors on the manuscripts has received a fair amount of inspection. Relevant to this point, various journals have been serving the community to meet this scrutiny3. As an early career scientist, I am as well carried away by the spurge of publications, at the same time as I am reminded about the way to foster collaborations, relationships and meeting the expectations of my mentors and coworkers. I have a fair conception that the researchers should be guided by reasons not emotions amid ‘publish or perish’ adage. On the other hand, multitasking research and publishing has become a noticeable goal, but combining these tasks over time and not at the same time has become the need of the hour. In today’s reserved funding situation, many early career researchers face a daunting task to establish and develop their research programs. To safe-guard their tenurity, they often try to start their own labs crowd sourcing or obtaining funds from their previous associations/host institutions and publish it. But to what extent are we trying to preserve the fairness or integrity of science? If either of the above cases fails, the researcher is captured with loss of expectations and might bring down transformative research with his/her creativity dropping by the wayside. Through this article, I would like to draw your attention on the following five points that we researchers often give a miss and so if taken a pledge in the form of ‘Hippocratic Oath for scientists’, would ensure keeping the research vitality in the best interests of science to sustain excellence:

  1. Advocate for science, not yourself

Personal fulfillment in one’s own talents is dangerous. Fostering competitiveness and altruism for science as opposed to advocating for ourselves should be the key to success4.

2. Focus on the merit of other publications, not self-approbating your publications

Many researchers self-cite their publications which is a bad practice. In this process, they miss citing the articles that are of high standards and so the research index and impact of the authors would be unfairly increased. The redundant articles in author index websites like Research Gate (researchgate.net) and Academia.edu are deceitfully uploaded which should be avoided.

  1. Be creative and define success by practising introspection

Introspection should be considered as a feature for being conscious on what and how we publish our research. Has open access paved way for leewaying a successful peer-review? Can we overcome this sham?

  1. Reconsidering review of your research

Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) ensures there is an eyeglass retrospection of publications: http://publicationethics.org/resources/guidelines. It is time we thanked our anonymous reviewers. Many journals have opened this acknowledgment section.

5. Persistence is the key: Pass on the baton to the next generation

One of the most successful things, we as scientists could do is continuity which would allow us to approve consistency and credibility as best practices in research. One should not forget in passing the trend to the next generation.

References

  1. Levine M (1948). The Hippocratic Oath in modern dress. Cinci J Med. 29(5):257-62.
  2. Deren MM (2014). The Hippocratic Oath: it’s not what it used to be. Conn Med. 78(9):563-5.
  3. Smith KA (2013). Scientific scholarship and impact factors. Front. Immunol. 4:79.
  4. Nature Immunology Editorial (2009): Borrowing words, or claiming them? Nature Immunology 10, 22. http://www.nature.com/ni/journal/v10/n3/full/ni0309-225.html


When you pursue a PhD, you would come across several inhibitions, and many a time you need to counter them with will and passion.

The first, please don’t you worry what of your PhD but consider thinking how this career will reach you address the goals. Please keep away some inhibitions like, eligibility criterion and thoughts like whether or not this degree in certain specific subject would have been yielded more results.  Just keep positives and ensure your goals are reached.

Second, you are not a master.  Please keep down-to-earthness always. Ask for inquisitiveness, yearn for understanding, be passionate about what you do.

Third, never look down your peers.  The other way round is respect your peers, criticise constructively and importantly take home and give back to the world what you have learnt!

 

Best

Prash



The last six weeks, I have been limping like a small frog.  The reason:  I skid and fell down and had a major ligament (type 3) sprain in my right leg.  While I was there in the hospital for couple of days, I put positive frame of mind in attending my lab/office after five days, of course, then still limping. I have indeed become paraplegic!

Then came the thoughts on how a couple of my mentors and good well-wishers who are a reputed  scientists in the field could overcome these barriers in life. My sincere appreciations for their cause of ‘doing science and research’ that they have been making for years. Truly applaudable!  While sparing thoughts for  such scientists, I asked if it were a hindrance for doing science.  It was, to me at least certainly both physically and emotional pain that I have gone through (and still going through) for weeks now. I don’t think I have overcome this but I can sense what it takes for such people to overcome:

  1. Science is the only word they are passionate about.  They keep scientific and societal challenges as one.
  2. They consider themselves like “regulons” and so they are not worried about what suppresses or activates them.
  3. They are willing to help, spend time and most importantly do NOT worry about their disability.
  4. To them, there is only one  entity:  The goal of serving the cause:  Be it science or society!

Let us proudly present the people whom we know are doing science, research and help us get inspired and motivated. Let us be selfish for the reason being we are all humans.

I have two eminent scientists to mention:

Dr. G Bhanuprakash Reddy, Senior Scientist at National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad who is also my mentor

Dr. Sivaramaiah Nallapeta, a good friend of mine and who works as a Senior Scientist for Nanotemper technologies, Bangalore.

They are well known. A simple google search takes them everywhere.

My sincere salutations Bhanu and Sheev!

Prash for Bioclues.org

 



I love sharing news with my colleagues, friends and well-wishers. I have been an e mail maniac. After all, I am a computational biologist and I work with computers. Shouldn’t I take some time to relax? Yes I am a human: So what could I do to take some time off? I take small intermittent breaks and post the scientific news in the blogs, groups that I am associated with. I would do it often rather keeping it at bay. I get motivated with small-time e mails that others do send, ensure I read them ,get back to work while I share them again with friends whom I feel that it ought to be shared. Now comes the problem. People call(ed) me a s-p-a-m-m-e-r😦 and wondering how I react(ed)?

1. The first thing, of course a jovial thing to start with, I would say is that I am not a S-C-A-M-M-E-R:-). See it isn’t ‘C.’
2. I begin using a virtual alias and interestingly when the mails come from an alias (anonymous), there aren’t any complaints! They happily receive it; enjoy reading the mails and the science behind it. Hmmm… Isn’t it something to do with human psyche?
3. I often don’t get replies or appreciation (No self-propaganda or self-appraisal please!). Would I be miffed? After all, it is I who did spend some minutes in sending an e mail to many. Initially I did feel bad, but now I have become a commoner. The least I could feel good is that I am not called as a s-p-a-m-m-e-r :-)

Take home message: Be what you are 



I am sure everyone would have had a career break during one’s lifetime. So do I. I have always wondered how best we could cope up so as to bridge ourselves during the time where you try to build your career. Here are my takes:

1. Keep your morale high. That always helps.

2. You would for sure get different thoughts. Invite them, discuss with your peers and friends.

3. Spend as much time you could with your friends.

4. Start writing a review on your subject that has caught an interest. This would be my best take as it would help you move forward. What more! a publication is no different in taking you setup some goals:-)

5. Subscribe to different journals, have a bird’s eye view of different new words you come across.

6. Setup some coffee meetings with your peers, ex colleagues or perhaps future lab mates/colleagues?

7. Update your Linkedin and Research Gate profiles whilst taking premium account that is offered to you:-)

8. Participate, discuss in forums and prepare for some questions that you might expect in the future.

9. Save some energies even as you start reading journals, newspapers, watch movies etc.

10. And …why not blog so as to help people like me read such stories :-))

All the best
Prash



I have been taken aback when I was told by one of my mentees that a CSIR qualified student need to write an examination again in order to qualify for registering PhD in participating organizations. I fail to understand what and how such competency is assessed.  Why double participation and assessment?  I think it is waste of man hours and unnecessarily creating extraneous competence in assessing genuine candidates.  Furthermore, I feel lots of time can be saved if this can be avoided.  Let the student be asked to write a project proposal and present on the topic instead.   Shouldn’t this work better?

 

Is someone listening please?



I hail from a small order named Passeriformes, with genus Passer domesticus. I was well-known and commonly regarded as House Sparrow and I’m not sure how many of my genre do put up their living in your households. At least in a city life, my kith and kin alike are not found. Kindly spare a thought on our bird family. We are in the greatest threat of being endangered. And sorry, I mean to say that You are the culprit. May I ask you to put the following iota of thoughts as a new year resolution, should you spare time?

*Please avoid mobiles that cause radiation. Kindly ensure to ask the shopkeeper the radiation index of the instrument you purchase.

*These days, there are walkies which work on landlines rather mobile signals. Would you mind purchasing the one? They are less costly and would prove to be a classy gadget than the pocket-size instrument.

*I recently heard that Skype is doing an amazing thing wherein you could use it for Androids and other lappy/notebooks. Could you please use it for your long talks?

*Could someone study the reason of genetic differentiability in our sedentary birds?

*Use hand-held walky instruments which can be connected to mobiles whence at home.

Kindly spare a thought on the aforementioned as I fly back to put a word to my friends, saying: “yes, there are still good listeners in India.”

Yours, once passionate bird,

Passer domesticus




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