‘Effective Scientist’ – a must-have book for scientists

 Plantae interview with Prof Corey Bradshaw about his new book

Professor Corey J.A. Bradshaw is a Matthew Flinders Fellow in Global Ecology at Flinders University, Australia. His research focuses on global-change ecology and has had over 10,000 citations since 2013.
His blog is www.conservationbytes.com, where he writes about biodiversity conservation and has almost reached 2 million visitors.

We had a chat about his new book, ‘Effective Scientist: A handy guide to a successful academic career’ published this April, which was inspired by the feedback on his career advice blogs.

Listen to our interview here:

Download audio interview

It is in no way another ‘career guide textbook’ – but an honest, transparent account of an outstanding professor in academia. Filled with unique advice which himself would have appreciated as an early career scientist. Not to mention his hilarious style which will make the reader laugh and realise about ineffective habits and limitations.

It’s a quick-and-dirty guide about what academics need to know, to maximise the chance of their scientific work being effective,” says Professor Bradshaw.

Effective Scientist book illustrated by René Campbell
Effective Scientist book illustrated by René Campbell

The book consists of five parts 1) Writing and Publishing, 2) The Numbers, 3) Good Lab Practice, 4) The Fun Stuff and 5) What It All Means.  The book features eye-catching illustrations by a marine ecologist and self-taught artist, René Campbell, based in Adelaide.

Starting with ‘Writing and Publishing’, Prof Bradshaw introduces a 12-step writing program, how to avoid the most common, yet hard-to-spot mistakes that editors always find in articles.

He discusses the ‘Sticky Subject of Authorship’ and then goes into the publishing process, facing rejections and how to maintain good relationships with reviewers and editors.

In the interview, he highlights the importance of also becoming a reviewer to give back to the scientific community.

In part two and three, it is all about efficient management of data, money, proposals and people. Using ‘humility tea’, respecting the finance staff and organising great lab meetings are all tricks that make an enormous difference at work.

A snippet of the grant proposal writing a chapter - illustrated by René Campbell
A snippet of the grant proposal writing a chapter – illustrated by René Campbell

Prof Bradshaw also ventures into the more sensitive topics about the diversity and the gender balance in the lab. He writes about the first time he investigated the number of female co-authors in his publications and realised the skewed proportion. In the interview, he talks about positive discrimination via advertising female-only postdoc positions in his lab.

After the sensitive topics, a more light-hearted part of the book talks about the ‘Fun Stuff’. He shares some insights and tricks for excellent presentations, conferences and the importance of science communication to the public.

We talked about the fact that governmental bodies fund most science and therefore, the knowledge belongs to the public so scientists somewhat must write and speak to a broader audience about their findings. The usefulness of social media and blogging is unquestionable, but how to use them professionally, also need a few tricks to make the most of them!

Moreover, when scientists talk about their research to the public, the ultimate question arises: ‘What does it all mean?’. Hence the last part of the book focuses on making sure that the scientific findings reach policymakers and ‘the right people’ to make a difference. Reaching politicians might be more relevant later on in a scientific career, but direct involvement with policymakers at the very start of a project can be a good start.

Throughout the book, Prof Bradshaw writes transparently about his shortcomings – which is not always ‘natural’ for academic high-flyers – and the recommendations are made in a way that from an undergraduate student to a postdoc can use them for his/her development.

A snippet of final chapter - picture by Australia's Science Channel
A snippet of final chapter – picture by Australia’s Science Channel

Books are now available online in paperback, hardcover copies or kinder editions:

Available through Amazon US ($24.99): https://www.amazon.com/Effecti…

Preview of the book via Google Books: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=xY5LDwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

Feel free to tweet about this book using the following handles: @conservbytes@ReneCampbellArt  @plantae_org #theeffectivescientist

Download audio interview or share via Youtube


Interviewer: Juniper Kiss, ASPB Social Media and Digital Communications Intern, @GOESbyJuniper

Please note that this is an independent book recommendation

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