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Ten simple rules for…

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Professor Philip E. Bourne has been writing a series of “Ten Rules” editorials in PLoS Computational Biology for almost three years now. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the mentioned open-access scientific journal, who came up with this idea after giving a presentation on getting published to a group of students. Since then a total of 9 such articles were published, written by him alone or with a little help from his fellow colleagues. These articles are basically lists of ten simple rules, with some additional explanation, on various subjects mostly aimed at young researchers. Rules which professor Bourne and his coauthors propose are a product of rich personal experience and are written in a honest, concise and simple manner.

I am listing all the rules here, sorted by the publishing date. However, I strongly recommend that you visit and read the whole articles, as the short commentaries accompanying each rule are most valuable.

Ten Simple Rules for Getting Published

  1. Read many papers, and learn from both the good and the bad work of others
  2. The more objective you can be about your work, the better that work will ultimately become
  3. Good editors and reviewers will be objective about your work
  4. If you do not write well in the English language, take lessons early; it will be invaluable later
  5. Learn to live with rejection
  6. The ingredients of good science are obvious—novelty of research topic, comprehensive coverage of the relevant literature, good data, good analysis including strong statistical support, and a thought-provoking discussion. The ingredients of good science reporting are obvious—good organization, the appropriate use of tables and figures, the right length, writing to the intended audience—do not ignore the obvious
  7. Start writing the paper the day you have the idea of what questions to pursue
  8. Become a reviewer early in your career
  9. Decide early on where to try to publish your paper
  10. Quality is everything

 
Ten Simple Rules for Getting Grants

  1. Be Novel, but Not Too Novel
  2. Include the Appropriate Background and Preliminary Data as Required
  3. Find the Appropriate Funding Mechanism, Read the Associated Request for Applications Very Carefully, and Respond Specifically to the Request
  4. Follow the Guidelines for Submission Very Carefully and Comply
  5. Obey the Three Cs—Concise, Clear, and Complete
  6. Remember, Reviewers Are People, Too
  7. Timing and Internal Review Are Important
  8. Know Your Grant Administrator at the Institution Funding Your Grant
  9. Become a Grant Reviewer Early in Your Career
  10. Accept Rejection and Deal with It Appropriately

 
Ten Simple Rules for Reviewers

  1. Do Not Accept a Review Assignment unless You Can Accomplish the Task in the Requested Timeframe—Learn to Say No
  2. Avoid Conflict of Interest
  3. Write Reviews You Would Be Satisfied with as an Author
  4. As a Reviewer You Are Part of the Authoring Process
  5. Be Sure to Enjoy and to Learn from the Reviewing Process
  6. Develop a Method of Reviewing That Works for You
  7. Spend Your Precious Time on Papers Worthy of a Good Review
  8. Maintain the Anonymity of the Review Process if the Journal Requires It
  9. Write Clearly, Succinctly, and in a Neutral Tone, but Be Decisive
  10. Make Use of the “Comments to Editors”

Ten Simple Rules for Selecting a Postdoctoral Position

  1. Select a Position that Excites You
  2. Select a Laboratory That Suits Your Work and Lifestyle
  3. Select a Laboratory and a Project That Develop New Skills
  4. Have a Backup Plan
  5. Choose a Project with Tangible Outcomes That Match Your Career Goals
  6. Negotiate First Authorship before You Start
  7. The Time in a Postdoctoral Fellowship Should Be Finite
  8. Evaluate the Growth Path
  9. Strive to Get Your Own Money
  10. Learn to Recognize Opportunities

Ten Simple Rules for a Successful Collaboration

  1. Do Not Be Lured into Just Any Collaboration
  2. Decide at the Beginning Who Will Work on What Tasks
  3. Stick to Your Tasks
  4. Be Open and Honest
  5. Feel Respect, Get Respect
  6. Communicate, Communicate, and Communicate
  7. Protect Yourself from a Collaboration That Turns Sour
  8. Always Acknowledge and Cite Your Collaborators
  9. Seek Advice from Experienced Scientists
  10. If Your Collaboration Satisfies You, Keep It Going

Ten Simple Rules of Making Good Oral Presentations

  1. Talk to the Audience
  2. Less is More
  3. Only Talk When You Have Something to Say
  4. Make the Take-Home Message Persistent
  5. Be Logical
  6. Treat the Floor as a Stage
  7. Practice and Time Your Presentation
  8. Use Visuals Sparingly but Effectively
  9. Review Audio and/or Video of Your Presentations
  10. Provide Appropriate Acknowledgments

Ten Simple Rules for a Good Poster Presentation 

  1. Define the Purpose
  2. Sell Your Work in Ten Seconds
  3. The Title Is Important
  4. Poster Acceptance Means Nothing
  5. Many of the Rules for Writing a Good Paper Apply to Posters, Too
  6. Good Posters Have Unique Features Not Pertinent to Papers
  7. Layout and Format Are Critical
  8. Content Is Important, but Keep It Concise
  9. Posters Should Have Your Personality
  10. The Impact of a Poster Happens Both During and After the Poster Session

Ten Simple Rules for Doing Your Best Research, According to Hamming

  1. Drop Modesty
  2. Prepare Your Mind
  3. Age Is Important
  4. Brains Are Not Enough, You Also Need Courage
  5. Make the Best of Your Working Conditions
  6. Work Hard and Effectively
  7. Believe and Doubt Your Hypothesis at the Same Time
  8. Work on the Important Problems in Your Field
  9. Be Committed to Your Problem
  10. Leave Your Door Open

Ten Simple Rules for Graduate Students

  1. Let Passion Be the Driving Force of Your Success
  2. Select the Right Mentor, Project, and Laboratory
  3. Independent Thinking Is a Mark of a True Scientist
  4. Remember, Life Is All about Balance
  5. Think Ahead and Develop Your Professional Career Early
  6. Remain Focused on Your Hypothesis While Avoiding Being Held Back
  7. Address Problems Earlier Rather Than Later
  8. Share Your Scientific Success with the World
  9. Build Confidence and a Thick Skin
  10. Help Select and Subsequently Engage Your Thesis Committee
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