We have all bemoaned the increasing difficulty of keeping up with the growing body of literature. Many of us, me included, have been relying increasingly on following only a subset of journals, but with the growing popularity of the large open-access journals I know I for one am increasingly likely to miss papers. The purpose of this post isn’t to give you the panacea to your problems (sadly I don’t think there is a panacea to this issue, though I have hopes that someone will come up with something viable in the future). The purpose of this post is to let you know about an interesting addition or alternative (for the brave) to the frantic scanning of the table of contents or RSS feeds: Google Scholar.
Almost everyone at this point knows you can go to Google Scholar and search for key words and it’ll produce a list of papers. Did you also know that you can set up a google profile with your published articles and that Google can use that to find articles that might be of interest to you. How does it do that? I’ll have to quote Google’s Blog because it’s a little like voodoo to me (obviously this is Morgan writing this post, not Ethan): “We determine relevance using a statistical model that incorporates what your work is about, the citation graph between articles, the fact that interests can change over time, and the authors you work with and cite. “ When you go to Google Scholar’s homepage (and you’re logged in as you) it’ll notify you if there are new articles on your suggested list. I actually have been pleasantly surprised by the articles it has identified for me, including some book chapters I would never have seen. For example here’s several things that sound really interesting to me, but I would never have seen:
MC Emmerson – Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning: …, 2012 – books.google.com
A Potochnik, B McGill – Philosophy of Science, 2012 – JSTOR
D West, J BRUCE – International Journal of Modern Physics B, 2012 – World Scientific
It doesn’t just search published journal articles. For example there are preprints from arXiv and government reports on my list. I don’t know if this would work as well for the young graduate students/postdocs since it uses the citations in your existing papers and our junior colleagues might have less data for Google to work with. However, once you have a profile, you can also follow other people who have profiles, which means you get an email every time scholarly work gets added to their profile. Are you a huge Simon Levin groupie? You can follow him and every time a paper gets added to his profile, you can get an email alerting you about the new paper. I also use this to follow a bunch of interesting younger people because they often publish less frequently or in journals I don’t happen to follow and this way I don’t miss their stuff when my Google Reader hits 1000+ articles to be perused! You can also sign up for alerts when someone you follow has their work cited. (And you can set up alerts for when your own work gets cited as well).
As I said before, I don’t think Google Scholar is a one-stop literature monitoring stop (yet), but I find it useful for getting me out of my high impact factor monitoring rut. The only thing you need to do is set up your Google Scholar profile and the only reason not to do that is if you’re worried it’ll give Google the edge when it finally becomes self-aware and renames itself Skynet (ha ha ha ha….hmmm).
UPDATE: If you’re looking for publicly available grants go check out our new Open Grants website at https://www.ogrants.org/. It has way more grants and is searchable so that you can quickly find the grants most useful to you.
Recently a bunch of folks in the biological sciences have started sharing their grant proposals openly. Their reasons for doing so are varied (see the links next to their names below), but part of the common justification is a general interest in opening up science so that all stages of the process can benefit from better interaction and communication, and part of it is to provide examples for younger scientists writing grants. To help accomplish both of these goals I’m going to do what Titus Brown suggested and compile a list of all of the available open proposals in the biological sciences (if you’re looking for math proposals they have a list too). Given the limited number of proposals available at the moment I’m just going to maintain the list here, sorted alphabetically by PI. Another way to find proposals is to look at the ‘grant’ and ‘proposal’ tags on figshare, where several of us have been posting proposals. If you know of more proposals, decide to post some yourself, or have corrections to proposal in the list, just let me know in the comments and I’ll keep the list updated. Enjoy!
- 2014 / Postdoctoral fellowships (several) – Making sense of cancer data: Implications for personalized therapy and cancer biology
- 2008 / Tools and Resources Development Fund Application – pubmed2ensembl: a resource for linking biological literature to genome sequences (BBSRC) *funded
- 2008 / New Investigator Grant Application (NERC) *funded
- 2008 / EMBO Young Investigator Programme Application (EMBO)
- 2007 / Responsive Mode Grant Application (BBSRC)
- 2014 / Children’s Foundation Research Institute – Prediction of Weight Gain in Inbred Mouse Strains *funded
- 2012 / NSF Office of Cyberinfrastructure proposal, Materials and Workshops for Cyberinfrastructure Education in Biology supplement to BEACON. *funded
- 2012 / NSF CAREER proposal, Assembling Extremely Large Metagenomes
- 2012 / NSF BIGDATA proposal, Low-memory Streaming Prefilters for Biological Sequencing Data
- 2012 / Moore Foundation proposal on marine metagenomics
- 2011 / NSF CAREER proposal: “Scaling and Improving de Bruijn graph assembly”
- 2010 / Next-gen course (NIH R25) *funded
- 2009 / Web tools for next-gen sequence analysis (USDA) *funded
- 2007 / Cartwheel
- Kathryn Fuller Doctoral Fellowship application (WWF)
- 2010 / Prairie Biotic Research proposal *funded
- 2009 / Ecological and evolutionary impacts of pollinator sharing between cultivated and wild sunflowers (Norman Hackerman Advanced Research Program)
- 2009 / Lewis and Clark grant proposal (American Philosophical Society)
- Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant proposal (NSF)
- Forest Shreeve Award proposal
- Ariel Appleton Research Fellowship Proposal – Ecological Networks
- How do crop-mediated changes in mutualist and antagonist communities affect selection on floral and defense traits?
- 2015 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship *funded
- 2011 / “Automated and community synthesis of the tree of life” (NSF AVATOL) *funded
- 2010 / “Towards a comprehensive, community-owned and sustainable repository of reusable phylogenetic knowledge” w/Hilmar Lapp (NSF ABI)
- 2009 / “A network for enabling community-driven standards to link evolution into the global web of data (EvoIO)” w/Hilmar Lapp (NSF INTEROP)
- 2009 / NSF Plant Genome *funded
- 2013 / “Reversing long-term experiments to understand regime shifts” (NSF DEB preproposal) *funded
- 2012 / Understanding range shift model error: The inﬂuence of generation time and rate of adaptation on species distribution model predictions. w/Scott Chamberlain (NCEAS proposal).
- 2008 / Evolution under simulated climate change in response to trophic shifts. (NSF DDIG) *funded
- 2010 / Protein Design Using Quantum Mechanics (Danish Center for Supercomputing) *funded
- 2008 / Computational Design of Stable Enzymes (Danish National Science Foundation, DSF-NABIIT) *funded
- 2006 / Modeling pH-Dependence in Drug Design (EU Marie Curie Program) *funded
- 2006 / Computational Prediction and Validation of Protein Structure and Function in Protein Engineering and Rational Drug Design (Danish National Science Foundation, FNU) *funded
- 2006 / Prediction and Interpretation of Protein pKa’s Using QM/MM (US National Science Foundation – MCB; rescinded when I moved to Denmark) *funded
- 2002 / The Prediction and Interpretation of Protein pKa’s Using QM/MM (US National Science Foundation – MCB) *funded
- 2010 / Ontology-enabled reasoning across phenotypes from evolution and model organisms w/Todd Vision (NSF) *funded
- 2013 / NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology
- 2010 / Leakey Foundation General Research Grant
- 2009 / US Student Fulbright
- 2009 / NSF Dissertation Improvement Grant
Heather Piwowar (@researchremix) & Jason Priem (@jasonpriem) (read their thoughts on sharing proposals)
- Uptake proposal (CIHR)
- 2007 / Sxy proposal (CIHR) *funded
- 2001 / CIHR proposal *funded
- 1999 / NIH proposal *funded
- 2009 / USDA/NIFA: “Scanning for yield: high-throughput discovery of candidate agronomic loci for marker-assisted selection in maize” *funded
- 2015 / NSF Plant Genome Research Program: “The genetics of highland adaptation in maize” *funded
- Netherlands organization for scientific research postdoc fellowship
- Netherlands organization for scientific research PhD fellowship
- Netherlands organization for scientific research PhD fellowship
- Netherlands organization for scientific research PhD fellowship *funded
- Netherlands organization for scientific research postdoc fellowship *funded
- 2010 / NSF Graduate Research Fellowship *funded
- 2016 / NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship *funded (associated reviews)
- 2014 / Gene Wiki: Expanding the ecosystem of community intelligence resources (R01 GM089820)
- 2017 / Gene Wiki renewal
- 2014 / Dynamic macroecology: Globally assessing body size diversity response to environmental change (NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship) *funded
- 2012 / Data Management and Computational Skills Training for LTER Scientists w/Ethan White & Greg Wilson (LTER Training Working Groups Proposal)
- 2011 / Fuelwood, Savannas, and Climate Change: Integrating Modeling, Field Experimentation, and Optical and Radar Remote Sensing (NASA Predoctoral Graduate Fellowship) *funded
- 2014 / NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship – Diversity-stability relationships and coexistence: new theory and empirical tests *funded
- 2012 / Genomic tools to study coral reef resilience (University of Melbourne)
- 2012 / Plastid endosymbiosis: a detailed study of genome dynamics (Australian Research Council)
- 2012 / Evolutionary dynamics of the algae: Understanding adaptive potential under environmental change (Australian Research Council) *funded
- Probing key innovations with next generation sequencing
- 2009 / Macroevolutionary dynamics of marine algae
- 2012 / Sustainable and Scalable Infrastructure for the Publication of Data (NSF) *funded
- 2008 / A Digital Repository for Preservation and Sharing of Data Underlying Published Works in Evolutionary Biology (NSF) *funded
- 2013 / ERC AdG IMMUNENESIS *funded
- 2014 / Moore Investigator in Data Driven Discovery proposal *funded
- 2010 / CAREER: Advancing Macroecology Using Informatics and Entropy Maximization (NSF CAREER Award) *funded
- 2005 / Broad-scale patterns of the distribution of body sizes of individuals in ecological communities (NSF Postdoc Fellowship) *funded
- 2008 / Understanding multimodality in animal size distributions (NSF Research Starter Grant) *funded
As I announced on Twitter about a week ago, I am now making all of my grant proposals open access. To start with I’m doing this for all of my sole-PI proposals, because I don’t have to convince my collaborators to participate in this rather aggressively open style of science. At the moment this includes three funded proposals: my NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship proposal, an associated Research Starter Grant proposal, and my NSF CAREER award.
So, why am I doing this, especially with the CAREER award that still has several years left on it and some cool ideas that we haven’t worked on yet. I’m doing it for a few reasons. First, I think that openness is inherently good for science. While there may be benefits for me in keeping my ideas secret until they are published, this certainly doesn’t benefit science more broadly. By sharing our proposals the cutting edge of scientific thought will no longer be hidden from view for several years and that will allow us to make more rapid progress. Second, I think having examples of grants available to young scientists has the potential to help them learn how to write good proposals (and other folks seem to agree) and therefore decrease the importance of grantsmanship relative to cool science in the awarding of limited funds. Finally, I just think that folks deserve to be able to see what their tax dollars are paying for, and to be able to compare what I’ve said I will do to what I actually accomplish. I’ve been influenced in my thinking about this by posts by several of the big open science folks out there including Titus Brown, Heather Piwowar, and Rod Page.
To make my grants open access I chose to use figshare for several reasons.
- Credit. Figshare assigns a DOI to all of its public objects, which means that you can easily cite them in scientific papers. If someone gets an idea out of one of my proposals and works on it before I do, this let’s them acknowledge that fact. Stats are also available for views, shares, and (soon) citations, making it easier to track the impact of your larger corpus of research outputs.
- Open Access. All public written material is licensed under CC-BY (basically just cite the original work) allowing folks to do cool things without asking.
- Permanence. I can’t just change my mind and delete the proposal and I also expect that figshare will be around for a long time.
- Version control. For proposals that are not funded, revised, not funded, revised, etc. figshare allows me to post multiple versions of the proposal while maintaining the previous versions for posterity/citation.
During this process I’ve come across several other folks doing similar things and even inspired others to post their proposals, so I’m in the process of compiling a list of all of the publicly available biology proposals that I’m aware of and will post a list with links soon. It’s my hope that this will serve as a valuable resource for young and old researchers alike and will help to lead the way forward to a more open scientific dialogue.