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Tariq Abdullah

Tariq Abdullah has 10 articles published.

Survival guide: How to overcome lab politics and not become a lab rat

in Tips & Tricks by

If you find yourself in a laboratory full of people with scientific temperament, it can be exciting, awesome and hilarious. You may experience a real life “big bang theory” episode and witness all characters around you.

However, for the uninitiated, a  large number of labs are a flourishing ground of rivalry and war grounds reiterating the fact on its inhabitant that they live in a maze.

Lab politics can be nasty, and those who don’t want to get involved are almost certainly the easiest target.

Here are a few tips based on my experience in labs on how to survive lab politics and prevent yourself from getting into situations uncalled for.

  1. Communicate 

    Backbiting and misinformation is the nuclear weapon of every mole. They pass on a false information about you leading to complexities. It ranges from simple misinformation about you being absent or drunk during work hours when you are not, to some complicated statements attributed to you.You  can deal with this situation by regular communication. with your peers. Everyone of them. Especially if you sense that your guide is growing wary of you. communicate as clearly as possible and if you sense a misinformation, make it a priority to point it out without targeting the person acting as a mole. This will be such a blow…..oops!

  2. Be Humble
    Back in graduation days, I was made leader for a group project, I worked harder than everybody suddenly to realize that it was only me that was working for the whole duration. So I became proud which reflected in my behavior. Seeing this, two girls approached the guide with some story, which I am still unaware of. The guide, who happens to be a lady,  immediately removed me from the project & my name from manuscript after it completed. The results were published without my name, first author being that girl who was not even fully aware of the topic. Moral? even if you are doing everything, be humble or you risk being a lab rat.
  3. Divert to productivity
    When somebody else is the target, it is relatively easy for you to just ignore what is happening but remaining silent is such situations will lead to exponential increase in it and you never know when the dial points at you.You may try shifting focus to an interesting observation, experiment or paper. This way, you show them that what these guys are talking about is not worth the time.
  4. Don’t be evil If someone is doing something a certain way and you know they are wrong, just point it to them. Don’t go to your guide to complain. If complain too much it is percieved as a negative trait. If you have problems try to resolve it on your own rather than asking someone to do it for you. If you can’t do it yourself, try to get help rather than ordering. Nobody owes you anything, so be humble.
  5. Don’t over-promise

You may become a target without even saying a word! yes! it happens. The world is full of hatred for achievers. So if you have a lot in your kitty, don’t keep flaunting it. don’t promise that you will do this and that. Just keep doing things one by one. So they won’t even notice that you were running your own race and they were not even the participants.

6. Don’t get discouraged
If you are surrounded by ‘lab politicians’ and they criticize your work and working habits, then don’t get discouraged, because they would be trying to distract you from your work. In fact, it is a good sign, great success comes with criticism. Don’t believe what they say because ‘politicians’ never want anyone else’s account to be filled, just say thanks to them with a smile and keep going in your direction.

These are the tips that I  have learnt by working at labs in University of Delhi, Indian Institute of Science Education & Research – Kolkata, Jamia Milllia Islamia & Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Although I have tried to accomodate as much as I could, do you think I have missed something? would like to add something to the story? go ahead and comment below.

BiR: Impact report – July 2016 & More

in Uncategorized by

As we improve the quality of articles and as we are nearing our first collective birthday, Bioinformatics Review has expanded its reach, opening new avenues. The progress is summarised as below:

  • We have partnered with London Business Conference Group to be official media partner for Discovery Informatics and Analytics Summit 2016
  • Our scientific articles are starting to appear in Google Scholar, articles indexed there can be viewed by following this link.
  • Bioinformatics Review was visited over 143,801 times in July 2016.

As for DIAS Summit 2016, we are giving away 15% coupons to our readers. To claim a discount coupon, please visit our Facebook page.

Do share this page with your colleagues and refer them for a coupon.

Deciding the right journal for your paper: 5 things to look for

in Featured by
Five things to look at when choosing the right journal for your paper

Considering the amount of effort and hard work that goes into writing a research paper, it is critical to choose the right journal to reach the right scientific audience. It is particularly important not to literally waste your valuable work by falling prey to predatory journals. So we came up with this short guide that will make it easier for you to decide where to publish without getting into problems or without getting duped.

  1. First things first, OA or Not?

    Some journals are purely Open Access(OA). Every single paper published in such journals are available without any fees or subscription directly via the internet. Open access journals are good to go. But making science available to the public for free comes with a cost – they charge the authors for the publication charges. This makes them out of reach for an independent researcher or authors without much financial backing. To overcome this, some journals are partly open access and allow the authors to choose whether they want their paper to be open access by paid Open Access Charge. So decide carefully whether you want to go open access. If so, you can search for the journal of your interest on DOAJ(Directory of Open Access Journals).

  2. Beware of predatory journal

    Predatory journals are ‘Fake’ journals that are fraudulently set up to earn some easy cash. These journals attract young researchers by offering close to 100% acceptance rate, namesake/no review. Typically you can know whether a journal is predatory or not by looking into this list or this list (Popularly known as Bealle’s List). Although this is not an absolute list but it may come handy when deciding. You can identify a predatory journal by looking at the general signs such as lack of contact/office address on the website(or having just an email address as contact information). Not mentioning phone number of editors, missing details of the editorial board etc.

  3. Does your journal participate in archiving programs?
    What if the website goes down tomorrow? or maybe the journal goes bankrupt? What will happen to the valuable research that was published on it? The good news is that the most journals participate in an archiving program where they deposit data for permanent storage, i.e. even if the journal shuts down, your paper will not cease to exist. This is done by providing each article with a DOI(digital object identifier) number which is unique and points to the same article, forever. Okay, so what if the data center gets nuked? or maybe what if the data center where all the DOI are stored suddenly catch fire? To prevent such scenarios, a large number of copies of the same content are kept at different locations around the world. This is achieved by a journal participating in LOCKSS (Large Number of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) program. Some  journals participate in NCBI PubMed where they deposit published data. So the next time you choose a journal, better make sure it participates in LOCKSS.
  4. Know the scope of the journal you are publishing in

    The basic aim & essence of publishing research are to reach scientific fraternity, telling them about the significant work that you have done and what it could be used for(Although there are people who publish to merely gain credits). So better reach the right audience, by selecting a journal whose readership and editorial board comprises of people in a related field. The aims and scopes of the journal should match with your work. For example, Journal of Theoretical Biology is aimed at theoretical studies and it will not accept your wet lab research work. Furthermore, the areas outlined in the journals homepage are the ones that will be accepted. Articles falling out of scope are usually rejected thus the loss of precious time.

  5. Impact (Not Impact Factor)

    Ask yourself whether the contents of journal are accessible via search. Make sure you are able to search the articles published in your selected journal via Google Scholar, PubMed or PubMed Central. You can also consider Impact Factor (by Thomson Reuters) of a journal while deciding buy try not to overemphasize it. IF is a measure of others work and does not mean it will put any weight to your research. A journal with a good impact factor is likely to be having more readership and thus, citations. You should target for a journal that not only publishes your research but also takes strides in publicizing it. What is the point of publishing in a journal that does not really publishes your research?

Final Words

It is wise to use caution while selecting a journal. It will save you time, money and your efforts that may otherwise go into vain. Emphasizing on these five points may be time taking, but in the end, it pays off to be more cautious.

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