On measuring or improving workflow, organization, learning, memory, etc. in an academic context. General productivity questions not specific to academia should be asked on http://productivity.stackexchange.com/ instead.

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1
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0answers
88 views

How do academics come up with new ideas all the time? [duplicate]

I don't quite understand. How can some academics after hundreds of years of research on, say, Plato, still come up with novel, publishable interpretations, ideas, readings, solutions to these texts? ...
37
votes
10answers
10k views

Why don't colleges make terms shorter and with fewer classes?

Instead of the typical 4 classes every 10 weeks, why not 2 classes every 5 weeks? Condensed courses usually means: Taking less courses at the same time which makes compartmentalization for ...
0
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1answer
109 views

open source programs for plotting? [closed]

Short version: Any suggestion on an Open-Source Software alternative to Grapher/Surfer/Origin/SigmaPlot? Details: This is not a shopping question. As a scientist I explore and plot data all the time. ...
1
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0answers
35 views

How to effectively balance research, teaching and project work? [duplicate]

Starting from the upcoming semester besides my research for the PhD, I will also have to work on a loosely related project (w.r.t. my research), and do teaching as well. I am overwhelmed from this. ...
0
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2answers
115 views

How do you organize your academic papers? [duplicate]

I have nearly 1750 papers in PDF on one folder, all pertaining to medical research. What's the best way to organize them? I have thought about creating one folder for every subject/sub-category, but I ...
0
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0answers
18 views

Best practices when reading a new paper (Humanities) [duplicate]

Is there any good advice on how to read a paper, or let's say, about the best practices when reading a paper for the first time? Do you guys, for example, have a system for notes? Do you find it more ...
21
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4answers
2k views

Is it ok to get independent feedback before handing in thesis?

I have a thesis to hand in at my university. Am I allowed to ask a grad student who is an expert in my field to have a look at my thesis and give me feedback (more than merely grammatical / ...
4
votes
3answers
142 views

How to most effectively get good at a new topic?

I have recently had a change of interest and would like to focus on a different area within my field. That being said, I want to stress that the area happens to differ quite a bit from my current area....
-4
votes
2answers
176 views

Measuring Progess in Academia Solely By Using a Person's Publications?

Over the last couple of days, I happened to exchange comments with users who disagreed with me about the fact that progress in academia is based on publications. Am I missing something here? What I ...
0
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3answers
294 views

How can a PhD student seeking to transfer to another PhD program prove his/her research skills when his job is mostly teaching?

Suppose that our friends Alice and Bob are both academicians (academician: a member of the faculty of a college or university) in universities A and B respectively. University A requires a lot of ...
5
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2answers
236 views

Research Plan that works?

I could not find any guidelines on how to plan¹ and conduct a research project. Because it seems like when I have just a goal, i.e., a specific hypothesis to check, and passion in the beginning, the ...
-4
votes
2answers
52 views

What should I do to protect my inventions + ideas? [closed]

This question seems general and somewhat obvious. My specific question however, that I,m thinking of participating on a massive contest sponsored by one of the best oil and gas company on the world. ...
4
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3answers
177 views

End-of-semester course activites

I am nearing the conclusion of my first course as an adjunct instructor and I'm searching for some useful and engaging activities for reviewing the semester's content as a group. This is a required ...
8
votes
1answer
515 views

Temporary position in Academic Institution vs. Postdoc research after PhD [closed]

After completion of my PhD, there are two options open for me: one is temporary positions in academic institutions and other is Postdoc. I see that most of the regular faculty jobs require a minimum ...
4
votes
2answers
302 views

How essential is curiosity? [closed]

This is going to be a rather soft question, I am not completely sure it is appropriate for this place. But still. In your opinion, how important is the presence of strong curiosity (passion for ...
10
votes
1answer
144 views

Qualitative approach to evaluation of academic production

In Brazil, a government agency, named CAPES, takes care of evaluation of the postgraduate courses. Among other things, they receive criticism, because such evaluation is based on bibliometric approach....
0
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4answers
368 views

What are some tools to effectively synthesize information from research?

Does anyone know any good, effective tool that people use to synthesize large amount of information from research? By "tool" I am referring to softwares or practices that effective researchers use to:...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

How to effectively navigate a large library?

I am looking to decrease the time I waste looking for a book in the library. I generally know exactly what book I want, but not where in the library it is located. (Finding out what book you want, is ...
14
votes
2answers
310 views

How economically efficient is the grant system?

I wonder if someone (or eventually some country, organisation, etc ...) already evaluated the costs of the system of grants. It costs at least the salary of the researcher who writes and gets the ...
70
votes
6answers
7k views

What do you do to keep your mind sharp?

When I started at university I could perform with a fresh mind all of the time -- doing a problem set all weekend without reduced performance. A couple of other students and myself seemed to be ...
58
votes
13answers
13k views

How to deal with people judging your 'overproductiveness'?

I am in 4th year postdoc working in applied math areas in which 1-3 papers a year is considered a good publication rate. I have been publishing 10-13 papers a year for the last 4-5 years (have never ...
21
votes
4answers
2k views

How to read a research paper with too many references to previous works?

I am a CS undergrad student who is just getting started with research and reading papers. My mentor has asked me to read a few papers. While reading I noticed that every few lines there are references ...
1
vote
1answer
196 views

Organizing technical documents and reports

At my university, I work on an aircraft design project. I’m building a fairly hefty collection of technical and design reports I’ve written as well as documents about things I’m trying to research to ...
8
votes
1answer
522 views

I am so tired and un-focused in my postdoc. Is quitting my position a good choice?

About 6 months ago I finished my PhD and started a new postdoc at a prestigious lab at a prestigious university. I was very burned out as I completed my PhD, but I hoped starting fresh I'd find ...
3
votes
3answers
301 views

How do you organize your research?

I am doing a lot of reading and experimenting to dig deeper into my research topic. In our institute we have weekly meetings, were we present our latest research. Often my professor asks me questions ...
75
votes
13answers
14k views

How to avoid sleeping in lectures?

It's not that I cannot hold my attention - I find it a lot easier to put in sustained effort during research - literature surveys, practising derivations, and coding. I also find myself actively ...
2
votes
1answer
149 views

How would we identify a better measure of academic productivity?

Measures of academic productivity, like the h-index, m-index, i10-index are useful but imperfect. Their imperfections are more than an abstract concern. Hiring committees consider them in determining ...
4
votes
1answer
276 views

Is it normal for a graduate student's fate to depend on the success of a breakthrough idea?

I am officially a graduate student in a different department than where I have been working for the last ~6 months. (..(un?)fortunately this department where I were I now work is ranked almost the ...
10
votes
2answers
674 views

How not to be like a rolling stone in research?

As a young researcher, it is really interesting for me to gain knowledge in different topics related to my major. I attend many conferences and seminars in my field, I read papers and books which I ...
44
votes
11answers
12k views

What can a student who is already studying hard do to improve low grades?

I have been studying hard for the past year and a half (it's my second year of Computer Science) while not getting remotely close to the desired results. I passed my first year with a 7.2 GPA (5 (...
83
votes
5answers
7k views

What productive academic work can you do with minimal attention in a small (<30 minutes) block of time?

Ok, here is a major issue I have with much of my work (which is experimental/computational research): I am a graduate student, and spend much of my day doing 5, 10, 20 and 30 minute experiments (both ...
1
vote
1answer
845 views

How often should I review my notes?

Many years ago I was studying with the Open University. During that time I bought a revision aid. The basic principle was that you wrote out all you knew about a topic immediately after learning it. ...
2
votes
1answer
505 views

What are some techniques to get some work done during the Christmas period?

Given the fact that at the moment I am working with no strict time frames and I can manage my time and other activities on my own, I wonder is it possible for someone to maintain the concentration ...
22
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2answers
1k views

How to quantify the loss in productivity due to time spent on writing proposals

During my PhD it bothered me how much time my supervisor had to spend on writing proposals to get funding to do science, which in practice pretty much meant that he had no time to do science because ...
15
votes
1answer
293 views

Techniques to “digest” large amounts of textual data (academic papers, books, etc)

I am a faculty member in a research-oriented university. I teach and I do research in social sciences. Similarly to most academics, a big part of my job involves reading. A portion of my "reading ...
23
votes
7answers
3k views

How to prevent physical/psychological health side effects of workaholism in academia and research?

As a research student, I spend most of my time working on my research career, even when I am at home, I am awake until 3 or 4 A.M just doing my research-chores. As a matter of fact, long-term having ...
1
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0answers
50 views

Publishing a scientific article without being a student or a researcher [duplicate]

From what I got to see during my research internship, research master's students, PhD students and researchers, when they do some decent research work or project, they sometimes send a scientific ...
24
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5answers
2k views

Academic home page with low maintenance burden [closed]

It's been mentioned before on this site how important it is to have a webpage. Most academics don't have a lot of experience with web development, and do not realistically have time to learn it and ...
2
votes
2answers
263 views

How often do you get to “play with” scientific instruments?

I tend to learn and understand a subject to a much deeper extent if I am able to play around/experiment/mess with something that demonstrates the principles. I'm starting a Neuroscience PhD program ...
13
votes
4answers
757 views

How to automatically link LaTeX .bib references to a set of pdf full-text articles?

I have a huge collection of PDFs of research papers. Many of these have valuable annotations. I also have a huge .bib file containing citations for these and many other works. Is there a reference ...
14
votes
4answers
773 views

How to make a one-year study plan for a difficult exam and remain motivated throughout?

In a year, I will be taking a difficult entrance exam at a renowned postgraduate school. There are many competitors, most of whom are smart. Despite that, I'm aiming at becoming #1 in the exam, and ...
9
votes
2answers
417 views

What constitutes a proper scientific result in Computer Science?

I work at a university at an Information Technology department. My colleagues claim we are 'computer scientists'. However, from what I observed, most of our work is pure implementation and often ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Strategies to strengthen self-discipline as a PhD student

The main troubles in my academic experience can be summarized in two popular (if somewhat cheesy) sayings: "Careful what you wish for" and "With great power comes great responsibility" Throughout ...
61
votes
10answers
7k views

How to work efficiently under loose supervision during graduate studies?

I work in a very cross-disciplinary field, which has caused me some headache* over the past couple of years, partly due to the fact that my supervisor isn't very knowledgeable regarding the day to day ...
11
votes
2answers
535 views

Can one be average in academics but great in research at same time in PhD

This has always kind of intrigued me. I have seen many students who are good in academics (the scale I am using for this is GPA, like around 3.8–4.0) and average in PhD research. I mean, they do ...
35
votes
3answers
1k views

How can I improve the effectiveness of my literature searches?

OK, I know this is a pretty basic question but I haven't been able to come up with any really satisfactory solutions. (I have searched around on this site, but none of the related questions precisely ...
9
votes
1answer
296 views

How to make good use of compulsory study plans in connection with PhD studies?

I am not sure if this concept sounds familiar to you but in Sweden PhD students are expected to have a study plan, which is revised every year, in connection with a meeting between the student, the ...
16
votes
3answers
1k views

Teaching uninterested/under-engaged students in science courses

How should one engage uninterested students in a fast-paced, densely fact-packed science course such as chemistry or microbiology? I find that the only students who truly understand and engage with ...
3
votes
2answers
490 views

How to make time to pursue research while employed as a part-time lecturer at two universities?

Actually I have been working like a Computer Science lecturer, part time, in a couple of universities in my country. Main problem is that those universities are only worried in finances, but not in ...
13
votes
8answers
1k views

Charging graduate students for printing

My university is starting a policy where graduate students need to pay for printing (10 cents per page) while It was free before. As a student coming from another university, I see it very weird ...