Authorship: Who should be on the paper? Where? And who not?

Today, I talked with Rick Betzel ( about authorship.

Authorship is the most important academic currency. It is the main way of performance evaluation and rankings for positions. There are many differences between disciplines, but generally, the first (usually the person who did the work) and last (usually the person who advised and oversaw the project from start to end) author position are the most important. The middle authors should have made significant intellectual contributions to the project. Everybody else goes in the acknowledgement section.

But of course it is not always that easy. Watch our discussion for many different cases with conflict potential:

The most important thing is to discuss authorship with the other people involved, ideally already when distributing the work and responsibilities. Never take for granted that other people agree with you on this.

Further readings:

General recommendations:

Interesting point system of the Kosslyn lab:

How to deal with gender bias in academia?

My honest first answer before this session was ‘I don’t know’. Similar as Atsuko put it in this live session, I am not living in my home country for many years and it is hard to tell what is about me being a women and what is a cultural thing I don’t understand. But there is this almost painful awareness of having to justify my existence all the time. This constant feeling of having to proof that I deserve to be here.

The most important thing I learned in this session was that this will never stop. And accepting that this is something which will always be part of my professional life also brings some kind of relief with it. I am not alone and I am just as much part of the solution as everybody else.

I am very grateful for the insightful and genuine discussion with my colleagues and friends Asli Ozyurek, Yoed Kenett, Emily Coderre, and Atsuko Takashima. I learned a lot and I recommend everybody to watch the discussion. Instead of trying to summarize the contents I give you the content overview with minutes and topics we discussed so you can listen to what is most relevant to you.

3:39 Different career stages, different problems
13:45 Role models and leadership styles
22:19 Coaching women how to survive in a male dominant culture
33:55 Networking strategies
46:30 The struggles of being a parent in acdemia
1:03:20 Realistic applications and making a change for the individual as well as for the system

Feel free to reach out to me if you want to talk about more!

How to review a manuscript for a journal.

Good reviews are supportive, constructive, thoughtful and fair. They identify both strengths and weaknesses alike and offer concrete suggestions for improvement. Good reviewers acknowledge their own biases and knowledge limitations and justify their conclusions.

Bad reviews are superficial, petty, and arrogant. Bad reviewers are very opinionated but typically don’t justify their biases. Their reports focus on weaknesses only but don’t offer solutions or other form of helpful feedback.

In today’s session, I walked you through the review process and told you how I write review reports:


Here you can find a template for the review report.

Additional ressources: offers a detailed step by step guide. offer additional advice and concrete examples of how to express criticism diplomatically. features a lot of personal strategies and experiences which are often different from what I do.

Where I stole the summary from (almost word by word):

How to stay on top of trends and findings in your field.

Keeping up with the literature and current issues is challenging. But thanks to different tools you can make this an easier task. The best tool in my experience is Google Scholar ( If you don’t have a profile yet, make one today. You can use it to follow colleagues’ publications, track citations of seminal papers, and get recommendations based on your usage or core papers in your field.

If you are interested in the output of a certain lab and they are not active on google scholar, you can use tools like to track their publications. This obviously only works for labs that have a frequently updated website.

Twitter is an amazing tool to stay up to date with current discussions and topics in your field. It takes a while until you figure out whom to follow, but it’s worth the investment.

Another useful tool to find older but still important papers is Mendeley. Technically this is a citation manager and library tool, but you get recommendations based on the articles in your library. Most of the time I find them very useful.

Journal updates are useful but should be limited to a few journals. The maximum of what I find manageable is 3. I follow Brain and Language, Behavioural and Brain Sciences, and Neuroscience and Biobehavioural Reviews. I only scan the headlines when the articles come in and decide if and what i will read in detail.

Researchgate can be useful if a lab is very active, but most of the time it is only selectively helpful to keep in touch/utd with a certain group. These ~10people I interact with on Researchgate only are the single reason why I still have my profile there.

Search alerts for journal databases like PubMed ( or Web of Science ( can be great tools if you figure out good search  terms and restrictions. I have not succeeded with this, but I found this blog with seemingly useful recommendations: There are also tools like Pubcrawler or Pub-Chase (which I will certainly try out next because it looks great!).

The most important thing is to get 2 types of reading integrated into you academic life:

  1. Quick scanning of the newest output and deciding what  to read (should be done weekly at least).
  2. Extensive reading and broader researches for articles.

More details and tips in the video:

How to manage your supervisor

Today I talked about the relationship with your supervisor. The role of your supervisor is to provide you with an environment suitable to develop your academic skills in order to become independent and to finish your thesis in a reasonable time. In turn, your supervisor expects from you commitment, involvement, and accountability. It is important to understand that your supervisor is also a person with strengths, shortcomings and an own agenda. Luckily, it is usually in your supervisors best interest if you succeed because your success is also their’s. In order to have a functional relationship with them it is crucial to build on strengths and develop strategies to deal with difficulties. You are just as responsible to nurture your relationship with your supervisor as they are. In the live session, I discussed different types of supervisors sand how to deal with them:

Most supervisors are a combination of the different types and you will have to figure out TOGETHER what works and what not. Keep in mind that academics usually never receive any training for supervising. They depend on your feedback and openness to try different strategies.

There are a few general rules which will help your relationship with all of them:

#1 Talk open about expectations, communication, and concerns. Most catastrophic supervisor-student relations I have seen are the result of not talking about problem for too long and some cases so long that it was too late to fix it. This is always sad and frustrating for everybody involved, first and foremost because it is so unnecessary. If you run into trouble or feel something does not work out for, schedule a meeting and talk immediately!

#2 Their job is to help you get independent, so do not expect to get pampered or to do your work. As hard and painful as their feedback can be, make the most out of it. And always keep in mind that this is not personal and well meant.

#3 Always be proactive and prepared. Don’t wait for your supervisor to manage you. Scheduling meetings, planning projects, making deadlines, finding relevant training etc. is your job. Their job is to advice you on your work and projects, not to manage it.

Last but not least, if there are irreconcilable differences and you cannot make it work together, this is not the end of the world. Most institutes have procedures (and mediators) in place to deal with this. Contact your graduate school for more information!

Live saving archiving and documentation strategies.

What are the best practices in documentation, archiving, publishing of code, data, and other materials? How to keep your file structure organized on your own computers?

This series featured two awesome guests from University of Pennsylvania:

Steven Weissberg ( from the Chatlab at Upenn ( talked about OSF and how to use it for open science and archiving (from 5:14).

Giulia Frazetta ( from Geoffrey Aguirre’s lab at UPenn ( talked about versioning and how to make the best use of github (from 11:39).


Quick summary of the most important points:

  1. Always keep future you in mind. And with future, we don’t mean the next few weeks, but the next few years.
  2. Keep your files on your computer tidy. Organize things which you are likely to recycle (e.g. slides, writing, graphics) together. Organize your research material (e.g. data, analysis files, stimuli) in project folders and stay consistent with folder structure and naming.
  3. Don’t panic-save everything. Archive data files at the most important steps in a separate folder (raw, preprocessed, analysis#1, analysis#2, wide format) and use the  copies in your analysis directory for ongoing analyses and trying out things. Overwrite old files when moving on (Don’t panic, you have that safety copy).
  4. Write up the documentation of your study directly into a manuscript file which will later be the basis of a published paper. Writing up the experiment protocols, materials and methods descriptions, analysis steps, and the results right away will save you a lot of time and frustration.
  5. Use OSF ( to archive your materials and data. This is also great for working with multiple people on one project. Keep this as tidy as possible. As soon as you make it public eventually (which we recommend for most projects) this should be the best reflection of your work as a scientist with highest standards.
  6. If your work entails any kind of coding or writing analysis scripts, github is a great way to keep version control and publish your code.
  7. Always work as if a stranger would have to pick up your project at any time and finish it for you.