About Me

My photo
I'm an assistant professor of neuroscience at Washington State University in Vancouver, where I use tiny zebrafish (the size of an eyelash!) as a model system to study human hearing loss and how we can prevent it. I'm also a long-time Toastmaster and I teach communication workshops. This blog represents the merging of my two passions - science and communication, which has really become one central passion - the science of communication. There's a revolution in science right now...the idea that we scientists should sometimes leave the lab and talk about what we do, and why we do it, to real people. This blog looks at why we should do this, and how to actually talk about science with non-scientists (and with each other!). Portions of this blog are also featured on Qualia, the AAAS MemberCenter blog site.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Increase your h-index by improving your presentation

By Janine Castro, PhD

According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H-index) “the h-index is an index that attempts to measure both the productivity and impact of the published work of a scientist or scholar. The index is based on the set of the scientist's most cited papers and the number of citations that they have received in other publications.” If you quickly scan the average number of citations per scientific journal article, you are likely to see a range of 5 to 10. Because a few papers are cited hundreds or thousands of times, there are many papers on the other end of the distribution that are never cited.
Have they read your paper?
The River Restoration Northwest audience, February 2013.
Using myself as an example, my most cited publication has accumulated 81 citations over the past decade, while 7 of my papers have never been cited. In contrast, over the past six months, I have made 7 presentations that reached 850 individuals. Recognizing that the h-index does not reflect the total number of individuals who have actually read a paper, but rather just those who cited a paper, this isn’t really a fair comparison. However, giving presentations is an excellent opportunity to enlighten an interested audience about your research.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Dance, Dance Revolution…of Science Communication

Source: http://insiderspassport.com/  
Speaking in front of a group is hard enough, but to dance?  That pushes many scientists over the edge.  Still, if you are one of those researchers brave enough to “bust a move”, Science Magazine has a challenge for you – the Dance your PhD contest!

This contest requires a whole different communication skill set – the ability to explain your dissertation research through interpretive dance.  Anyone that’s ever conducted dissertation research in a scientific field can participate, even if you finished grad school before the internet. This is a great chance to communicate your science in a new way, without
saying a word.

For all of your brave science communicators, round up some friends, your favorite dance beats, and choreograph a winner as you dance your PhD. Entries are due 1 October 2013.  Good luck!