Midpostdoc crisis

All this OA discussion around twitter this week made me enter in a midpostdoc crisis! Even though I am into my 7th year of being a PD, I consider myself way too naive and still with a romantic vision of science. Before this week, I was really punishing myself for not having a single paper published in an OA journal. C’mon, we are cool scientists that tweet and blog, how come one don’t have an OA paper? I was planning on publishing my next paper on OA (if the budget allowed, of course!). But, after reading all the discussion I’m having second thoughts about it…

So everything started with a simple question from Dr. Isis Length VS IF and then twitter turned into chaos. Wow, I was surprised of how inflamed the discussion got! I might not have twitted a lot about the subject, but I read everything that I could about the discussion. It seems to me is that all this OA thing is relevant, and worth pursuing. I understand the importance of it, and I’m really grateful that researchers like Michael Eisen are so passioned about this topic, but I have to agree with Dr. Becca and Proflikesubstance when they say that this must be a task for senior scientists, not for postdocs and junior faculties.

Then Michael Eisen did a #publishingsurvey asking “where was the paper(s) that got you your job published?”. I was shocked! I don’t know if all scientists on twitter are very clever, but everybody started answering CNS, Neuron, Cell, etc… I felt so bad and so small in between all this people! My highest IF is a 4.7 paper. I actually have 3 papers published in this journal, and this is the top IF for my area of research. I’m not doing straight neuroscience, I do neuro-something-ology. I don’t work in cancer or Alzheimer and although I love my research it seems quite unlikely that I can publish anything on a CNS journal!

Maybe I could try to do a parallel research project aiming to J Neurosci, that might be doable. But I might not have enough time for that, since I want to start applying for positions this year for practice, and next year for real! I have a kind of sexy project going on that could turn into a sort of glamorous publication, maybe… But is this really necessary? Should I bother about that too much? Now I look at my CV and just see 15 small publications that won’t take me anywhere…

Life is good

I AM BACK! Yes, after one very long year I am finally back to the US! I don’t have words to describe all the happiness that I felt when I arrived and that I still feel during this first week here. My house was completely dusty and humid, my car does not work, I don’t have a driver’s license yet, but nothing bothers me, because I’m back!

Many times during this past year I caught myself thinking what was the reason of all this happening in my life. I am one of those people that thinks that everything happens for a reason, and I cannot think that I’m such a bad person that life could bring me such a nightmare in vain. Unfortunately I didn’t come up with a reason (yet). But, this year away did change me A LOT. I feel like some kind of superwoman in science, maybe because during this time I could not do many things that I was slowly planning to do, now I feel like I want to do them all, right now! We are all procrastinators, and deep inside we never think that we are fully able to do certain things…

Green card is already filled, just received the visit of my math collaborator (and long time friend) and we already set up experiments to get preliminary data for our future grant. Have my agenda pretty full with meetings about papers to submit, grants to work on and undergrad students that will help me.  Have a few TT positions in mind to apply, and although I’m not going to have much time to work hard into applications this job season, I am going to start applying!

Lately my blog seems more like a journal than a science blog. Although that was not really my main goal, I enjoy to think that people reading my blog can know me and understand a little bit more of myself. And now that I’m back and comfortable again it will be easier to write more scientific posts!      

Back to USA resolutions

Wow, it’s been a while since I don’t write here. But for a very good reason. After a very long time I was able to fulfill all the requirements and finally got my VISA! I have no words to describe how I feel about finally being able to come back to what it became “home” to me.  A lot of people here asked me why I wanted so badly to come back. I felt a lot of pressure of trying to get a job here and forget about coming back to the US. I cannot deny that sometime in the middle of all the trouble I gave it a thought. But… no. I live there for 5 years already. I got used to the way people are, the way science is done, and this year here at home country made me realize how those things became important in my life!

So now what? I have one week remaining here, that seems like eternity for me! Although I still have tons of things to arrange, friends to say goodbye, some data analysis and last meetings in visiting lab, I am so ready to come back! We are renewing our R01 in my US lab, finishing two papers… I am receiving my collaborator two days after I’m back in town and I’m so much looking forward to it! I’m talking about MY collaborator, not from my lab. A line of research of my own, kind of my first step towards independence! All I can think about is to come back and work hard. If there’s something that is left from this year away is that I really know what I want now. To get a TT position ASAP and have my own lab!

I met someone at one workshop here that gave me 3 advices: 1) keep publishing, 2) do networking, 3) apply everywhere. And that’s what I’m planning to do. Work on smaller projects, yes or no answers that can get published easier. Of course, continue with the big questions, but try to balance that. I already sent emails to several researchers of my area to let them know that I’m coming back and asking to meet them at SFN (that of course, I am attending this year!). Still not sure about when I’ll be able to start applying for jobs, I already applied for a couple, but I still spend too much time tailoring the cover letter and everything that is seems that I won’t have too much time for that in a short term.

Does anyone have some other good advice for me to get that dreamed TT position?