So as I told you before, my first R03 grant was triaged last month. Not much surprise, as that was my very first submission and I basically did it without supervision or science advice. Of course, I did the best I could, and there was a tiny bit of hope to get a score. But it didn’t happen.
However, when I received the reviews, they were not that bad. On average, all my scores were around 3, except for approach, where I’ve got a big 6. There were good moments such as “Concerns about XXX diminish enthusiasm for this otherwise excellent study”. But they had a really big concern about me being a PD: “Lacks an academic appointment and is dependent on her mentor for laboratory space and access to facilities”. So why on earth a PD is able to submit a R03 grant as the PI if the reviewers are going to be all cranky about that?
And it gets worse!
Other thing that the reviewers were all confused was about my actual department: “This laboratory is in the Department of Mathematics, which appears to be an unusual place for a neuroscience laboratory”. Yes, my former PI retired and co-PI took over. So despite being a neuroscientist and have absolutely no idea about math, I’m in the math Dept. And that’s why my PI cannot help much with the scientific part of my grant.
Despite this advice, my former PI is the closest and better help that I can have. He gave me some tips about how to fix the approach of my grant, but he suggested me to apply for an R21 instead of an R03. Lots of people on twitter suggested alternatives such as K01, F32… Gosh, this grant applying thing is so complicated! Anyways, twitter as always did help me a lot with advices and guidelines. I emailed my PO and scheduled a phone interview. I’ll keep you posted.
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…