Katie Rose Guest Pryal
Katie Rose Guest Pryal
   Author, Lawyer, Writer

shutterstock_190338152_292295231_292295232_256224451 (1).jpgDo you ever reach the end of a busy workday and wonder where your time went? I used to. Usually, I would feel like I’d worked every minute of the day, but I would still have so much to do. What did I spend all my time doing? One day, I decided to find out.


After some research into time-logging software, I purchased the one that seemed like it would work best for me, Timelime ($14.99, Mac only). I started keeping track of how I spent my time during the workday. It was an eye-opening experience to say the least and radically changed how I approached my work.


When someone asks, “What did you accomplish today? This week? This month?”—time-logging software will give you a ready answer. Here are three reasons why you, too, should use time-logging software to track your work during the day, whether you are faculty or in a staff or administrative role at your institution.


You’ll know where your time goes
After my time-logging experiment, I (predictably) discovered where my time went: by the end of the day I even had a beautiful pie chart of how I spent my time. I’ve time-logged every day since, capturing work-time data to the minute.


When you finish working on a project, most time-logging software prompts you to enter a small description of the specific task that you just completed, like “researched for new article,” “advised student” or “designed budget.” Provide as much information as is useful to you.


But you might not be the only one who finds this information useful. If you have a supervisor, this data can help you to “manage up.” Use your time-log information to give
updates to your boss.


However, don’t print a time-log spreadsheet and hand it over. Instead, write a friendly email memo, letting your boss know what you’ve been working on, providing accurate data about which projects have taken how much of your time, and why.


Not only will you have proof of how much work you are doing (which makes you look good), but also your boss will have the information she or he needs to make adjustments to your assignments (which makes your boss look good).And because we know that “men are promoted based on potential, while women are promoted based on past accomplishments”—as Sheryl Sandberg summarized a 2011 report by McKinsey & Company—keeping track of your accomplishments is doubly important if you are a woman.


You know if you are spending time on valuable activities
Face it, some work turns out to be more valuable than other work. This is the premise of the 80/20 rule, also known as the
Pareto Principle. The 80/20 rule basically states that 80% of your work value ends up coming from 20% of your work time. Therefore, we should strive to figure out which work time is producing the most valuable results. Enter time-logging software.


If you keep track of the projects you are spending your time on, then you can, after a while, begin to see whether you are spending an appropriate amount of time on the projects that are giving you the most value in return. For example, say you are a researcher whose tenure clock is running down. You are working on an article and you find that it is taking an inordinate amount of time to get it published when compared to other articles. Given the time-logging data, you decide to save that particular article for after tenure and turn your attention to other projects that are more fruitful.


If you work as part of a team or are not in a position to make the sort of call as to what projects are the focus of your time, time-logging can help you provide good data to your
supervisor so that she or he can start making good decisions about how your team’s time is spent. Furthermore, if you want to suggest a change in approach, if you time-log, you
will have evidence to back up your suggested change.


You will stay on track
When I started my time-logging experiment, there was one unexpected benefit: I became more focused on my work. I would reach to check the inevitable diversions that arise when working on a computer (read: social media), but if I were to do so, I’d have to turn off my time-logging. But I was too proud of the progress I was making, so I wouldn’t.


To use the terminology of Jerry Seinfeld’s productivity secret, I didn’t want to “break the chain” by turning off the timer.


While time-logging, the ticking timer icon reminds methat I am “on the clock” for a project. I don’t want to stop until I’m done. The time-logging keeps me focused on the task at hand, until I reach a stopping point that I can summarize in the software’s description field.


After all, no one wants to write, “Got started on a budget report but got distracted by Facebook so stopped after 10 minutes.” Even if you are the only one reading the notes, that’s just embarrassing.


Ready to try time-logging?
Here are some software suggestions in addition to Timelime:


Harvest. Limited free version, but it’s very limited. The $12/month subscription is full featured for solo users. Web-based for all platforms or use Mac-only client.
• Eternity. $4.99 for iPhone.
• Now Then. $2.99 for iPhone and iPad.
• Timesheet. Free but with in-app purchases. Android.
TimeCamp. Free version. Web-based for all platforms.
Timely. Free version is limited. The $14/month subscription is full-featured for solo users. Web-based for all platforms.
• Toggl. Subscriptions start at $5/month. Web-based and desktop client for all platforms (https://www.toggl.com).


This article was republished with permission from Women in Higher Education.

Image Credit/Source:Stepan Bormotov/Shutterstock

    Phil Wright
Phil Wright
Senior Marketing Manager, Author Marketing, Wiley

Have you ever been asked to list your work?

The following scenarios possibly sound familiar…

• Your funding organization wants to review your past work before making an award

• Your institution needs you to provide a list of work before your promotion review

• Potential collaborators are struggling to find if you’re the correct person for their project

You end up filling out endless paperwork with the same information which can be a huge strain on your valuable time. Time that you could be spending conducting more research, or managing your teaching commitments.

So how do you beat this paperwork trap?

The solution is ORCiD – an open and non-profit organization. The ORCID iD is a unique and persistent identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher and connects you to your research activities. It makes it clear which activities are yours – no matter how your name is expressed.

There is a growing tide of opinion that ORCiD will ultimately become the standard unique author identifier – used and adopted throughout the researcher community. In addition to tackling the issue of author disambiguation, the thought of (potentially) only needing one single login when using Wiley and other major publishers’ electronic editorial office systems, is something that would appeal to most authors.  We therefore recommend all our authors take advantage of this free service (provided by ORCiD) and register for an ORCID iD. Furthermore, ORCiD takes privacy very seriously, and gives you the flexibility around who can and can’t see your information.

How do you register for an ORCID iD?

All Wiley ScholarOne journal websites* allow you to register for an ORCID iD and then associate it with your ScholarOne account. If your paper is published, your ORCID iD is displayed on your article in Wiley Online Library and then submitted to CrossRef, where you can connect your paper back to your ORCiD record.

Registering for your ORCID iD (through ScholarOne) only takes 2 minutes. To help make it as simple as possible, we have created an instructional PDF and how to video to guide you through the process.

ORCID Video image



So when you are next asked to list your work, simply allow your institution or organization to view your ORCiD record and say goodbye to extensive paperwork.

For more information, take a look at our ORCiD web page.

*For more information on registering for an ORCID iD using other electronic editorial office systems, please contact editorialoffice_orcid@wiley.com

    Caitlyn Dwyer
Caitlyn Dwyer
Community Marketing, Wiley
Samantha Green
Samantha Green
Community Marketing, Wiley

Thanks so much to everyone who participated in our blog celebrating gender equality. We were thrilled to see more than 130 comments over the course of the twenty days, with some really interesting discussions throughout.

Our website was trafficked by 189 countries all around the world, making this a truly international celebration.

In her contribution to the blog, Dr. Philomena Essed, Professor of Critical Race, Gender and Leadership Studies, Antioch University, PhD program in Leadership and Change, wrote:

“The underrepresentation of women is largely a form of gate keeping. Systemic discrimination against particular groups has a non-identical twin I call cultural cloning: normative preferences for combinations of masculinity, whiteness, European-ness, able-bodied-ness and related markers. The erosion of care and empathy, the indignity of greed, the commodification of lives and bodies, just to name a few, are among the champions of masculinity. Change should not only include more women at the top, but conscious efforts as well to end the mindless cloning of inflated masculine values.”

To which commenters replied:

“WOW I have been blind to all of the cultural indifference that is amongst our population. A change in how we look at all people, especially women, is something we need to be fighting even harder for. Thank you for opening my eyes to see the perpetualism that taunts our world.” –Cee Jay


“I agree, and "inflated" seems like a key word to end with. There is definitely a pattern of bloating the responsibilities of standing faculty (by drawing down tenure lines, padding with precarious adjunct positions, inflating enrollment of high-profit masters programs causing more advising and meeting hours for them) making the lifestyles of most full time faculty so hopelessly overcommitted that their talks come off as written in the moments before they are given without serious contributions being made, furthering a personal brand at the expense of pursuing real knowledge production and real change--not to mention doing real mentoring. It is easy to stomach if you want to live life like an executive and tough to stomach if you want to truly teach or even simply generate meaningful, risk-taking research. I have watched over and over again male students ask favors or for the creation of paid work in circumstances that I would have found inappropriate or overly aggressive, and they are rewarded, while, finding new boldness in their gains, I have asked for similar with little or nothing to show for it because "the money isn't there." –Joanna Siegel

We were proud to be able to open eyes and share the thoughts of our society partners and authors.

We hope to continue with similar cause-driven celebrations, including a June collection of research and blogging surrounding LGBTQ month in June. Be sure to stop by The Philosopher’s Eye blog starting on May 30 as the discussion on LGBTQ rights kicks off.

International Women's Day

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    Nicole Foley 
Nicole Foley
Medical Student, Western Michigan University 
Source: wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock
Source: wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

Since I started medical school in August 2014, there has been a continuing battle for my time. Didactic lectures, independent coursework, clinical skills training, specialty interest groups, community service requirements, the list goes on and on. In addition, my classmates and I are encouraged to engage in extracurricular activities that contribute to our professional development (which offer the added bonus of boosting our C.V.s when we eventually apply to residencies). One of these scholarly activities is writing and publishing. Recently William Rasmussen wrote here about arriving at the decision to publish as a med student. Yet, only a couple weeks ago, the thought of committing time to research and writing seemed absurd. While I was comfortable hiding in the school library studying human physiology, I felt overwhelmed by the unknown world of academic journals. I thought, “With all my current responsibilities, how can I find the time to publish? How would I even begin this process?”

These two questions have been my personal roadblocks to writing, yet I feel they might be common to other medical students as well. So, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned from my own experience. Let’s get started!

1. Devote 1-2 hours a week to the writing process.

Make a schedule and do your best to stick to it. If you need some more incentive, build in a small reward system to stay motivated. If you choose Sunday morning to do your writing or background research, keep that time blocked out in your schedule over the weeks you anticipate working on the project.

2. Determine the best type of paper you are capable of writing within your time constraints.

This is where some balancing takes place. You should honestly assess how much time you can dedicate to doing research and writing a quality paper. Medical school coursework should remain your top priority, but as far as other professional experiences are concerned, publishing should rank highly.

One misconception I had about publishing is that the only way medical students can publish is through primary research. Although this can be an excellent way to generate new findings, it is by no means the only research that deserves to be published. Generally, secondary research consumes less time by synthesizing existing data with novel insight. One example of this would be to write a paper analyzing quality improvement data before and after a change takes place. Reviews and meta-analyses are also valuable forms of scholarly communication that might take longer to complete, but can be adapted to a medical student’s busy schedule. Other types of papers that can be managed within a tight schedule include expert opinion, case reports, patient education material, and health policy.

3. Select a topic.

There will be times the type of paper you select to write constrains you to a certain subject matter. When this is not the case, the obvious suggestion would be to find a topic that genuinely interests you—one you (mostly) understand and feel comfortable writing about. If you are taking on a project with minimal supervision, be weary of topics that are overly technical and complex. Keep your research question focused and your field of interest narrowed. This will help to limit the amount of time you spend performing background research and clarifying ambiguous topics. Ideally, you will produce a high quality paper without sacrificing too much of your time.

4. Review the literature.

The background research you extract from a literature search will lay the landscape of your work. Is your topic important and worthy of being reported to the medical community? Is the literature already saturated with papers on your selected topic? If this is the case, you might think of approaching it with a unique perspective. If you want to do a review, make sure that no other reviews have been published in the past ten years, otherwise the paper might not be worth your time.

After compiling data, analyzing trends, drawing conclusions, and connecting your results to the bigger picture, you will need to write it all down. Maintain the schedule you set out for yourself at the beginning of this endeavor. Keep track of what you hope to achieve each week and strive to make tangible progress. At this point it is important to stay motivated and focused.

5. Ask a mentor or faculty member to review your work.

Find someone who thoroughly understands the topic you are writing on and would be willing to critique the content of your work. Hopefully you have a good professional relationship with this person prior to asking them for their time. This step makes you vulnerable to criticisms, so I will tell you what my teacher told me: cultivate humility. Take the good, the bad, and the ugly and use it to transform your paper. If you need someone else to read it over, find your college friend who majored in English to help you eliminate awkward wording and improve flow in your writing.

Amid the stress that accompanies medical school, taking on additional criticisms may seem daunting. Try your best to adapt to the suggestions of mentors and advisors. It will take patience, and most likely multiple revisions, before your paper is ready for submission. The editing phase of writing tends to absorb more time than people expect, so plan for this at the outset of your project. Keep working towards your end point, but step back if you begin to feel frustrated or lose sight of your goal. As a medical student, writing will not be your only commitment, so maintaining a positive outlook to bring to the other facets of your life is important.

6. Finally, select an appropriate journal and submit.

Look into which journals are more likely to accept your specific paper. Read the instructions to  authors on the publisher’s webpage. Submit to a highly ranked journal, then if/when you are rejected, submit to a slightly lesser ranked journal. Some editors may provide feedback on how you can improve your submission. If this is the case, consider these recommendations before submitting your paper to another journal.

The greatest challenge of publishing while in medical school is making writing a priority. However, by sustaining your commitment to publish, this endeavor will benefit you as a medical student as well as a future physician.

    David Nygren
David Nygren
Vice President, Research Insights, Wiley

What social network do researchers use more than Twitter, Google+, Facebook or LinkedIn, and almost as much as Google Scholar? The answer, which may come as a surprise to everyone but researchers themselves, is ResearchGate. The company, founded in 2008, has over 6 million registered users and a high level of user engagement. Whereas ResearchGate requires users to have an institutional email address to join, Academia.edu, another scientific collaboration platform also founded in 2008, has an open registration policy and over 20 million registered users as a result. Both companies have significant venture capitalist backing. Most notably, Bill Gates and Tenaya Capital invested $35 million in ResearchGate in 2013.shutterstock_96368282_253789768_253789769_256224451 (1).jpg

So what’s behind all of these big numbers? I first became aware of the success of scientific collaboration networks upon reading Richard Van Noorden’s excellent article in Nature in August 2014. The numbers surprised me, but I wanted to know more about what was driving users to these platforms. Some view such collaboration networks as little more than the Wild West of article sharing and copyright infringement, but are there other researcher needs that are being met? When the opportunity arose to organize and moderate a session at the STM Association Conference, held in April in Washington, D.C., I proposed a session on scientific collaboration networks simply because I wanted to know more about the topic myself. The timing proved to be serendipitous, as the conference coincided with the end of the STM Association’s Consultation on Article Sharing, which aims to form a consensus around appropriate article sharing among research groups via scientific collaboration networks.

STM industry analyst and consultant Mark Ware, kicked off the session with an overview of scientific collaboration networks and then dove into the question of how they’re really used. Mr. Ware’s research has shown that researchers use the platforms primarily to obtain articles and to boost their own profiles. Although various platforms have capabilities intended to support collaboration and commentary—capabilities intended to accelerate the advancement of science itself—so far there has been relatively little engagement with these tools. He suggested that the best way for the platforms to support collaboration might be to create tools intended to support existing, real world workgroups, rather than trying to promote collaboration among virtual workgroups that are brought together by the platform.

Next up was Dr. Richard Price, Founder and CEO of Academia.edu. He shared a series of anecdotes from Academia.edu users whose own research had progressed as a result of their active use of the platform, demonstrating that, in his view, science is indeed being advanced as a result. Dr. Price also discussed a beta feature called “Sessions” whichattempts to replicate the kind of spontaneous Q&A and candid commentary that might happen at a conference poster session. By making the commentary private and the comments themselves ephemeral, the aim is to avoid the common scenario where researchers are hesitant to comment in a public platform where their words might later come under scrutiny. Think of it as “SnapChat for scientific commentary and collaboration.”

Finally, the conference attendees heard from Wiley Advisor Dr. Reese McKay, who has a PhD in Neuroscience Imaging from the University of Texas and who until recently was a Postdoctoral Associate at the Yale University School of Medicine and a Fellow at Hartford Hospital's Institute for Living. An active user of ResearchGate, he first gave an overview of his and his colleagues’ opinions of the pros and cons of some of the top collaboration networks. Researchers seem to like ResearchGate’s metrics around their activities, though Dr. McKay himself feels that, although fun, the metrics don’t have any impact on a researcher’s career. Researchers also like Academia.edu’s vast repository of articles and have so far responded well to the new “Sessions” feature. But, in his experience, researchers react quite negatively to both platforms’ occasional tendency either to manipulate or delete some users’ posts and commentaries. Dr. McKay then used screen shots to create a fascinating self-ethnographic “day in the life of a researcher on ResearchGate.”

After the presentations, the conference session closed with nearly 40 minutes of questions, commentary and panel discussion, revealing that most of the assembled were as interested in the topic as I was. Most of my original questions were answered by the session, but of course the presentations and discussion inspired many more. Scientific collaboration platforms are still in a nascent period of rapid change, so societies and publishers all need to keep an eye on their development. At the same time, we need to stay in touch with researchers’ needs to determine how we can all best work together to accelerate the advancement of science.

Reese is a member of Wiley Advisors, a program for early career researchers and professionals to serve as a voice for their communities. For more information, please visit Wiley Advisors online or on twitter @WileyAdvisors.

Image Credit/Source:scyther5/Shutterstock

    Thomas Gaston
Thomas Gaston
Managing Editor, Wiley

It is obvious that having the best, most qualified, most diligent reviewers is desirable both for guiding editor’s decisions and giving authors feedback. Finding the best reviewers, however, can be a real challenge. Editors, being experts in their fields, will already have a number of contacts in their areas that they can call on, but with submissions increasing editors can rarely rely on a limited reviewer pool.



Source: Forest Woodward/iStockphoto
Source: Forest Woodward/iStockphoto

1. Build a database
One important element is to have a strong reviewer database in place. The pool of reviewers is something that is built up over time, but structuring and maintaining that database is essential. Asking reviewers to supply keywords for their areas of expertise, (where possible for a taxonomy recognized in the field) provides a significant advantage when trying to match papers to reviewers. Rating reviewers within the database, on timeliness and quality (for instance), can provide a useful metric for identifying better reviewers, as can metrics regarding turnaround times and completion rates. Flagging the record of slow and unhelpful reviewers means they can be avoided in future.


2. Ask the experts
To find new reviewers, it’s important to solicit ideas from the journal’s editorial board. These are individuals who are on the board in recognition of their expertise, so they’re both possible reviewers and aware of other potential reviewers in the field. Similarly, it can be useful to ask for suggestions for alternatives from those reviewers who decline to review.


3. Mine article references
Another method of finding new reviewers is to mine a submission’s references for the authors of related works. There is no guarantee that an author will be a suitable reviewer just because one of their articles is cited, but looking at their other publications and their research interests should give a better estimation of their suitability. As well as looking at references, editors can also look at the authors of their journal’s articles. Because these authors have already had their work scrutinized by the journal, the editors have some degree of surety of the expertise of these individuals.


4. Beware of fakes
Recently, a number of high profile cases (here, here and here for example) have highlighted the danger of unscrupulous authors attempting to act as reviewers on their own papers. The problem is caused by the option many journals offer for authors to suggest reviewers. Either the author themselves, or a third party service acting on their behalf, creates an email account and purports that it is the email address of their suggested reviewer. If the editor chooses to invite that suggested reviewer, then the invitation goes to that email account which is, in fact, accessible to the author.


Editors should already be cautious about being dependent on reviewers suggested by authors because of the temptation for authors to suggest only those who will be sympathetic to their research. The danger of pseudonymous reviewers should make editors doubly cautious about suggested reviewers.


One telltale sign of pseudonymous reviewers is the use of free email services, such as Yahoo, Hotmail or Gmail, as opposed to a reviewer institutional address. A simple web search is usually sufficient to find or validate a reviewer’s institutional email address.


5. Trust your instincts
Incidents such as these are a warning against an overdependence on automation. Electronic systems can provide invaluable aid in managing and searching databases but they cannot replicate the insight of an editor.

    Helen Burgess
Helen Burgess
Membership & Marketing Manager, The Physiological Society

471069749_295439283_295439290_256224451.jpgThe recent Wiley Membership Survey posed some interesting questions for me to ponder as I look at our membership strategy for The Physiological Society. As a learned society that publishes, membership subscriptions comprise only 3% of our income. Coming here, just a year ago, from a membership function in a financial professional body where subscriptions were 65% of total income, I wondered if it would make a difference. The long answer is that it does in some respects, but the short answer is that it doesn’t. Members do still value membership; not so much in the traditional sense of "join and get benefits" but more to demonstrate that they are part of a community. For The Physiological Society, our international membership engagement is increasing primarily from parts of the world that are becoming more politically volatile, and, subsequently, more insular and isolated. In my experience, the theme of wanting to belong is starting to cut across all generations. 

I obviously agree with the assertion that millennials are the up-and-coming members and leaders of societies and associations and therefore their needs should be accommodated for sustainability, but it is also important not to forget that people are working later into their lifespans and they’re more likely to retain membership, hence the potential pool of members is widening in both directions. There will always be people who want a complete psychological break with their professions.  At the Physiological Society our "retired members" category is still considerable – people still want to belong - but it's slowing too, as people work later in life or pursue the research they couldn’t undertake during their employment.

What of the millennials? Brandon Wardell, a blogger for VICE and also a millennial, wrote in April, “As every millennial knows, you're entitled to everything and should pay for nothing, ever.” Obviously this is tongue-in-cheek, but it is a truism that if content is offered for free, nobody will pay. When content ceases to be free, however, often other generations won’t pay either. The Times lost almost 90% of its online readership in three weeks after making online registration mandatory in 2010 and The Times is really not known for its millennial readership. This issue extends beyond millennials and also relates to the traditional membership offering, based on an annual payment for benefits.

And we shouldn’t forget Generation X, traditionally dominated in associations by the baby-boomers and now somewhat overshadowed by the millennials. Seen as the original non-joiners, as espoused in many a 90s film, Generation X are the most likely to move jobs and therefore have been pigeon-holed as lacking loyalty. I am Generation X (just about) and only recently joined my own professional body last October. I have found it useful, but not life-changing. I like the letters after my name but I still prefer to engage with fellow professionals in person in all situations (including those who solely live inside my laptop) and don’t dismiss them for not being part of “the club”. I don’t think this lacks loyalty to the club, it just shows that, in my opinion, the club should be open to more people.

I didn’t wait to be invited, like 15% of the Wiley Survey respondents, but was subtly encouraged by friends who were already members. I was attending their social events as a “friend” years before I joined. Reaching out in this way, primarily through member advocacy, to those who are interested but not yet committed is something I am looking forward to continuing over the next 12 months as part of our membership growth and engagement strategy.

Image Credit/Source:(c) parema

    Davina Quarterman
Davina Quarterman
Senior Marketing Manager, Society Marketing, Wiley

Earlier this month, we attended the 14th International and European Associations Congress hosted in picturesque Lausanne, Switzerland. The conference was held over two days and promised to provide insights and methods to tackle some of the most challenging issues currently facing societies and associations. The conference certainly delivered as we heard some excellent case studies and advice from membership organizations, consultants and industry partners.  Here are 18 highlights and key takeaways that we collated from the conference Twitter hashtag (#ACIE15). Thank you and credit to our fellow #ACIE15 Twitterati for sharing their insights from the talks.

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Life after the thesis

Posted May 15, 2015
    Jennifer Polk
Jennifer Polk
Academic and Career Coach

I own a website and blog called From PhD to Life. I started the site nearly a year after my PhD defense. It has chronicled my journey since then, as well as provided a platform for sharing the stories of others who’ve transitioned from graduate school to something other than a tenure-track position. Readers of my blog will know that I’m now working as an independent academic and career coach for graduate students and PhDs. Business isn’t yet booming, but signs are promising.

While I’m in the midst of a current journey from fledgling freelancer to . . . well, we’ll see, I’d like to reflect back to what got me from the end of my PhD to the beginning of my blog and later business.

I submitted the final draft of my dissertation to my committee in November 2011, and had my defense in February. In between, I got in touch with the few freelance clients I’d worked with over the past couple of years. My clients were senior consultants who ran their own businesses and who needed extra assistance on occasion to carry out projects. I’d done administrative tasks, as well as some more creative work, from interviewing stakeholders to brainstorming branding ideas. The consultants were happy to give me work as they were able. By the time I defended my dissertation I had a plan for my post-PhD future: I’d expand my freelancing work, picking up new clients and new expertise. I thought I knew what I was doing.78714839_235235113_235235128_256224451.jpg

This plan did not pan out.

Fast-forward to the summer. I was increasingly frustrated with where I was and I began exploring other options. I continued to freelance, and was working part-time for a concert-listings website. My work was sometimes exciting, engaging, and fulfilling; other times it was not. I’d experienced too much of the latter during my doctoral degree, and wasn’t thrilled about my seeming inability to figure out what I should do next and how I should do it. The academic job market was barely enticing, though I continued to read job ads and ponder my options for the next several months.

Looking back, I know that I took some important baby steps during that time: I learned about what I did and did not want to do; I read What Color Is Your Parachute?; I conducted a couple of very informal informational interviews with friends of friends; I printed non-academic job ads, filing them away for future reference. At the time, I felt pressure to move forward: get a job, buy a house, become an adult. In the absence of clear signs of progress, I felt increasingly like a loser with a PhD.

It was about this time that I took advantage of two resources I already knew were out there: the forums on Versatile PhD and the free workshops offered by Mitacs, a Canadian non-profit organization operating in the space between academia and the “real world.” I scheduled informational interviews and hired a career coach, a job I never knew existed! Working with my coach was immensely gratifying and kept me pushing forward. Soon, I launched my new blog, intending it to be a resource to other people going through the post-PhD transition.

A few months later, I took what turned out to be a good risk: I signed up for a coaching class. After a few weeks, the trainer encouraged us to get practicing, and not just with our classmates. I took her up on the challenge, using social media to let friends and other contacts know that I was learning a new skill and needed people to practice on. To my delight, several people took me up on my offer right away. Those first few coaching calls were wonderful! Challenging, but in the best way possible. I sent my first invoice to my first coaching client in July 2013. Since then, my business has grown and I’ve diversified my income streams. Much remains uncertain, but I’m thrilled with the direction my career has taken.

My coaching clients are almost exclusively PhDs and doctoral students. I’ve learned from interacting with them and many others from around the world that my challenges were not unique. Common issues for PhDs seeking non-academic work include:

  • Lack of knowledge about jobs and careers other than faculty positions at universities, sometimes combined with negative misperceptions about these “alternative” jobs
  • Ignorance of how hiring actually works outside academia and what employers are looking for
  • Undervaluing transferable skills
  • Misjudging preparation for professional positions
  • Unhelpful self-conceptions such as “I’m bad at networking” and “I’m a failed academic”
  • Academic culture and expectations crowding out true values, strengths, priorities, and goals
  • Lack of support (broadly defined)

The transition from academia to something else meaningful and rewarding can take a long time – sometimes several years. Changing careers is no small feat. The good news is that there is help out there! Since launching my website I’ve discovered an amazing community of like-minded graduate students and PhDs who are kind, empathetic, honest, and brilliant. If your own journey takes you on the post-PhD path (seemingly) less travelled, know that you’re not alone. Welcome to my world. Best wishes to us all!


Wiley collaborates with early career researchers through our membership program, Wiley Advisors, a group of ECRs and professionals who serve as a voice for their communities. For more information, please visit Wiley Advisors online or on Twitter @WileyAdvisors.


Image Credit/Source Fuse/Getty Images

    Glen Wright
Glen Wright
Researcher and PhD Candidate, Australian National University
Wiley collaborates with early career researchers through our Wiley Advisors program, a group of ECRs and professionals who serve as a voice for their communities. For more information, please visit Wiley Advisors online or on twitter @WileyAdvisors.



Wiley collaborates with early career researchers through our Wiley Advisors program, a group of ECRs and professionals who serve as a voice for their communities. For more information, please visit Wiley Advisors online or on twitter @WileyAdvisors.
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    Glen Wright
Glen Wright
Researcher and PhD Candidate, Australian National University
Source: Paolo Sartori/ Aurora Photos/Aurora Open/Corbis
Source: Paolo Sartori/ Aurora Photos/Aurora Open/Corbis

“I don’t know many people that finished a PhD in three years.” Dave (name changed), one of my dearest friends, was already four years into his PhD when I started mine in early 2012. He was ‘almost finished’ back then. About a month ago he pulled together his first full draft. I don’t know a single member of my cohort that has yet submitted.


There are numerous reasons for Dave’s delay in completing the PhD, and many readers will recognize them: uncertainty over his topic, stints overseas, a heavy teaching load, and of course, the standard everyday distractions of campus life.


However the single biggest issue for Dave was lack of support and guidance from his supervisor, who has been quite absent from the process. “I thought I’d be embedded in a network that would help me, but that turned out not to be the case. In particular, I placed a lot of trust in my supervisor, but that trust was misplaced.”


Dave wasn’t expecting to get his PhD handed to him on a silver platter, he certainly doesn’t lack intelligence or initiative, and he is very self-driven. Yet these qualities, essential for any researcher, are only useful if you are on the right track: “I thought I had everything I needed, but it is hard to know what is missing if you don’t know what you are looking for”.


Many PhD students feel that they have no idea what they are doing when they first get started. Myself, I remember just sort of showing up, filling out some paperwork, and being shown to the office. “I was naïve about it, the PhD process is far more independent than I thought. You need to teach yourself, anticipate, get informed”, Dave says.


Doctoral degrees have a notoriously high attrition rate, with anywhere between a third and a half dropping out, depending on the study you read. Those statistics likely conceal many horror stories, and often do not tell us why and when people quit. I ask Dave if he is glad that he stuck it out. “Not really”, is the short answer. “With hindsight I should have quit, but my supervisor and the university were always so encouraging. This encouragement prevented me from dropping out, but didn’t do anything to help me progress.”


Universities likely do not want to encourage further attrition, and at the same time, bright new PhD candidates do not necessarily want to be discouraged by the realities of how challenging the process can be. This ‘willful blindness’ would probably be fine, so long as it is accompanied by appropriate support.


It would not be fair to place blame solely on universities and supervisors though, and Dave admits that he likely would have needed more time in any case. After some talk about living overseas, relationship breakdowns and struggles with depression, we coalesce on the other major issue: life intervenes. Sure, this applies equally to any major project, but it is worth bearing in mind. The PhD can be a cause, whole or partial, of many of these problems, and at the very least it can make coping more difficult when you already have a lot on your plate.


The dominant PhD model assumes that you will be static for three or four years, but this is usually pretty distant from the reality. Life is far from static, and even if your PhD is not set up to recognize this, you will have to adapt it to do so. Maybe four years is always going to be unrealistic, and perhaps there is a broader need to refresh our thinking about the format that a PhD takes.


Paradoxically, while life is always full of ups and downs, the age at which most people do their PhD is precisely the age at which one generally starts to settle down. “My friends are building careers, buying houses, getting married and having kids.” The PhD can sometimes feel completely at odds with these life milestones.


The PhD can be deeply unsettling.


Wiley collaborates with early career researchers through our membership program, Wiley Advisors, a group of ECRs and professionals who serve as a voice for their communities. For more information, please visit Wiley Advisors online or on Twitter @WileyAdvisors.

    David Litalien
David Litalien
Researcher, Australian Catholic University

Doctoral attrition rates are high in North America: an estimated 40% to 50% of candidates never finish. Though these rates have been relatively stable over time, the issue is of growing concern given recent increases in PhD enrollment. According to the OECD, enrollment in advanced research programs in the US and Canada rose by approximately 70% from 1998 to 2012.

Dropout occurs at various stages of the process and has negative consequences for the individuals, their universities, and society as a whole. Surprisingly, the media, policymakers, and researchers show little interest in this issue. The fact that most dropouts already have a high level of qualifications and the complexity of investigating this phenomenon might explain this lack of concern. For instance, doctoral students’ experiences may vary by program, university, country, and stage of progression.109374032_324162460_324162461_256224451 (1).jpg

In a recent article published in Contemporary Educational Psychology, we aimed to better understand this phenomenon by developing a predictive model of dropout intentions. The model posits that perceived competence decreases dropout intentions, and that perceived competence is related to student’s motivation and to the support provided by the student’s advisor, faculty, and other graduate students.

Other significant determinants were included in the model: students’ presentation and publication rate; scholarships; income; indebtedness; gender; citizenship; program type; number of completed trimesters; and dropout intentions at the first measurement time.

Two studies were conducted to test the proposed model: a retrospective comparison of students who completed or did not complete a PhD program and a prospective study amongst enrolled students to test the predictive value of the model. Overall, findings from both studies converged and supported the model.

Three major results merit attention:

  • Perceived competence appears to be the cornerstone of doctoral studies persistence. This determinant was the strongest distinguisher between completers and non-completers, being the strongest predictor of dropout intentions in enrolled students. Even in the most advanced programs that target top candidates, the feeling of competence varies across students, and appears to be crucial for persistence. This could be particularly relevant, given that PhD training requires more autonomy and involves less structured indicators of progression as well as fewer courses.
  • Quality of the student–advisor relationship is confirmed as a highly important factor. Students who completed their PhD were more likely to perceive previous interactions with their advisors as supportive. Additionally, perceiving higher support by advisors helped currently enrolled PhD students feel more effective in their studies. By enhancing feelings of competence, this specific support also reduces the likelihood that students develop the intention to quit their program. Although many studies have suggested that the advisor plays a role as a determinant of PhD persistence, the mechanism by which it affects program completion has not been examined.
  • Interactions with other faculty also play a role in students’ persistence. Students who completed their PhD were also more likely to perceive previous interactions with faculty as supportive. Perceiving support by faculty also predicted dropout intentions in Study 2.

The low and steady completion rates in doctoral studies highlight an important lack of efficiency in the training of advanced researchers. To prevent PhD students from developing dropout intentions and subsequently leaving their program, our results suggest that interventions should particularly aim to foster students’ perceived competence.

This could be achieved by improving students’ motivation and by enhancing the support provided by their advisors and by faculty. The advisory relationship can be hermetic and usually concerns the advisor and the student only, but students would benefit from an opening of this relationship.

To this end, advisors and faculty could be informed of students’ needs and encouraged to support them, a role that goes beyond traditional classroom teaching and research project supervision. Advisors could also be trained and supported in their role by departments. Institutions seeking to increase their completion rate should take a closer look at this interaction, while PhD students would benefit from initiating these relationships where possible (e.g., getting involved in research assistantship, research collaboration, committees, etc.).

Finding ways to monitor and enhance the quality of the student–advisor relationship could also help to prevent and overcome problematic interactions and progression.

In order to foster a future of optimum knowledge and discovery, we need to offer support to the next generation of PhDs.

Please see the full article for more information.


Wiley collaborates with early career researchers through our membership program, Wiley Advisors, a group of ECRs and professionals who serve as a voice for their communities. For more information, please visit Wiley Advisors online or on Twitter @WileyAdvisors.


Image Credit/Source:Steven Wright/Shutterstock

    Jenna Townend
Jenna Townend
PhD candidate, Loughborough University  
Young woman with digital tablet at the park
Source: FrancescoCorticchia/iStockphoto

We have Confucius to thank for the adage, ‘Choose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life’. This concept is both a blessing and a curse when it comes to a PhD, given that the process confronts students with a constant battle to balance the fact that we do indeed love what we do, but must not allow it to occupy our every waking hour.


Finding this balance has been the defining challenge of my first year, along with the need to recognize that I am now in this for the long haul. I have left behind the years of structured education, and my working habits now have to be sustainable over three years. This is most definitely a marathon, not a sprint.


My PhD got off to a rocky start, and I was forced to work towards establishing healthier working habits. I finished my Masters degree in September 2014, and then had one month to write and deliver a conference paper, move house, and submit a journal article for review, before beginning my PhD in October. After the intense year of my Masters, this failure to take time off had serious knock-on effects. A virus that had been rumbling on since August finally took hold and, after evolving into a horrid post-viral fatigue, I had to take a total of about five weeks off. However, I was far too impatient to get better.


The game-changer for me came after an incident at the pharmacy where I work. A regular customer came into the pharmacy and asked why I wasn't there. My manager explained and, without any further prompting, the customer recounted that, fifteen years ago, after finishing her Masters degree and securing a PhD place, she had become ill and had developed chronic fatigue syndrome (ME). As a result, she had never been able to go back to complete her PhD, and had since only been able to do office-based work. While this is an extreme example, I realized that, if I did not start taking better care of myself, I could end up with a similar story.


I am now acutely aware that nothing is more important than our health and, as I near the end of my first year, I have been reflecting on what has helped me to create more sustainable working patterns.


First and foremost, I am lucky to work with two wonderful supervisors. I chose to stay at the institution where I completed my Masters degree, and as such, have developed close relationships with them. I decided not to venture to pastures new just for the sake of having a ‘big name’ supervisor, with whom I might have had little contact. Not only are my supervisors incredibly supportive of my project but, crucially, they care for me as a person, and give me the emotional support needed to actually get through a PhD. This is a winning combination, and one that I would urge all prospective PhD students to seek out.


Secondly, my Department has a great postgraduate community, and the people I work alongside every day are my friends as much as they are my colleagues. From talking to other PhD students, I am in a very fortunate minority with this experience. Thankfully, though, more and more universities are establishing postgraduate support networks. Being able to access such a community of people who understand the peaks and troughs of a PhD is a crucial ingredient for maintaining well-being and happiness.


Moreover, in the current pressure cooker climate of academia, having these support systems in place has already been, and will no doubt continue to be, crucial in teaching me the strategies to negotiate the challenges of this profession. In many ways, this has been the most valuable lesson of my first year.


In addition to working within a supportive environment, I have developed certain tactics and principles that I now try to live by: creating a sustainable working pattern and sticking to it; off-setting periods of long working hours with dedicated time for relaxation; setting boundaries for the number of additional commitments I make each week; and making sure that I do something unrelated to my thesis every day.


Nonetheless, my journey towards the holy grail of true work-life balance is still a work in progress, and I am all too aware of the irony of writing this article when I don’t always practice what I preach!


There have certainly been challenges during my first year, and I am sure that I am not alone in experiencing bouts of academic guilt: feelings that you are not doing enough, or are not good enough. These are anxieties that we all battle, and are certainly no laughing matter, particularly with cases of anxiety and depression in academia on a steep incline.


For this reason, I find the various social media parody accounts regarding the PhD process unhelpful when it comes to avoiding feelings of guilt. While they poke fun at negative, but widely-accepted, problems in academia, they also normalize them. Some examples come to mind: one cartoon perpetuates the idea that taking time off due to illness is a sign of weakness; another draws attention to the guilt of spending a weekend completely thesis-free. I am always the first one to laugh at myself but, in a profession that experiences unrelenting pressures from institutions and governments alike, such damaging emotions and thought patterns need to be addressed in serious terms.


Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed my first year and am excited to see what the next two years hold. While my academic work has certainly progressed, the more important lesson that I have learned has been the value of self-care and self-preservation: two things which will be of fundamental importance both now, and as I pursue my research in the future.


Wiley collaborates with early career researchers through our Wiley Advisors program, a group of ECRs and professionals who serve as a voice for their communities. For more information, please visit Wiley Advisors online or on Twitter @WileyAdvisors.

    Glen Wright
Glen Wright
Researcher and PhD Candidate, Australian National University

When I was chosen to take over Wiley Exchanges for a week, the theme that sprang to mind was “The PhD Path Less Traveled”. With the help of the contributors I’ve chosen, I wanted to uncover the common challenges PhDs face along the often circuitous journey toward their degrees, and how some cope, while others choose a different path.shutterstock_49856914_292303957_292303958_256224451 (1).jpg

About me: I started my PhD in Australia, in February 2012. For the past year however, I have been working full-time at a research institute in Paris. My PhD has been in a perpetual state of ‘almost finished’ for about 18 months. The time between those two dates has included some of the most difficult moments, both personal and professional, of my life. But the PhD has been a constant: at times a passion and a motivator, at times a millstone around my neck. Usually a mixture of both.

I always assumed I would complete the PhD in three years. After all, I had a reasonably well-defined topic, a supportive university, and a relatively settled personal life. My topic remains the same and my university still seems generally supportive, yet massive changes in my personal life have repeatedly called into question the place of the PhD in my life and in my future plans.

I don’t think my naiveté about the process is unusual. I doubt that my radical change in circumstances is unusual either. Yet despite this, and despite high attrition rates, the PhD continues to be, at least in our shared imagination, a rigid, 3-4 year, in-out process. Next week I want to share some stories, have some discussion, and show that the PhD process is, in reality, an altogether different beast.

On Monday we will hear about the high expectations Jenna Townsend had for the PhD process, the initial challenges it threw at her, and how she learned to cope.

On Tuesday we’ll hear from two researchers who have been investigating the effects of good supervision on attrition

Wednesday brings a conversation with one of my closest friends about a PhD process that nightmares are made of.

On Thursday I'll explore the different models of the PhD and on Friday we’ll round off the week talking about life after the PhD, with another of my favorite academic twitter superstars, Jennifer Polk.

I am very much looking forward to the takeover week and to hearing your stories and experiences. Join the conversation: tweet @AcademiaObscura and @WileyExchanges.

Wiley Advisors are early career researchers and professionals who serve as a voice for their communities. For more information, please visit Wiley Advisors online and apply to become a Wiley Advisor today.

Image Credit/Source:Steven Wright/Shutterstock

    Helen Eassom
Helen Eassom
Author Marketing

When it comes to social media sites, it’s easy to feel a little bit lost. To maintain some kind of presence on all of them would be pretty much a full time task, and it can be difficult to decide, when you are so strapped for time, which ones are worth that time and effort.


Slideshare is one of the more overlooked social media platforms, but with its potential for great returns on your time investment, it is well worth a look. Use of Slideshare is on the rise, with an increasing number of academics discovering its benefits too.481912395_292708448_292708449_256224451 (1).jpg


What is Slideshare?
Slideshare is a website which allows you to post content - PDFs, PowerPoint slides, videos, and others - as a presentation. Presentations can then be searched, viewed and shared by anyone. With 60 million monthly visitors, Slideshare is the most popular presentation sharing website in the world. Slideshare is free to use, but it also offers a premium version which includes video uploads, analytics, private sharing and professional branding (starting at $19 per month).


While some sites can be hard to read on handheld devices, Slideshare automatically optimizes content for mobile phones, so you can be sure that your content is visible to all users. Slideshare content also ranks high in Google search results, making it a worthwhile promotional tool. After all, if you are putting in the time and effort, you want your work to be seen by as many people as possible. Presentations are incredibly easy to embed on your own blog or website, thus enhancing the value of your content and giving you a boost in the search engine rankings.


Once you’re all signed up, you can immediately start uploading your content. But, not all content is created equally, so how do you make yours stand out?


1. Take a look at other Slideshare content
Browse on Slideshare to see what others are creating. Some presentations are a lot more effective than others, and you will obviously want to emulate the more successful ones. The presentations that feature on the homepage are a great place to start – these have been handpicked by Slideshare and are likely to be good examples of how to put together a top presentation.


2. Make your presentations recognizable
You want people to become regular viewers and sharers of your presentations, and it helps if you find a consistent style. Slideshare allows you to create custom templates, making your presentations easily recognizable. Find your style, and if it works, stick to it.


3. Make your presentations eye-catching
Presentations with eye-catching images and attractive layouts get more attention than those without. While you don’t want to go overboard with images and visual elements, using a compelling picture on your first slide could make all the difference when it comes to the number of views and shares.


4. Cater your presentations for your online audience
The great thing about Slideshare is that you can repurpose content that you already have - think old presentations you might have sitting on your hard drive or previously written blog posts. However, bear in mind that you won’t be able to talk over your slides- they need to stand on their own, so make sure that you can adapt them for an online audience.


5. Keep things simple
If your slides are too complicated, people won’t read them. Keep things minimalist- a picture and a few bullets per slide should suffice. Use your communication skills to get your points across as efficiently as possible, and don’t forget to include an appropriate call-to-action at the end to drive people to your blog/website/research.


6. Optimize your presentations for searching
You want your content to be as visible as possible, so you’ll want to make it as easy to find as possible. Slideshare allows you to include up to 20 tags or keywords to make your presentation easily searchable. Your title should include words that are relevant to the subject matter, and you should also make sure to include a brief description of the presentation when adding your tags.


7. Share among your communities
As previously mentioned, Slideshare makes it simple to embed your presentations on your own website or blog. You should also share your content via your other social networks. This will help extend the reach of your presentations and will also alert readers to new content.


Most importantly, have fun with it and you shouldn’t have to put in a huge effort to see the advantages of sharing your presentations on Slideshare!


Image Credit/Source:didecs/Getty Images


    Trina Cody
Trina Cody
Strategic Market Analysis Manager, Wiley

Last month, we released the results of our society and association membership survey. We found some of the responses interestingand decided to delve a bit deeper to look at the different wants and needs among the various generations of respondents. In particular, because Millennials are the up-and-coming members and leaders of societies and associations, we felt it important to focus on what they're looking for in an association. The infographic below illustrates some of our findings. Be sure to check back later this month when we'll be releasing a whitepaper to guide societies and associations in developing strategies for attracting Millennials as members.


Millenials infographic 2

what membership benefits do millenials value.PNG

    Kimi Sugeno
Kimi Sugeno
Associate Director, Digital Book Services, Wiley

Starting this month, Wiley will roll out a workflow to include alternative text (alt text) in nearly all of our frontlist books. Wiley is one of the first major publishers to include alt text this broadly.

Alt text is a description that provides contextual meaning to images and illustrations.  Non-visual browsers and screen readers express alt text to readers when images cannot be accessed. This is an important criterion for accessibility compliance.

Why alt text? As one of the major building blocks of accessibility, alt text provides readers with contextual descriptions of images, enhancing comprehension and providing a richer reading experience. By making our products accessible, we ensure as wide an audience as possible can learn from and enjoy them. Alt text also improves the versatility of products for all readers; for instance, it can enable read-aloud for a user who prefers to listen to a book.

Betsy Beaumon, President of Benetech, a non-profit that develops new technologies to improve global literacy, said “Readers accessing content through digital audio simply hear the word ‘image’ when alt text is not provided, depriving them of information critical to understanding the relevance of the image. By ensuring that alt text is provided for all images, Wiley is showing great leadership in the growing movement in the publishing industry to ensure that content that is born digital is also ‘born accessible.’ This is a milestone achievement.”

We developed our alt text guidelines in consultation with industry standards organizations--including Benetech’s DIAGRAM Center, DAISY, International Digital Publishing Forum, and the World Wide Web Consortium--to ensure best practices are current. Going forward, alt text will be included in our upcoming XML, EPUB, Kindle files, and select online courses, and will begin appearing in products later this year. All of this will help ensure we are also better positioned to meet the needs of adoption partners—institutions, both public and private.

When materials are correctly designed, developed, edited and enabled, users of all abilities have equal access to information and functionality.

We’re proud to continue to improve and enrich our products so that they can be enjoyed by as many readers as possible!

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