A commenter to my tutorial on Short Seminar Skillz characterized my suggestions as “wibble”, complained that “[i]f you’re relying on appeal to illusory authority then your science is probably shite”, and concluded that “[f]ortunately most scientists are interested in science, not theatrics”. This misguidedly dismissive attitude towards the presentation of your science–whether in seminars, grants, publications, or even casual conversation–can be very detrimental to the success of the science itself. This is because your ability to marshal the resources necessary to do your science requires convincing other people who allocate those resources that what you are doing is worthy.

The reason I tend to focus here on the non-scientific aspects of science is because it goes without saying that your science has to be outstanding. And everyone’s science is different. It’s a non-starter for me to use this platform to tell people how to conduct their research programs. But it’s useful for me to use this platform to engage the non-scientific aspects of science, because there exist general principles applicable no matter what your research program is about.

So let’s just agree going forward on something. Every single one of my posts–past, present, and future–is hereby deemed to incorporate by implicit reference the following statement: “Your science must be outstanding, and nothing I say should be construed as providing advice on how to turn shite into gold.”

Advertisements