News and Views from a Mass Spectrometry Lab in Irapuato, Mexico

I am a Scientist; why should I blog?

I got a position as a principal investigator, and my 1-page contact gets renovated automatically as long as I work and avoid stupid mistakes.
My lab is publishing, and my graduate students usually quickly find good jobs.
My research funding is limited (did I mention that my lab is located in Irapuato, Mexico?), but the salaries of all lab members are safe.

So, why should I bother myself with writing a Blog?

A Blog will neither augment my (auto)citation number, nor my income. In contrast, it will cost me time and money.

Well, there are several motivating reasons, such as:

1) (Re)connecting science and society.
Although we receive public funding, most of our results are (in the best case) only available to other researchers. "Paywalls" of scientific publishers, and complicated terminology avoid the knowledge transfer to the general public. Thus, essential findings, such as the causes of the climatic change and the distribution of microplastics in the biosphere are not used efficiently for preventing environmental catastrophes. Possibly beneficial inventions for medicine and agriculture, such as genome editing, could be ignored or rejected by the society if there is insufficient information for a constructive discussion.

2) Presenting alternative technologies.
Do-it-yourself gadgets and open-source software (OSS) packages often can replace commercial devices and software platforms. Free solutions even might offer superior features. Since non-commercial technologies usually have no marketing budget, they are less known. I want to alleviate this situation a little. Thus, if you know about any exciting innovation that could fit into the topics of the Blog, please drop me a notice.

3) Exchanging personal experiences and views.
Every person and career is different. However, I will share some conclusions from my first decade as an independent researcher, e.g. on career planning, research field definition, productive writing, funding, collaborations, and work-life balance. You might even discover that a scientist's life is not for you...

Naturally, any information posted on this Blog is biased by my personal opinion and philosophy. Nevertheless, if you like my Blog, you can follow it; comment, suggest or contribute articles.

Robert Winkler



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