Necessary networking

Last week I attended the launch of the new Edinburgh Small Vessel Disease Network. This was a day designed to bring together all people working on this disease from a number of different aspects including clinical, pre-clinical and epidemiological, as well as exploring different techniques that people are using. It was great to feel part of something and really inspired me in my project, a feeling I’m hoping I can carry for a while as I’m struggling with a few experiments at the moment! Reminding yourself of the bigger picture can really do wonders for your motivation.

I wrote a blog post for them about my research and how it could potentially bring together different groups, read it here. The afternoon was particularly good as the ‘early career researchers’ stuck around to see small post-doc presentations with no questions but small-group discussions with those around you. This lessened the pressure on the presenter and questioners alike as it’s easier to talk to others than raise your hand to ask a potentially daft questions (okay for me anyway).

I also got chatting with a post-doc I’d met at EuroGlia a few months ago and how she had just published her paper about mutations in the TREX1 gene in small vessel disease in Wellcome Open Research. This is a platform to immediately publish your paper, making sure that your data gets out in a much timelier manner instead of waiting around for months. You request reviewers and all their comments are public. It’s such a transparent and efficient way of sharing information between researchers and while many people won’t be on board right now, I think that this will really be the future of publishing. It will lift all the secrecy, any unpleasant competition and should eventually lead to a much more open society of research. It will be interesting to see how this changes over the course of the next few years, perhaps more ‘early career researchers’ will persuade their PIs of the benefits to the whole scientific community of publishing in this way.

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