Thoughts

All co-first authors are equal, but some are more equal than others

Co-first is when two or more individuals are noted as providing the same or equal first-author-level contribution to a published work. Such co-first authorships are becoming more common, particularly in the biomedical fields, where projects are becoming more and more ambitious, requiring more and more diverse skill sets as well as intense multi-year collaborative efforts to come to fruition. Unfortunately, publishers have been rather slow in properly recognizing such co-first authorships with readily visible annotations, particularly online. Here, I highlight the problem with examples, explain why we should care, and propose a simple solution. (continue reading)




The Privilege to be an Academic

Coming from a background of less economic privilege compared to what I have now, I some times wonder: what if my journey through academia took place a few years earlier, when my family and I were less economically well-off? In reflecting, here are a few of my experiences that highlight how academia, in my opinion based on my personal experiences in the academic life-sciences, has been structured for the economically privileged and institutionally discriminates against those who come from more disadvantaged economic backgrounds, and the ways we can bring about institutional change to ensure that the academic career-track is accessible to every qualified individual regardless of finances. (continue reading)


The 10000 Hour Rule

No one is born skilled. And mastry of any skill takes practice. One theory, the 10000 Hour Rule, claims that it takes approximately 10000 hours of deliberate practice to master a skill. So let's take this 10000 Hour Rule as our premise and quantitatively assess its implications when it comes to being given a head start in life or, alternatively, being forced to play catch up. As a concrete example, I will tell the story of two fictional students, Jeffrey and Kamilla, while keeping track of the hours of deliberate practice each of them puts into mastering the skill of computer programming. (continue reading)