Blogs, Networks and Your Research (plus some bioinformatics careers stuff)

Last week I went to a great talk by another Manchester University postgrad blogger, Michael Barton (no, really, a face to face talk with real people in a proper room – we don’t live in cyberspace all the time). 

He talked us gently through using web based tools for collaborating on the same document, sharing information and finding more information in your field, whilst demonstrating his skills as a cartoonist – lovely to think of all those academic brains in the lecture theatre spellbound, wanting to know how the story about the evil researcher, the laser gun and the cartoon girlfriend turned out in the end…

I can’t really do justice to the non-cartoon content, so Michael’s got a great post on one of his blogs talking about these tools – have a look here. His Bioinformatics Zen blog is where he posts about anything bioinformatics based, whereas his own blog is more specifically about his research.

Inevitably, the discussion after the talk immediately launched into what you can say on a blog or other web forum without it encroaching on “Intellectual Property” issues. However, it really seems to be no different to talking about your research to anyone outside your university. Lots of common sense and caution needed, but talk to your supervisor (and maybe those helpful people at UMIP) before you spill the beans and lose those millions before you’ve even realised what you’re worth. 

And don’t think that you can just be altruistic and tell the world, because you’re “not interested in the money, man” – your supervisor and funder might be, and apparently, they own your thoughts, according to the academic who raised the issue. If you’re interested in discussing this point further, why not take it up with … nah, better not name names (I like working here).

On a careers note, Michael has also posted on bioinformatics careers so if you want some inside info, have a look. Other useful bioinformatics careers resources are BioPlanet which has an active forum with job ads and Biohealthmatics which also has job ads and company listings, as well as a career networking section – both worth checking out.