New Year’s Resolutions

A new year — time to have a quick look back, and more importantly, a look forward! Here are some of my new year’s resolutions, posted here not for your convenience, but rather to make sure I stick to them…

But first, a look back… I know 2016 is generally regarded to have been a shitstorm for Planet Earth,  but in retrospect, it was a pretty good year for myself. One first-authored paper (ok, still in press, and it’s not in psychology, but in physics, but still), and two co-authored papers, and two grant proposals accepted. Could have been worse, as they say here in Groningen. Blog-wise, a bit disappointing. Despite a good start (apparently, personal interest stories do very well), I did not manage to crank the one post per month I had set myself to. On the personal front: very excited to play in a new band, family doing very well (re: that post on working hours, my wife hit the five-year post-diagnosis mark in April 2016, and thanks all of you for your support), so very little reason to complain.

Looking forward: there are some exciting projects starting in 2017 because of the grants we’ve got in, and several interesting papers coming up. And even though 2016 was a pretty good year for my science efforts, I will try to make 2017 even better. I’ve got some ideas to make my science more transparent, and be more productive. So, without further ado, here are Dr Jacob Jolij’s New Year’s Resolutions:

1. Stop b*tching, just do good science – as you may or may not know, I am (or better: used to be) an enthusiastic follower of several methods groups on Facebook, and many methods and open science people on Twitter. Interesting stuff  going on in 2016, including several high profile non-replications, and 2017 will be even better as the PRO Initiative kicks in. However, I am kind of done with following the debates between Bayesians and Frequentists, and the sermons of open science evangelists, often preaching to the choir. I found following and engaging in these debates to take up a lot of my time and energy, and distracting from what I really want to do: figure out the mysteries of consciousness and the universe. I know that many people find this an important topic, and therefore I have written a full post on it here.

2. Open up my science – huh, wait, wasn’t I just saying I was going to stop engaging in open science stuff? Well, no – but I think it’s better to put my money where my mouth is, rather than engaging in endless debates. I am going to make my science more transparent to the people who pay for it, i.e. the general public. I am already doing so by engaging in many outreach activities, but why not write a short, monthly update of what I’ve done that month for my assitant professor’s salary? Following discussions on social media after Ben Feringa winning the Nobel Prize, it struck me that a surprising number of people haven’t got a clue about what scientists do, and think we’re getting enormous salaries for doing nothing. At least one of those latter two things is not true, so I think it’s a good idea to let some more people than just my colleagues and my family in on what it is I am doing. Maybe not the kind of transparency the OSF or the PRO have in mind, but perhaps it is the transparency Henk and Ingrid might find interesing (if you’re not Dutch, never mind the Henk and Ingrid reference).

3. Open writing – OK, this is going to be a very wild one. I am a terribly slow writer. I publish with the speed of a three-toed sloth, and the datasets (and manuscripts) keep piling up. This is not in the last place due to the fact I have some social anxiety issues (I really hate dealing with reviews so badly, it’s almost funny). So, what better way to deal with that in a kind of cold turkey way: throw all that stuff out here, on the nasty internet! I need some external pressure to keep on going, and your help is much appreciated. I am going to make my writing list public, including updates every month so you can track my progress. Sounds like fun, right (*shivers at the prospect of getting feedback of real people…*)? With a bit of luck I’ll get enough stuff published to get my promotion to associate professor this year 🙂

So, those are my New Year’s resolutions. I’ll report back in one year to let you know how things worked out 😉