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Is it worth getting an education?
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It Gets Better
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This is why we get vaccinated
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Saturday, April 23, 2011

So long, farewell ...
Friday, April 1, 2011
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Stay Tuned ...
Thursday, March 31, 2011

From the Union of Concerned Scientists
Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Week 23 - Hockey Pool
Monday, March 14, 2011

March Madness
Monday, March 14, 2011

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, March 12, 2011

What a bargain!
Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wednesday Micro Hits
Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Technique Overload
Monday, March 7, 2011

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Et tu FDA?
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
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Saturday Morning Serenade - A Hip Edition
Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, February 19, 2011

Wednesday Micro Hits (on Thursday!)
Thursday, February 17, 2011

HR1
Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day
Monday, February 14, 2011

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, February 12, 2011

The GOP War on Science
Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday Micro Hits
Wednesday, February 9, 2011

People, how about some ...
Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, February 5, 2011
January (21)

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sacrifice
Friday, January 28, 2011

Are you married to your reagents?
Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wednesday Micro Hits
Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Common Sense Tip #1
Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, January 22, 2011

From the Baby Boomers, a Big "Screw You"
Friday, January 21, 2011

Student Worker - More Student or More Worker?
Friday, January 21, 2011

Wednesday Micro Hits
Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, January 15, 2011

Holy moly!
Friday, January 14, 2011

Thursday Pondering
Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Electronic Office
Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wednesday Micro Hits
Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Plug - January Edition
Friday, January 7, 2011

Bits 'N Pieces
Thursday, January 6, 2011

Latest Manuscript Review
Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The $4 gallon of gas
Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Our slowly shrinking (and dying) planet
Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It's 2011 already? For reals?
Monday, January 3, 2011
2010 (46)
December (9)

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, December 11, 2010

The State of Microbiology
Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wednesday Micro Hits
Wednesday, December 8, 2010

2010 blogging meme
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Environmental Impact of the Christmas Season
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Music Snobbery
Thursday, December 2, 2010

Phantom Power
Thursday, December 2, 2010

What's Your Name?
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Wednesday, December 1, 2010
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Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, November 27, 2010

Awakening from the food coma ...
Friday, November 26, 2010

Wednesday Micro Hits
Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Donor's Choose Final Followup (Recipes #3 and #4)
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Monday Mess
Monday, November 22, 2010

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, November 6, 2010

Wednesday Micro Hits (Peer-Review Edition)
Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day 2 of the ASA-CSSA-SSSA Meeting (#ACSMtg)
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
October (29)

ASA-CSSA-SSSA Meeting - Day 1
Sunday, October 31, 2010

Stayin' Alive
Sunday, October 31, 2010

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wednesday Micro Hits (Vol. 4)
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

ASA-CSSA-SSSA Early Career Program
Monday, October 25, 2010

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, October 23, 2010

Wednesday Micro Hits (Vol. 3)
Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Donor's Choose - Family Recipe Number 1
Sunday, October 17, 2010

Making Good on Donor's Choose Bribe - Comfort Food Recipe 1
Saturday, October 16, 2010

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, October 16, 2010

Friday Wrap-Up and Random Thoughts (Vol. 2)
Friday, October 15, 2010

First I Begged, Now I Bribe
Thursday, October 14, 2010

Finding Out Things The Hard Way(TM)
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday Micro Hits (Vol 2)
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Here's where I start begging ...
Tuesday, October 12, 2010

#UnK3rn3d: Life Outside the Lab?
Tuesday, October 12, 2010

First fleas, now frogs?
Tuesday, October 12, 2010

No Fleas Please
Monday, October 11, 2010

My next Research Blogging article has been chosen ...
Sunday, October 10, 2010

Saturday Morning Serenade
Saturday, October 9, 2010

Donor's Choose
Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Wrap-up and Random Thoughts
Friday, October 8, 2010

RB: Waste Not, Want Not.
Thursday, October 7, 2010

Research Blogging
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wednesday Micro Hits
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What if I were not a microbiologist ...
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

TJ's Tips on Manuscript Review
Monday, October 4, 2010

Chinese plagiarism and the death of English-language journals
Friday, October 1, 2010

Allow Me a Formal Introduction
Friday, October 1, 2010
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Thomas Joseph

It's a Micro World after all is a blog dedicated to discussing pretty much whatever I feel like. When I delve into scientific matters it will primarily be discussing microbiology (agricultural, bioenergy, and environmental focus). Otherwise, I'll probably ramble on about sports and life.

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

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Awesome Stuff
Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ok folks, I just read possibly the worst paper I've ever had the misfortune of being asked to peer-review. To the editor who sent it to me ... you really don't like me, do you?  Anyways, here we go ...

1. Don't misspell the word "abstract". I mean, after the cover page, it's the first word on the first page! It's the first thing I read, and when I see that you spelled that word wrong, I am going to automatically assume that there are other misspellings. For you, the manuscript author, this is a bad thing (see #2).

2. I can understand grammatical errors, especially for foreign authors. It happens, and I realize the English language can be complex and hard to figure out. I make grammatical mistakes myself from time to time (I tend to misuse "that" and "which"). However, there is no excuse for spelling errors. Just about every program designed for document generation has a spell checker. If you can't be bothered to take the 10 seconds to spell check, I am going to assume that you are lazy.  Lazy is bad, because if you can't be bothered to check the manuscript, what makes me think you bothered to properly design your experiments? That you paid attention to detail ... that you gave a crap about any of the science? It's a rhetorical question because the answer is none. I have no assurance, because what I know about you is that you are lazy.

3. To my current review victim ... I can see what you did, and I can add up how much this study cost you. With all your reagents, it would cost me no more than $400 to do what you've done. Now, money should not be the sole issue that dictates whether I should look favorably on your study or not but consider this. The first method you used to cull your clones for sequencing was a good idea. Problem is, you picked less than three dozen clones to look at to begin with. You could have sequenced the whole darn kit-n-kaboodle at this rate and not bothered with the screen, and probably saved yourself some change. Also, the point for you to do screenings is that you can then get a feel for your OTU's (since this was an ecology paper). The point of figuring out your OTU's is to know if you've sampled enough and captured a good portion of the diversity. I could tell you without looking at the rarefaction curve that with less than three dozen clones you most likely wouldn't have exhausted the samples diversity, but it'd be nice to have confirmation. Doing that curve would have saved your hide! Like I said ... lazy. Heck, you can do that darn analysis in Excel!

4. Just because you found a dozen clones does not mean the gene is abundant in your environment. Are you crazy?!?

5. If you want to show only three figures, don't show me figures which only raise more questions ... like why did you ignore those three other bands on that gel? What the heck are they, do you even care? Lazy, lazy, lazy.

6. A paper, double-spaced at that, that weighs in at four pages of actual text is probably not going to be worth a damn.

7. Am I the only one that gets papers to review where the line numbers are skewed and don't actually seem to line up with the actual text? Who should I be mad at when this happens? The authors or the journal?

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Nikkilina
Washington University School of Medicine
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Um ... wow. Abstract, huh?


MeadandScience
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wow.  um, that sounds pretty bad. Is it reasonable to ask how it even got sent out for review?


Genomic Repairman
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For point 7 that is the journal's fault.  Money should not normally be an issue but you have to do something of some substance in order to publish in today's world.


Prabodh Kandala
Texas Tech University Health Science Center
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One of the worst things in the process of manuscript writing is not reading it thoroughly after every revision while writing it. I never did that for my first manuscript. My PI used to pick it very quickly.

I am not doing that mistake anymore though.

CK

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I once received a paper to review where the 'novel method' being described was to bash the organism with a hammer.  Seriously.  This paper also had three treatments, each with an n = 1.  I wrote back to the editor who had put the paper out for review and made it very clear that middle school students could do a better job than the authors of this paper.  Worse still, several months later I received a revised version of the same paper (with a little more downstream work, but no changes to hammer and n=1 issue, from the same journal.  At that point I sent it back to the editor and told her that I refused to be on their list of reviewers anymore because papers that poor should never leave the editor's desk in the first place.


Tideliar
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@CK: nice one!


Suzy
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Let me guess: AEM?


Thomas Joseph
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Jade, nope. Though AEM (Applied and Environmental Microbiology) once rejected a paper of mine for being "too applied".

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