Best of Nature Network for Monday, June 30: PhDs in the Workforce, Choosing a Graduate Program, and the End of Scientific Modeling?

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In the Science in Brisbane forum, William Burns brings up a recent report that states Australia has fewer PhDs in the workforce than other countries. The report recommends that Australia seek to increase the number of doctorate level employees in the workforce. Burns wonders whether that recommendation is worthwhile, “Aren’t we (us lot with PhDs) an impractical, overly-analytical bunch?” While the response to the posting is split, Jon Moulton suggests that, “Without Ph.D.s in the workforce, who will design those new tools the academic Ph.D.s like to use in their research?”

Ever wonder how reviewers for journal articles are chosen? In the Ask the Nature Editor group, Ravi K wonders how one can become a reviewer for a Nature Journal: “Is it purely on invitation basis, or can one volunteer their services in their area of research?” A number of Nature editors respond.

On the heels of an article in Wired, which suggests that scientific modeling may soon be an outdated approach, David Basanta asks, “Does any one else think that traditional science is a thing of the past and that cloud computing will drive us modelers to the employment office?” The ensuing discussion covers issues ranging from open data to the potential for a “cultural shift in the way we look science.” Bob O’Hara continues the discussion on his blog.

Tai-Chung Huang is in the process of deciding whether UK or US-based graduate programs are the best fit for his goals. He asks, “…for admission to UK’s school, what matters most? The past publications? recommendation letters? or the hard-selling of introducing oneself via email?”

Nature Network users test their knowledge of scientific legends by attempting to identify the scientists pictured on a mural at the Royal Institution of Great Britain (Ri). Guesses range from George Clooney to the more probable Ludwig Mond. The plot thickens when Matt Brown clarifies that, “…these [persons] are not scientists, but architects and benefactors connected with the Ri.” A number of them remain clouded in mystery. Take a crack at identifying these historic individuals yourself.

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