Wednesday, September 22, 2010

PLoS One: Not a real science journal

I love the open-access concept for scientific journals. There is no reason why someone should have to pay $35 to read my papers. PLoS is one of the first and largest open-access science journals out there. Some of their journals, like PLoS Biology, are very prestigious places to publish and have put out many amazing studies. They also have a vigorous peer-review process. Unfortunately, to subsidize publication in their premier journals, PLoS pretty much lets anyone who's willing to pay a couple of thousand dollars to publish anything in their barely peer-reviewed journal PLoS One. Their argument for minimizing the peer-review process (and ignoring the scientific merit of their papers) is that it is reviewed by the global community. Unfortunately, all it does is get a bunch of non-scientists make a big deal of a crappy study for being published in a scientific journal. Don't get me wrong, there have been some nice papers I've read in PLoS One, but they also let in a lot of crap (70% of what's submitted is published), like this recent one about a model for Moses parting the Red Sea, that has absolutely no scientific merit. Because of this, PLoS One made it to my Fake Science list.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The waiting game

My applications are in for residencies. Now I play the always-fun waiting game. Actually, with radiology, an intern year in either an internal medicine, surgery, or transitional (short rotations of everything) program is required, so I've got twice the applications and (hopefully) twice the interviews. The two programs are essentially independent of each other, so all of this is further complicated by the fact that I would like to stay in the same city for all programs. With radiology being so competitive, I've got a lot of programs on my list. I'm happy to say that I've got one interview already, although it's only an intern year interview... nonetheless, it seems like all that effort I put into applications is actually producing something.

Just for those that don't know (and for me when I look back at all this craziness), the whole residency application process starts with completing an application at a central computerized program, uploading a personal statement about why you want to go into the field you chose, and uploaded grades, national boards scores, letters of recommendation by your medical school. The application goes out to any program you want to click on. This makes it really easy (but pretty expensive) to apply to a lot of programs. Once the you choose the programs, the waiting game involves waiting for them to download your application, go over it, compare it with other applicants and decide to send you a short e-mail that they like you enough to see you in person. This process can take from a few days after submitting for some programs to several months for others (which results in applicants agonizing over whether they got interviews all through the fall and into the winter). Next, you interview at the programs that choose you. Then, by sometime in February, you make a rank list indicating where you want to end up the most from the programs that interviewed you. Finally, on March 17th (this year), the "match," based on your rankings and the rankings of their applicants by the programs you interviewed at, decides where you'll end up for residency. I still don't know how the match exactly works, but (like almost everything in med school), I'm sure I'll figure it out when I get to it).

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Wanna look stupid?

Burn books.

Edit: Make that, if you wanna look stupid, give attention to a nut that wants to burn books. Seriously, that guy not only just increased his influence about 1 million times, but there will be hundreds of copycat nuts out their trying to get their 15 min. I don't care that it's the Koran, it more that the media and the government has elevated this guy's voice to an international level. A simple "who the hell are you" and "who cares" would have shut him up easily.