Smart Academics

Free guidelines, checklists, worksheets and a lot of hands-on advice for PhD students, Postdocs, Researchers and everybody interested in boosting their performance in academia. 

All related to publishing, getting a PhD and a job, presenting and becoming an efficient researcher.

How to write your perfect paper
November 16, 2021Publish

#105: The perfect paper—and how to create yours!

Do you want to know how to write a perfect paper? What does a perfect paper look like? What is it doing differently? How is it written? And what topics should such a paper cover? Is it written by a genius? In this post, we will shed...

researcher thinking about paper topic
November 2, 2021Publish

#103: How to find a paper topic

Is writing a journal paper high up on your agenda? Then one of the first questions to clarify is what you’re going to write about. What is the topic of your paper? We know identifying a topic can sometimes be a painful process....

October 26, 2021Publish

#102: Why I teach paper-writing

Get to know what is behind Gunther’s drive to teach researchers how to write journal papers successfully. Find out what language, writing and creating a text means for him, and what the ups and downs in his scientific writing career...

PhD success stories
October 12, 2021PhD

#100: PhD success stories that motivate!

It’s celebration time in the Smart Academics Blog office, as we mark post #100. On this special occasion, we want to put the success of some of our previous students centre stage! Here, we’ll celebrate five researchers who successfully...

person afraid of thesis writing
October 5, 2021PhD, Publish

#99: Why is dissertation writing so scary?

Are you experiencing writing problems? Feeling uncomfortable when thinking about dissertation writing? Don’t let the mild symptoms of writing anxiety turn into something bigger! What might start as just low motivation can soon lead to...

Replace your supervisor
September 28, 2021PhD

#98: Should I replace my PhD supervisor?

Are you experiencing problems with your PhD supervisor? Are you not receiving the support you need, or have you been exposed to misconduct? Have you thought about changing your supervisor for some time, but can’t make up your mind? Are...

PhD candidate experiencing problems
September 21, 2021PhD

#97: How to deal with set-backs

Experiencing set-backs is inevitable during a PhD project. But it’s how you deal with these that can make all the difference. Here, we’ll teach you how to turn your set-backs into growth, and  get your PhD project back on the...

September 14, 2021Publish

#96: Plagiarism and how to avoid it

Are you afraid that you will be accused of plagiarising ideas from other researchers in your paper? Are you worried that someone else is using your work without referencing it? In this post, learn what plagiarism is and how you can...

5 presentation tips to improve any presentation
September 9, 2021Present

#95: Apply these 5 tips to improve any presentation

Are you going to present your research to an audience soon? Do you want to deliver a great talk that your audience will remember? Whether you’re presenting face-to-face in front of a live audience, or delivering a virtual talk at an...

August 10, 2021Efficiency

#94: The researcher’s guide to holidays

Are you going on a (summer) holiday this year? Really? You dare leave your desk and unfinished work behind? You plan to just stop working for a couple of weeks—in the middle of the year? Leaving your data unattended? Braveheart! You’re...

July 20, 2021Publish

#92: How reading motivates my writing

In this post, Jonathan, a doctoral researcher in human geography, provides valuable insights on how his scientific writing is stimulated by his reading. He suggests working with content blocks to build papers, and encourages you to be...

Journal metrics
June 22, 2021Publish

#90: Journal metrics—a quick guide!

If you regularly hear colleagues talking about things like Impact Factor, SJR, SNIP, CiteScore, or Google Scholar Metrics but don’t fully understand what these mean—we can help you. Here we provide a quick guide to the most relevant...

men reviewing paper
June 15, 2021Publish

#89: What makes a good review report?

Have you been asked to review a paper for a journal? Or have your colleagues asked you for a friendly review of their manuscript? In both cases, you want to deliver a thoughtful review report that is helpful and constructive. In this...

people welcoming others at conference
May 11, 2021Efficiency, PhD

#87: How to end COVID-loneliness

Many PhD candidates are suffering from isolation due to COVID-19 related restrictions. Whether this means you can’t travel, can’t meet other PhDs, friends or family, or you can’t even access your institute or lab – most PhD...

Schedule to plan PhD workday
April 27, 2021PhD

#85: Planning your PhD workday

Are you like Hanna, one of our course participants, who asked herself how she could structure her PhD work days? Are you looking for any proven strategies how and when to plan your days? In this blogpost, we show you 6 steps for...

job candidate being interviewed
March 23, 2021Job

#83: How to master the online job interview

Are you in the process of switching jobs? Is your PhD coming to an end and you’re eyeing that first postdoc position? Or preparing yourself for an advanced research position, or becoming an assistant professor? Due to ongoing...

Graffiti do not waste time!
March 9, 2021Efficiency

#82: The top 7 time-wasters of researchers

Do you feel that some of your time is wasted with pointless activities? Wishing you could make better use of your working hours to move your research and your career forward? Here, we discuss the most common time-wasters for...

PhD student with laptop
February 16, 2021PhD

#81: Meet your PhD supervisor online!

Are you missing out on encounters with your PhD supervisors while working off-campus? Feeling more lonely, and low in motivation to progress with your work? Why not arrange more encounters in an online-space? We suggest two great...

laptop with academic job portal open
January 19, 2021Job

#77: When should I start searching for my next job?

Do you need a new academic position any time soon? Here, we help you by breaking down this major task into three phases, and give you a time-line according to which you can organise your own job search. From preparing a cover letter to...

clock and note book - time for PhD dissertation writing
December 9, 2020PhD, Publish

#74: No time for dissertation writing?

Is dissertation writing high on your list of things to do, but you just have no time to write? Do you think it might be too early in your PhD to get started on writing the dissertation? Here, we present five common excuses for why...

December 1, 2020PhD

#73: What’s needed to finish your PhD?

Are you uncertain if you are ready to submit your PhD dissertation? Or hesitant to wrap up your work and move your project to the finish line? You might be stuck in the wrong mind-set, or not sure if you’ve enough material, or simply...

messy desk with sticky notes
November 24, 2020PhD

#72: 1000 things to do – no clue where to start

Do you feel overwhelmed by the amount of tasks waiting for you? No idea what to turn to first? We’ll help you gain clarity over your endless list of PhD tasks, and decide what is most important to focus on. Let us help you regain...

Woman with guitar enjoying her life!
November 17, 2020PhD, ,

#71: How to get a private life and a PhD

Do you struggle to maintain a private life while studying for a PhD degree? Is your PhD expanding indefinitely at the expense of everything else? We know how it feels to be overworked and out of balance. In this post we show you 6 ways...

What a cucumber taught me about perfectionism
November 3, 2020Efficiency, PhD

#69: What a cucumber taught me about perfectionism

Do you look for excellence in every piece of work you do? Do you want to write the perfect email, the perfect paper, the perfect job application? In this blog post, we tell you why it is sometimes better to go with a less perfect...

Best team of PhS supervisors
October 27, 2020PhD

#68: PhD Support: Pick the perfect co-supervisor

Are you aware of how much a good co-supervisor can influence your PhD process? Did you know that many PhD students can add co-supervisors throughout their PhD? Not sure who you should pick? Here, we outline the process for finding the...

shelf with academic papers
October 13, 2020Publish

#67: Writing productivity: Write more in less time

13 October 2020, by TRESS ACADEMIC  Writing productivity is at the heart of your academic performance. If you want to be a good academic scholar, recognised by peers, and have an impact on your research field and society, being a...

Afraid that your paper gets rejected?
September 29, 2020Publish

#65: Are you afraid your paper gets rejected?

What is the worst thing that can happen to your paper? Getting rejected? Oh yes, this is a scary thought and you don’t want it to happen to you. But being frightened of the process and scared of the outcome of peer-review doesn’t bring...

How to work on your paper without struggle
September 22, 2020Publish

#64: How to work on your paper without struggle

If you struggle with writing a paper, we’ve got some help for you. Here, we show you how to optimise your writing environment, writing process, and the paper itself so that it will be far easier to produce your paper. You will see that...

Ten hacks for writing my thesis
July 21, 2020PhD, Publish

#61: Ten hacks to quick-start your thesis writing!

OK, it’s dissertation writing time. But how do you get started? Which sections are best to begin with? Are there any steps that should be completed beforehand? Is there any technique that helps speed up the process? The answer is yes,...

Are you delayed with your PhD?
July 14, 2020PhD

#60: Are you delayed with your PhD?

Are you having anxieties about handing in your dissertation later than you’re expected to? We encourage you to do something about your delay and never giving yourself and your project up to fate! Instead, elaborate on the reasons that...

Overwhelmed by your PhD work
July 7, 2020PhD

#59: Overwhelmed by PhD work? Here’s the way out!

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by all the tasks you’ve got to tackle for your PhD? Do you feel like there’s simply too much you should be doing right now? No idea where to start? And when you start somewhere you’re unsure if what...