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.

November 1, 2022Efficiency, PhD

#134: The art of taking breaks

Do you find yourself working non-stop? Feeling like you can’t allow yourself to pause? It’s a hectic time right now for most of us, and canceling breaks might be a normal response if you feel pressured to catch up or increase...

How to take effective meeting notes
September 13, 2022Efficiency

#131: How to take effective meeting notes—and why?

Taking notes from meetings, conversations or presentations is a very effective way to benefit from what you’ve heard and commit it to memory and practice. You may think it is not necessary because you will remember what’s being said...

August 2, 2022Job, PhD, Supervise

#129: 10 excellent ways to get teaching experience

Teaching expertise is necessary when applying for a professorship or any other permanent staff position. Yet how are you going to pick up teaching skills if your current appointment does not include teaching or supervision duties?...

June 28, 2022Present

#127: How to rehearse a scientific presentation

Good scientific presentations are the result of preparation and rehearsal. Even if you carefully prepare, you won’t automatically deliver a good talk: You need to rehearse it. But how? What is the best way to rehearse a presentation?...

How to become a reviewer
June 7, 2022Publish

#125: How to become a reviewer for a journal?

Do you want to become a peer-reviewer for an academic journal? Do you want to help journals assess papers but have not been asked yet and have no idea what you need to do to be invited? Here are 10 tips to help you become a reviewer...

May 31, 2022Job

#124: How to find a job you like

Are you near the end of your PhD or a postdoc position? Then thinking about the next career move is a crucial, yet often daunting task. Being in the final phase of one academic career stage and about to enter the next is typically a...

Publishing papers from a PhD thesis
May 17, 2022PhD, Publish

#123: Publishing papers from a PhD thesis

If you have completed your PhD with a monograph, AKA a thesis, you might wonder if you can convert your thesis into journal papers. Are you allowed to do this, and what is the best way to do it? Here, we describe the steps you should...

person in front of slogan 'good'
May 10, 2022Publish

#122: How do you get published in a good journal?

Publishing a paper in a good journal is not about being lucky or knowing the right people, and it doesn’t require magic either. Getting published in a good journal requires solid scholarship that is presented in an excellent way to the...

May 3, 2022Publish

#121: How do you prevent paper rejection?

Whether you’re a newbie or a more experienced writer, rejections can happen to everyone, and the fear of receiving a negative response from the journal is omnipresent. But you can do quite a lot to prevent your paper from rejection and...

scientist feeling bored due to administrative duty
April 5, 2022Efficiency

#118: How to tackle tedious admin tasks?

We have all had our experiences with administrative hurdles and likely been driven up the walls more than once in failed attempts and wasted hours trying to figure out how exactly we’re supposed to complete a particular admin task. In...

March 1, 2022PhD

#114: PhD-journey with obstacles and happy end!

In this special post, Dr. Amandine Colson shares her PhD Success story. Her PhD was anything but easy, but she’s here to tell you what helped her persist, and what motivated her not to give up in spite of considering this as a very...

PhD candidate planning the project
February 15, 2022Efficiency, PhD

#112: PhD project-planning quick-start

Let’s get straight to the point: If you realistically want to have a chance of finishing your PhD on time, you’ll have to plan your project. More specifically, you have to apply project management techniques and appoint yourself the...

What if Santa started a PhD?
December 21, 2021PhD

#108: What if … Santa started a PhD?

Just before the festive season, we wonder: what if Santa started a PhD position in your department? What kind of experience would he have? Why would he want to do it, and would there be anything we can learn from Santa as a fellow PhD...

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....

Gunther Tress
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...