Welcome! This website is meant to be a directory of useful resources for individuals at different stages of their doctoral studies. PhD applicants can equally benefit from reading through our eclectic collection of relevant links, just as much as struggling PhD students, reevaluating their situation in the middle of grad school, if they got stuck with their “why?” during the thesis writing process. (Last update: January 2nd, 2023)
Twenty Things I wish I had known when I Started my PhD – Recent PhD graduate Lucy A. Taylor shares the advice she and her colleagues wish they had received – originally published on Nature.com (2018) – Download the article as a PDF from ResearchGate.
You and Your Research – an inspiring talk by retired Bell Labs scientist Dr. Richard W. Hamming, sharing his observations and research on the question “Why do so few scientists make significant contributions and so many are forgotten in the long run?” (1986)
10 Reasons Why I Love Academia – an insightful article on the advantages of academia, why pursuing a career in academia is different from a career in other sectors, and most importantly: why academics should sometimes complain a little less, and be more aware of their privileged position – by Eva Lantsoght (2015)
What PhD Life is Really Like – a somewhat ironically written article, touching down on a few characteristics of PhD life – by Dr. Mairi Young. The article has spurred some very interesting comments from readers since it was published in 2015.
5 Reasons You’ll Miss (But Really Won’t Miss) Academia – Read this article only, if you want to recap on all stereotypes about academia, such as: flexibility, free / discounted access to university resources, holiday vacations, paid conference travel, job security (e.g. tenure-track system).
I Love Being a Professor – some insightful rants on teaching, people, and purpose, pointing out that the grass is not necessarily greener elsewhere – by Pat Schloss (2017)
If you love research, academia may not be for you – Dutch figures show just how little time professors get for their own research. It may be easier to pursue your intellectual interests outside the university system, says THE reporter David Matthews (2018)
What’s love got to do with it? Being happy in academia – an article showing you some ways to love yourself and be happy in academia, such as: letting go of perfectionism, engaging daily in self-care (exercise, nutrition, sleep, social life), spending enough time with friends & family, etc. – by certified coach & change strategist Hillary Hutchinson (2018)
You do not need to work 80 hours a week to succeed in academia – by Meghan Duffy, UMich (2014)
Maarten van Doorn – Essays about how humans deal with information: biases & cognitive science; knowledge management & education and making our digitized information landscape truth-friendly!
Reimagining the PhD – a nicely written piece by Nadia Asparouhova (formerly known as Nadia Eghbal) on independent research, covering points such as: Writing your own curriculum, Staying close to your subject (Have a target audience in mind that you are trying to reach, and go spend time with them!), Working in public, Building your own support network, Finding ways to hold yourself accountable, Creating artefacts that work for your audience, Resisting the temptation to play “research dress-up”, and many more interesting insights (2019).
A PhD should be about improving society, not chasing academic kudos – Julian Kirchherr from The Guardian explains why current PhD system is fundamentally broken, as most academic work is aimed at insular academic circles rather than the real world, and is shared only with a particular scientific community, rather than policymakers or businesses, which makes it entirely disconnected from practice (2018).
Academia is now incompatible with family life, thanks to casual contracts an article in the Academics Anonymous Series of The Guardian (2016) suggests to make science better by supporting the people who conduct it, by making rewards and funding to universities dependent on how they treat their staff, and making world rankings weighted on how many staff are on permanent contracts.
What is an academic career? – Information about different routes into an academic career, University of Edinburgh, Scotland (2016)
What is Academic Research? – Scitable, by NatureEducation, a Collaborative Working Space for Science.
PsicoShop – a gift shop for psychologists, psychology students (in Spanish / en español) – if you have a friend who studies / practices psychology, surprise them with something funny & useful!
Why is Education So Important in Our Life? by Kafoumba Doumbia (2013) on the Columbia University EdLab blog.
Getting an academic job – A PhD is a solid foundation for progressing towards an academic career. Here’s how you can get started – by Daniel Higginbotham, Editor (Prospects.ac.uk)
This University Has The Highest Paid Professors In America – At the top of the list is Harvard, which pays its full professors an average of $198,400 a year. Stanford, however, pays its associate professors the most, with an average salary of $131,200 annually – by Julie Zeveloff (2012)
How Much Does a College Professor Make? – The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average salary of a University Professor was $75,430 annually as of May 2016. The lowest-paid 10 percent of all University Professors earn less than $38,290, while the highest-paid 10 percent are paid more than $168,270 per year.
5 Reasons Why Undergraduates Should Do Research – on the official blog of UC Davis (University of California, Davis)
What Is The Purpose Of Knowledge? – some thought-provoking questions by the folks who run Alpha House.
Foundations of Integrity in Research: Core Values and Guiding Norms – Chapter 2 in Fostering Integrity in Research, published by The National Academies Press in 2017
What are the characteristics of good researcher? – a ResearchGate Q&A thread, started by Dnyaneshwar Vithalrao Mule, North Maharashtra University (2016)
What Is Career Education? – Career education (both for students and adults) can help a person develop the knowledge and skills they need to choose and pursue a career path – by Learn.org
Education: The Most Powerful Weapon for Changing the World – posted on the US Aid Blog by Arne Duncan, former US Secretary of Education (2013)
How much is the average salary of a university lecturer in the UK? – The average pay for a Lecturer in the United Kingdom is £35,104 per year.
Working in the Education Sector – The education sector offers many opportunities for professionalization at a variety of experience levels. Employment opportunities vary from teaching and training to finance and human resources.
The Seven Secrets of Doctoral Success – this is the list you want to start with on Day One of your PhD. Print it out and tape it on your wall. These 7 tips for wannabe PhDs, based on research by Hugh Kearns and Maria Gardiner of Flinders University, will help you through grad school if you stick to them. The list is also highly relevant to MPhil and Honours students (or basically anybody embarking on a long-term intellectual journey in academia).
PhD: is the doctoral thesis obsolete? – Communication within the science world and with the public is becoming shorter and snappier, yet our PhDs still seem to be stuck in the 1960s. Should the foundations of a 21st-century academic career still be built on the traditional model? (2015)
It’s All About Community – in an interview with GradLogic.org, the director of the Southern Regional Educational Board Doctoral Scholars Program, Dr. Ansley Abraham offers three pieces of advice to doctoral students, such as: 1) Develop multiple strong mentoring relationships to provide guidance, 2) Find a community that provides support and honest dialogue, and last but not least 3) Don’t wait to ask for help when you are in trouble.
How Important is the GRE for Graduate School? – the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), which is a required element for application to most accredited graduate programs in the U.S. and Canada, may not be as significant as most people assume – as explained by Prof. Dave G. Mumby, PhD (2019)
30-Day Grad School Application Challenge – Get organized with templates, checklists, and guidance as you request letters of rec, research & finalize your list of schools, write your resume & personal statement, fulfill additional school requirements, finalize, upload. All within just 30 days. You’re gonna rock this! – @SpeechLyss.com (2018)
100 Reasons NOT to Go to Graduate School – This blog is an attempt to offer those considering graduate school some good reasons to do something else. Its focus is on the humanities and social sciences. The full list of 100 reasons will be posted in time. Some of the reasons: your family pays the prices, degrees go stale, Academics are unhappy, there is a social cost, etc. (2018)
This is how grad students of color are sharing their stories and building community to motivate and inspire – Grad School is hard, very hard. Oftentimes graduate students of color are so few and far between creating a community is a challenge making the journey that much more challenging. Below is a list of grad school creatives, hustlers, community builders and more creating content and community that not only shed light on our experiences navigating academia but encourage us to continue pushing through.
Why you shouldn’t apply for a PhD – a YouTube video explaining the (inverted) reasons of why you should do a PhD, in deed, by Simon Clark (2018)
Surviving Grad School – the insights and observations of an anonymous (but spot-on) Computer Science PhD student at an unnamed university in Canada.
There are a number of great PhD coaches who offer their services on the Web, in different ways.
PhD Academy – James Hayton, PhD offers a one-on-one PhD coaching service. Hiring him is like hiring a “ghost supervisor” – someone who’s guiding your every step from the shadows. Check out his webinars that offer online skills training for PhD students. You can access individual courses or sign up for a monthly membership to get access to everything! If someone is able to help you through your PhD, it’s James! Sign up now!
Grad Coach is an award-winning, “passionate team of educators and academics”, who helped over a thousand grad students already, with an impressive 100% Pass Rate. Their Dissertation Help Services include: 1-On-1 Dissertation & Thesis Coaching, Time-Saving Data Services, Pro-Grade Presentation Polishing. Check them out today!
Dora Farkas, PhD – Dora offers different packages, tailored to your needs (Publish Your Research, Finish Your Thesis, Dissertation Writing Program), as well as private coaching and live seminars to her growing community of PhD students in need of help finishing their theses faster.
Olga Degtyareva, PhD – Olga offers Productivity for Scientists. An accomplished research scientist herself, she has been coaching not only MSc and PhD students, but Postdoc researchers as well, since 2010.
Dr. Andrew Stapleton – Sign up for Andy’s newsletter and check out his YouTube channel to get “Insider PhD career advice no-one else will tell you”! or become a member of his platform Academia Insider!
Academic Mastery with Roam Research – Become an Intellectual Superstar: Learn more, connect deeper, and write better with the most advanced techniques for knowledge work!
Gaye Wilson, PhD – Gaye’s service (also dubbed as PhD Success), has been online since 2006, coaching PhD and Masters by Research Candidates all around the word. Gaye offers academic editing services, and you can find case studies on what PhD Coaching can do for you.
Jennifer Polk, PhD – Jen has been working as a career coach for graduate students and PhDs since 2013, and helped 100+ graduate students and PhDs launch meaningful careers. Her 1-on-1 consultations will make you gain confidence, feel less isolated, and – most importantly – take action in your own life, during and after grad school.
L. Maren Wood, PhD – Together with Jen Polk and a team of PhDs, Maren runs BeyondProf.com (“Beyond the Professoriate”), building a community of PhDs and empowering them in many different ways: They host monthly webinars and free career events, offer career advice & guidance on job search for PhDs, as well as on-campus workshops. What more can a struggling grad student or a recently graduated “Not That Kind of Doctor” ask for?
Alison Miller, PhD – Alison and her Team of experienced PhD consultants cover a wide range of academic disciplines, when it comes to offer you personalized dissertation coaching.
Dr. Cara Weston – Cara can get you to the Finish Line with A) The Four Week “Leap Forward” Dissertation Coaching Package, or B) The 10 Week “Stay on Track” Dissertation Coaching Package. Whichever option you choose, you can expect intensive dissertation coaching and support, designed for PhD students in need.
Dr. Maximillian Lemprière – Max offers language correction and proofreading services, and he can teach you how to structure and write your thesis, properly. He and his Team of PhDs prepared a “How to Write A PhD” course, which contains how-to guides, thesis templates and chapter cheat-sheets to make writing your thesis more straightforward, saving you time and money.
Dr. Helen Sword is a writing consultant, based in New Zealand. Check out her academic writing workshops!
A Happy PhD is a doctoral productivity, supervision and wellbeing blog, run by Dr. Luis Prieto, offering prospective doctorands “tips, tricks and advice to finish your doctoral thesis on time and with high spirits” – check it out now!
The Page Doctor is the academic consultancy of Dr. Amina Yonis. Proofreading & Feedback, University Applications, CV Check, Presentation and Poster Review, Mentorship, How to write a research proposal? – you name it, Amina most probably has got it!
PhD Workshops – Dr Stacey Bedwell and Dr Isabelle Butcher offer the ultimate springboard to your doctoral viva success. Through their rewarding online workshops, participants will learn the tools they need to achieve their goals and thrive in various elements of the PhD – including the viva, writing, communication and more.
Elicit is what you could call an AI-based “research assistant” using language models like GPT-3 to automate parts of researchers’ workflows. As of Mid-2022, the main workflow in Elicit is Literature Review. If you ask a research question, Elicit will show relevant papers and summaries of key information about those papers in an easy-to-use table which you can simply download for further use. Not only does Elicit save you tons of time, but you can discover “gems” you might not have found otherwise. Students and researchers in academia, at independent organizations, or operating independently find Elicit most valuable for finding papers to cite and defining research directions. Check out their Frequently Asked Questions for more information!
Reference Management tools
Overleaf – LaTeX, Evolved
The easy-to-use, online, collaborative LaTeX editor.
Papers – True to their slogan “Reference Management for Researchers, by Researchers”, Papers helps you collect and curate the research material that you’re passionate about. Their award-winning reference manager will dramatically improve the way you discover, organize, read, annotate, share, and cite.
Mendeley needs no introduction: every grad student who had to keep papers, references and notes in one place, must have used it by now.
Crossref makes research outputs easy to find, cite, link, assess, and reuse. (e.g. if you want to look up the DOI of a journal article, you can easily do it through CrossRef). CrossRef is a not-for-profit membership organization that exists to make scholarly communications better.
Academic writing tools
Cold Turkey Writer turns your laptop into a typewriter. You cannot do anything else, other than write, until your “self-inflicted” blockage period is over. It has a beautifully simple, clutter-free user interface, literally resembling a blank sheet of white paper, and an analogue typewriter. It is a combination of a simple, clutter-free writing tool and internet blocking software.
Typeset is the ultimate tool when it comes to write a scientific paper in a specific journal’s own format. Bonus feature: highly accurate plagiarism-check, providing you with a detailed report.
Scrivener may be a good choice for structuring larger documents, e.g. doctoral dissertations.
Evernote for all sorts of notes, may it be plain text, audio, visual or audiovisual content you need to store and organize.
The Hemingway App is a great tool to polish your style (a hint: remove unnecessary adverbs), your grammar and your punctuation.
Ulysses offers a focused writing experiencemt, combined with effective document management. Free trial available on all devices.
Notion is a great note-taking software.
Citavi is a reference management and knowledge organization tool for researchers, students, librarians, companies and organizations. Currently not available for Mac OS.
Academic Phrasebank (PDF) – A compendium of commonly used phrasal elements in academic English, in PDF format. 2014b Edition by Dr. John Morley, University of Manchester. Most probably the Number One source to go to, if you need to ramp up your use of academic phrases. Alos, check out this page for a bit of background info.
PublicBooks.org is the most comprehensive list of public book databases, aiming to catalog hundreds of titles that have been made freely accessible online by various academic presses worldwide.
Power Thesaurus is crowdsourced, free, and useful.
You can also find plenty of useful sources on the Internet on correct referencing, in order to avoid plagiarism of any kind.
Turnitin – Turn your paper in, will ya?!
UniCheck – All-Around Plagiarism Detection in Schools & Universities: Seamlessly embedded into your eLearning system, Unicheck automatically scans every paper and provides easy-to-read similarity results. Serving more than 1,300,000 students and 10,000 educators from over 1,100 institutions in 69 countries worldwide.
Quetext is a Plagiarism Checker & Citation Assistant, used by more than 5 million students worldwide.
iThenticate is used by researchers, publishers, and scholars, allowing you to check against 93% of Top Cited Journal content and 70+ billion current and archived web pages. Inquire at your university library / IT Department for academic access! 1,300 Top Journals worldwide use iThenticate to screen and review submissions.
Productivity Tools for Dissertation Writing
Microsoft To-Do – formerly known as Wunderlist, Microsoft To-Do is the new (free) version of the popular task management app, syncing across all platforms.
Cold Turkey Micromanager only allows you to use the applications you selected in your whitelist. Everything else will be restricted.
Cold Turkey Blocker is the ultimate internet blocking software, used by many academics these days. Everything that may distract you, can be blocked. Blocking out distraction is the only effective method to not lose focus during the thesis writing process.
Self-Control is a free (and open-source!) Mac OS X application to help you avoid distracting websites, your email servers, or anything else on the Internet. You can set a period of time to block for, or add selected URLs / websites to your blacklist. Until that timer expires, you will be unable to access those sites—even if you restart your computer or delete the application. The rules are the rules!
FocusMe – is the most powerful App and Website Blocker for Windows, Mac & Android. Free trial across all devices & operating systems available – no credit card required. (Plus their Android app is free by default, anyway).
Freedom blocks distracting websites and apps. It is THE app and website blocker for Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, and Chrome, used by over one million people worldwide, to reclaim focus and productivity. Experience the freedom to do what matters most. Block distracting websites and apps. Stay focused on what matters most. Social media, shopping, videos, games… these apps and websites are scientifically engineered to keep you hooked and coming back. The cost to your productivity, ability to focus, and general well-being can be staggering. Freedom gives you control. Start your free trial today!
Forest is a productivity app for mobile devices (iOS, Android) with a touch of environmentalistm. It allows you to work without being distracted, while at the same time, the real-tree-planting organization Trees for the Future is planting real trees somewhere on our planet. When Forest users spend virtual coins, the creators of Forest donate to create planting orders.
Apart from the stand-alone applications listed above, there is also a number of add-ons you can use in your browser. For Chrome, you can choose between StayFocusd, Limit, Pause, Mindful Browsing or WasteNoTime (also available for Safari).
Hocus Focus is a Mac menu bar utility that hides your inactive application windows automatically, to keep your screen clutter-free.
Rescue Time helps you understand where your time goes each day: while working in the background on your computer, phone, and tablet, it can show you exactly how you spend your time, without any manual entry required from you.
Call For Papers
Call4Paper.com calls itself “The World’s Largest Index Of Call For Papers”. Have a look and decide it for yourself!
WikiCFP.com – Since 2007, WikiCFP has been providing doctoral students with an up-to-date list of upcoming Calls For Papers. This is one of the most useful sources of its kind, listing over 50.000 CFPs in science and technology.
cpflist.com is another database you may find useful, if you are looking for a call for papers within your academic discipline.
PhD Conferences 2023 is a simple website listing PhD Conferences, Workshop, Calls for Papers, etc.
The Reaxys PhD Prize 2020 – Open for submissions! (as of February 2020). Since 2010, Elsevier’s Reaxys PhD Prize recognizes accomplished young chemists for their innovative and rigorous research. This global competition is open to anyone who is doing or has recently completed a PhD in any discipline of chemistry. Check out the 2019 Finalists!
European Physical Society – The European Solar Physics Division (ESPD) awards four prizes: 1) PhD Thesis Prize (yearly), 2) Early Career Researcher Prize (yearly), 3) Senior Prize (triennial), and 4) ESPM Student Poster Prize (every 3 years during the ESPM). Apart from the ESPM Poster Prize, each of the prizes are based on nominations, and are selected either by the board of the ESPD or an external committee for the Senior Prize. The prizes are awarded based on scientific excellence and the contribution to the advancement of solar physics research.
Check out these links to topics that may be of interest to you if you are a doctoral student or an academic researcher.
Our World in Data – find useful data (for free!) in all possible areas. Worth having a look: even if you are not sure what exactly you are looking for, you will certainly find something interesting!
Chartr offers a “data storytelling” newsletter, which means a bunch of interesting charts delivered to your inbox in an easy-to-digest format. You can get fresh insight into different industries regularly… and the best part? It won’t cost you a dime!
arXiv is “a free distribution service and an open-access archive for 1,824,121* scholarly articles in the fields of physics, mathematics, computer science, quantitative biology, quantitative finance, statistics, electrical engineering and systems science, and economics”. Materials on arXiv.org are not peer-reviewed by arXiv. (*as of January 2021)
PhD Talks is an initiative to grant researchers exposure among each other.
Postgraduate Forum – it does what it says – a classic, old-school forum to find questions and answers related to all sorts of doctoral and post-doctoral topics, from quirky to mainstream. See it for yourself!
PostDoc.com is a Postdoc Recruiting Platform, listing continually updated post-doc opportunities in all major scientific fields. Search for your next postdoctoral position now!
Working Sci-Hub Proxy Download Links – find well-compiled information on “sci hub proxy” and “sci hub links”, regularly updated by the guys at iLovePhD.com (Disclaimer: Doctorandum.com does not encourage you to use Sci-Hub.)
How to Identify SCIE and Scopus Indexed journals? is another informative blog post on Scopus Indexed Journals, by iLovePhD.com (2020), adding up to their other posts detailing Scopus Indexed Journals in Computer Science, Scopus Indexed Journals in Management, etc.
Publish or Perish is “designed to help individual academics to present their case for research impact to its best advantage, even if you have very few citations.” (Anne-Wil Harzing) In case you don’t know the original definition of “Publish and Perish” (“Publica o muere”), check the relevant Wikipedia article.
The Journal of Universal Rejection may be the most prestigious journal in the World (judged by acceptance rate, which is zero). Why don’t you submit your article?
Academics Write, Athene Donald’s Blog, Wendy Laura Belcher, Dan Cohen (Vice Provost, Dean, and Professor at Northeastern University), Diary of Doctor Logic, DoctoralWriting SIG, Raul Pacheco-Vega, PhD, Dr. Nadine Muller, Dr Ellie Mackin Roberts, Explorations of Style (A Blog about Academic Writing), Feral Librarian, From PhD to Life, From The Lab Bench, Green Tea and Velociraptors, Helen Kara, Jo Van Every, The Learning Scientists, Nick Hopwood on academic work, publishing, writing, PhD stuff, qualitative methods, etc., Pat Thomson, Professor of Education in the School of Education, The University of Nottingham, The PLOS ECR (Early Career Researcher) Community is a forum for the next generation of scientists and science writers, Reciprocal Space (Stephen Curry), Scientist Sees Squirrel, Shut up & Write Tuesdays, ThePhDBlog.com, The Research Whisperer, Claus O. Wilke, Writing for Research, The Sceptical Scientist, The Thesis Whisperer, Maryam Zaringhalam, Write, Publish, Thrive! A Blog about Writing, Publishing and the Scholarly Life.
Gifts for PhD students
13 Great Gifts for Academics – SciArt, a cool desk toy, a nice notebook, a posh pen, a non-academic book, a card game like #LabWars, a cat, noise-cancelling headphones, a backup plan, a book about writing, an expensive academic book, the usual novelty nonsense, or the Academia Obscura book.
Seven Perfect Present Ideas for PhD Students – An adjustable laptop desk, a Moleskine, a telescoping document tube, a wake-up light, an adult colouring book,
lab decor, or a charitable donation? Whatever makes you happy!
Unique Gifts for Graduate and PhD Students – a great selection of stuff.
…or you can check any of the marketplaces, such as Zazzle, Etsy, CaféPress, Amazon, eBay, Wallapop, Vinted…