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The NIH has announced that changes to the biosketch format are at hand, slated for applications going in early 2015. Although one never knows exactly what this institution is thinking, it’s likely that this change is being driven, in part, by the increasingly complicated nature of publication metrics. New journals and online-only journals, for example, don’t have reliable (or sometimes any) impact factors, so it’s getting harder and harder to easily judge journal quality. And there are simply so many more journals than ever, some good and some not so good. As Sally Rockey said in her column, “The new NIH biosketch emphasizes your accomplishments instead of just a list of publications, which, as previously discussed, we questioned as the best way to showcase your scientific contributions.”

What Has Actually Changed?

  • Five pages instead of 4
  • New section entitled “Contributions to Science”—described as “up to five of their most significant contributions to science, the influence of their contributions on their scientific field, and any subsequent effects of those contributions on health or technology.”
  • Ability to include all your publications, not just 15, via a link to SciENcv or My Bibliography
  • More emphasis on selling yourself and your research contributions

What Can You Do to Prepare?

  • Set up a SciENcv account if you don’t have one and start getting it accurate and up-to-date. You don’t want to be scrambling to do this when you have a proposal going in.
  • Start writing some “boilerplate” text for yourself (C3science can help) describing your scientific accomplishments. This text should be concise, compelling, and well-written! To repeat, C3 can help you draft these paras and have them ready to go. Dr. Rockey says this will be the primary focus of the new biosketch so don’t neglect it until the last minute. You don’t want to sound clumsy, tentative, or under-sell your research thus far. On the other hand, you don’t want to sound like a used car salesperson. Tone is important.

2015 is not too far away so start thinking about these changes and what you want to emphasize about your lines of research thus far. C3 is available to start helping you draft text and get it shipshape and ready to go.

And… have a happy summer from C3.

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