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Hayes Graduate Research Forum Series Spotlight: Michelle Scott

In this series, we are highlighting the experience of past winners of the Hayes Graduate Research Forum, which will take place virtually this year on April 9, 2021.

In our third installment, DDS and PhD Graduate Fellow, Michelle Scott, discusses her research, how the Hayes Forum helped her step out of her comfort zone and the importance of perseverance.

My first time presenting my research as a graduate student was as exciting as it was terrifying. What if I could not answer my judge’s questions? Or forgot how to explain the data analysis? Yet as daunting as it had been, it was in this space that I learned an essential aspect of being a graduate student: how to communicate my work. We spend a significant portion of our time diving further into our topics to understand as much as we can, but what good is this if we cannot explain our findings or reasoning? Since my first poster presentation, I have wanted to develop the skills necessary to communicate my science to all audiences. For me, the Hayes Forum marked stepping out of my comfort zone in dental and craniofacial sciences and into a space where my poster stood surrounded by all disciplines. Though I still have plenty to learn, being a part of last year’s Hayes Forum helped me to frame my research through a new lens and further develop the speaking abilities that will be crucial to my future goals.

My research is focused on the oral cavity and the oral microbiome, which is the complex microbial ecosystem that exists within our mouths. This environment is under a constant barrage from our everyday routines, and some of these behaviors can disrupt the delicate balance between our microbes and our immune system. One behavior that has been well studied is the impact of smoking cigarettes. Many studies have illustrated how cigarette smoke reduces beneficial bacteria, allowing pathogenic species to flourish and contributing to periodontal disease. E-cigarettes are an alternative to traditional cigarettes that are marketed as safer and healthier, but there is limited research into their health impact. My project presented at last year’s Hayes Forum focused on understanding how e-cigarettes impact the oral microbiome and bacterial metabolism. We saw that oral bacteria could metabolize the ingredients in e-cigarettes and the glycerol/glycol vehicle provided a carbon source that helped to fuel the significant increases in bacterial biofilm growth that we observed. Our next steps are to look at the interactions between the oral microbiome and human epithelial cells to understand how e-cigarettes impact the balance between our cells and our microbiome. My goal is to learn the necessary skillset to look at health as the combination of us and our microbes and understand how our lifestyles alter this balance.

Getting involved in research was one of the highlights of my undergraduate experience, and I encourage all students to try it out in at least some capacity. There are many great programs both on our campus and at other universities, ranging from volunteering to summer internships to research assistant jobs. I also urge students to present at as many conferences and forums as they can. It may not always go as expected, but the skills developed from presenting are applicable beyond just research. Even when things seem far from ideal, in those moments I have found that I grow the most. Some of my best presentations came after I forgot my poster or computer and had to drive back home to retrieve it. Even when a presentation feels failed from the start, persevering through this can sometimes produce better results than if things had gone as planned.

Hayes Graduate Research Forum Series Spotlight: Elizabeth Jergens

In this series, we are highlighting the experience of past winners of the Hayes Graduate Research Forum, which will take place virtually this year on April 9, 2021.

In our second installment, fourth-year PhD candidate in Chemical Engineering, Elizabeth Jergens, discusses her PhD journey, Hayes Forum experience and the important role mentorship has played.

When I started my PhD journey here at OSU, I had exactly zero experience with and knowledge about nanotechnology. Now, I am a fourth year PhD candidate in Chemical Engineering under the advisement of Dr. Jessica Winter. The main interest of my research is studying the interactions of DNA and nanoparticles for biological applications. At the Hayes Forum in 2020, I presented my work on the use of DNA cages for erasable fluorescent imaging. To sum up the important points, we produce custom nanoparticles in our lab that contain a fluorescent dye and we coat the surface of these nanoparticles with DNA tiles. These DNA tiles interlock with each other and have several targeting strands made of single-stranded DNA. This single stranded DNA will want to bind with a complimentary strand of DNA that we have conjugated to antibodies thus allowing for labeling of cells or tissue. DNA will want to bind to the most complimentary strand available which in this case allows for the removal of the DNA cages. Over the course of 15 minutes using DNA and a simple salt solution, up to 80% of the labeled signal can be erased. In the future, we hope to apply to histological samples using both fluorescent and colormetric dyes.

I decided to participate in the Hayes Forum for the past few years to practice my presentation skills and get better at explaining my research to those who are outside my area of expertise. Scientific research is very important but if the information can’t be communicated to the general public then the research means nothing. I hoped that the Hayes Forum could help me with this, and I believe that it did. To those who are considering presenting at the Hayes Forum in the future, I would highly encourage it. My advice is to keep your abstract simple with plain language so that people who are outside your field can easily understand the information that you are trying to provide.

My advice to anyone who wants to get involved in research at OSU is find work that interests you and is being done by a mentor that will help you learn and grow as a researcher. The research can be extremely interesting but if you don’t get to be involved how you want, then the work won’t be fulfilling. I am very grateful to be working with Dr. Winter since her work style matches mine and she pushes me to be better and think deeper about my research every day. In the future, I hope to be as a good a mentor as she is.

Hayes Graduate Research Forum Series Spotlight: John Harden

In this series, we are highlighting the experience of past winners of the Hayes Graduate Research Forum, which will take place virtually this year on April 9, 2021.

In our first installment of the series, Political Science PhD student John Harden discusses his research journey, his Hayes Forum experience, and offers advice to other student researchers. To learn more about John’s research you can visit his website. John welcomes anyone interested in connecting with him about his research or graduate school experience to email him.

I am a Political Scientist interested in International Relations. I focus on the human factor in International Relations. More specifically, my research agenda analyzes the role that grandiose narcissism, a personality trait, plays in preference formation and subsequently foreign policy decision-making. In other words, I think that while Donald Trump is unique, he is certainly more like a Richard Nixon rather than a Gerald Ford. I want to understand how Trump and Nixon’s desires and behaviors are similar. So far, I have found that more narcissistic presidents showboat on the international stage by eschewing allied assistance and unilaterally engaging in Great Power conflict. Some have wryly mentioned that they hear echoes of Trump insulting US allies and constantly discussing China when I present my findings. The data speaks!

Picture of President Richard Nixon

The path to completing this research has been a long one, and graduate school has not always come naturally. Nearly 45% of students who complete their PhD have at least one parent with a graduate degree. Meanwhile, under 15% of Americans have a graduate degree. I was raised by a single mother for the first few years of my life. She dropped out of college to work and care for me. My (step)-father is the only member of my entire family who had completed his Bachelor’s Degree. I attended community college as an undergrad and found myself relatively lost when first navigating graduate school. It was a dauting task. I wager that other graduate students, especially those from similar backgrounds, share this experience.

My advice to student researchers looking to get involved in research at Ohio State is to practice being assertive and resourceful. Like most things in life, collaborative research opportunities will rarely fall in your lap. You often must take initiative by finding those opportunities and asking to be involved. You should build relationships with faculty conducting research you find interesting. I recommend helping a faculty member with their research for a semester or two before diving head-first into your own projects. Additionally, it’s important to find an advisor who is supportive enough of your research and success to provide strong critiques of your work.

My dissertation committee members are simultaneously a source of morale support and pointed critique. When forming my dissertation committee, I kept my mind on recruiting faculty with competing opinions on the big questions in our field. I have strengthened my dissertation project by navigating their disagreement, finding compromise where possible, and accepting that I cannot resolve some decades-long theoretical disputes (despite my early idealism). I want to thank Christopher Gelpi, Randall Schweller, and Amy Brunell for their support over the past few years. I give special thanks to Richard Herrmann, my dissertation chair, who has dedicated an immense amount of time and effort into molding me into a successful researcher and academic contributor.

I participated in the 2020 Hayes Forum because I wanted a chance to both share and strengthen my research. I thought that my research would be interesting to researchers in other fields. Presenting at the Hayes Forum strengthened my research by helping me figure out how to drop the language of my field to speak to a wider audience. While shifting language may sound like a relatively easy endeavor, PhD students are trained to use technical language for years. It can take some mindfulness and conscious work to briefly reverse this training for more diverse audiences.

Picture of John Harding receiving Hayes Forum award.

Edward F. Hayes Graduate Research Forum Friday February 28, 2020 (Jim Bowling – The Ohio State University Office of Student Life Photo Credit)

I was surprised and humbled to win first prize in my division at the Hayes Forum. My advice for others participating in the forum is to practice your presentation by translating your field’s technical language to everyday language. Do not drop the technical language entirely! Instead, first say what you did in technical language, and then immediately translate it to everyday language. This is something I noticed all the prize winners in my division did.

In the future, I will continue to work in academia so that I can engage with my research interests while helping younger scholars explore their ideas. My experience with the Hayes Forum has taught me the importance of presenting my research to wider audiences. I will continue to ask questions that wider audiences care about. I hope to use my talents as a researcher to help work towards a better future.

Tweaking and Cleaning Up Data Visualizations: The Role of Adobe Illustrator

By Data Visualization Specialist Lee-Arng-Chang


On the left is a visualization created using R and tweaked in stages using Adobe Illustrator to what you see on the right. The in-depth tutorial can be accessed by clicking the picture above.

If you have ever used a data visualization tool, be it Microsoft Excel, Tableau, R, or any of the multitude of tools out there, you have most likely encountered a situation where there was something relatively simple you wanted to do to your visualization, but couldn’t figure out how without spending hours looking for and finally implementing a roundabout solution. Maybe it was swapping in specific colors palette, or adding and deleting a line or two, or adjusting spacing between elements. The fact of the matter is that it can be challenging to create a visualization using only one tool. Adobe Illustrator plays an important role in addressing this problem by allowing you to make direct, manual changes to “tweak” and “clean up” a visualization.

As with all things, there are three caveats that you should be aware of when utilizing Adobe Illustrator as a data visualization tweaker/cleaner:

  • Your data visualization should be in a vector file format, NOT a raster file format. That means you will need to be able to export your visualization as a vector file format (.svg, .eps, .pdf, .ai) and load it into Adobe Illustrator to be able to make the changes that you want.
  • If you are new to the Adobe programs, you may be overwhelmed. Adobe Illustrator is a professional graphic design tool that has a LOT of features. Ask for help! The steps to make adjustments in Illustrator are usually very simple and straightforward once you are shown how to do it. Feel free to send me an email or schedule a consultation!
  • Along with the power to directly change every aspect and element within your visualization comes the time sink for making lots of manual changes as well as the disconnection between your data and your visualization. Make sure you are mostly complete with the substance of your visualization before moving to Adobe Illustrator for final touches.

Here are just a few common ways you may want to use Adobe Illustrator for any final tweaks:

  • Add text, annotations, and labels in any position and orientation on your visualization.
  • Add visual elements such as lines, callouts, and shaded areas.
  • Delete visual elements such as boxed areas, gridlines, and anything that might take away from the visual clarity and readability of your visualization.
  • Assign specific colors to any visual element, like shapes, bars, and lines.
  • Adjust spacing if labels are too close together or your visualization need to be compressed to fit specific dimensions.

Alli Torban has a short post on bringing a visualization from RAWgraph (a free, web-based data visualization tool) and cleaning it up in Adobe Illustrator. We will be doing a demo if this tool in April – click here to register.

Click here to learn more about your eligibility to use Adobe Illustrator as an Ohio State Affiliate. You can also request to use Adobe products such as Illustrator through our remote computer lab during business hours.

Navigating the Article Publishing Process: What is a Publishing Agreement?

This post is part four of a series covering topics found in the research guide Navigating the Article Publication Process.

What is a publication agreement?

When it comes time to publish your article, you may be presented with an agreement that defines the rights and responsibilities of both author and publisher. In this post we will discuss why it’s important to review your publishing agreement and some common terms you are likely to encounter.

Review your publishing agreement

In our last blog post, we discussed the rights given to authors under U.S. copyright law. Depending on the terms of the publishing agreement you are given, those rights may be transferred to the publisher or otherwise limited in a way that can impact how you use your article in the future. For this reason, it is important for authors to be proactive in reading their agreement and negotiating for favorable terms.

Here are some best practices when it comes to reviewing your publishing agreement:

  • READ your entire agreement. Keep in mind that some publishers may present the publishing agreement as an online, click-through agreement. In other cases, the publisher may provide a separate agreement for you to review and sign.
  • KNOW your rights. Before signing an agreement, it is important to understand the rights you initially hold in the article you’ve written and the rights you may be giving to the publisher by signing the agreement.
  • ASK for the rights you need and want. Take the time to reflect on how you would like to be able to use your article, now and in the future, and how you would like others to be able to use your article. Do the terms of your agreement allow you to keep the rights you need for those anticipated uses? Can you share or reuse your article in ways that are important to your future teaching or research? If not, have a conversation with your publisher to determine how the agreement can be modified to satisfy both parties.
  • SAVE a copy of your agreement. Whether you sign the agreement as-is or make modifications, it is important to save a copy of the final signed agreement for your records.

Common publishing terms and other provisions

Publishing agreements for articles may vary in length and complexity, but the list below provides some commonly included terms.

  • Copyright transfer: A transfer is defined in copyright law as “an assignment, mortgage, exclusive license, or any other conveyance, alienation, or hypothecation of a copyright or of any of the exclusive rights comprised in a copyright, whether or not it is limited in time or place of effect, but not including a nonexclusive license.”[1] With a transfer of copyright, an author gives some or all of their rights in the work to the publisher.
  • Non-exclusive license: In contrast to a transfer of copyright ownership, a non-exclusive license allows an author to keep rights in the work, granting permission to the licensee (the publisher) to use the work under the terms set out in the agreement. Because the license is offered on a non-exclusive basis, the author may continue to exercise those rights or grant the same permission to others to exercise those rights.
  • Rights granted to the Author/Permitted Uses: You may find within your agreement a section that addresses the rights you retain as an author for the future reuse of your article. In situations where you have transferred your rights to the publisher, this section covers your own permitted uses of your article. Some examples of permitted uses might include sharing limited copies with colleagues, using the article for teaching purposes, or incorporating portions into a future publication.
  • Representations and Warranties: Representations and warranties are statements made by the author that certain facts, in relation to the publishing agreement, are as promised. Here are some examples of representations and warranties that commonly appear in publishing agreements:
    • The submitted article is original and has not previously been published
    • The author has secured written permission for inclusion of all third-party material
    • The article does not infringe any rights of any other person or entity

Representations and warranties made by authors work to limit the risk to the publishers. Related, an indemnification clause in a publishing contract can place the author on the hook for compensation for any losses or damages stemming from a misrepresentation or breach of a warranty. For this reason, it is important to fully review any promise or statement of facts you may be making as an author. The Author’s Alliance guide to Understanding and Negotiating Publication Contracts provides great examples and tips for including more author-friendly terms in your agreement.

  • Manuscript versions: Publishers may differentiate between the version of your article, potentially allowing for more flexible use of earlier versions of your work. These different versions may be explicitly defined in your agreement. Here are the different versions you will likely encounter:
    • Preprint or Submitted Version: this is the original submitted version of your article
    • Accepted Manuscript or Postprint: the version of your article that has been through the peer review process
    • Publisher’s PDF or Publisher Version: the final version of record of your article
  • Embargo: Publishers may require a period of time during which your article, or certain versions of your article, cannot be made publicly available. As an example, a publisher may permit you to share a copy of your article on a personal website or institutional repository only after 12 months have passed from the date of publication. This is referred to as the embargo period.

As a recap, it is important to read your full publishing agreement before you sign. Know the rights you have as an author and the rights you may be giving up under the terms of your agreement. Anticipate future uses and the rights you would like to retain in your work, and negotiate for those rights and uses in your agreement. Lastly, save a copy of your final agreement.

Do you have questions about copyright and your publishing agreement? Copyright Services offers weekly consultation hours through Research Commons. More information on copyright can be found at the Copyright Services website.

[1] 17 U.S.C. § 101

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