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The initial purpose of this post was another. My aim was to discuss something I was told a week ago, something about my own loneliness. A friend of mine, who is one of the few people who really knows me and with her, I can be myself, told me that one of the most remarkable things why she considered me as a great friend of her, was that I had learnt to live alone and to enjoy my loneliness. Besides, she appreciated I don’t need anyone to be happy but myself.

I feel it’s clear I’m an introvert. Don’t get me wrong, please, for I’m not an anti-social. Anti-social is quite different since it refers to people who have no consideration for the well-being of others. Indeed, I consider myself as quite empathetic.

But the point is that I don’t enjoy being surrounded by lots of people at a party, at a familiar event or at a business meeting, being forced to share my feelings, gossips, opinions or whatever with people don’t care about me beyond these gossips.

Social relationships are fine, but not for everyone. Not for me. Does it mean I don’t have friends o relatives? Of course I do, and I get on well with them. I’m not happier telling my opinions or feelings to lots of people. I’m not more active getting surrounded by lots of chattering colleagues. I don’t like to share meaningless ideas with you. Please, don’t force me.

I don’t hate mankind, I’m just happy with my life as is, not as you pretend it could be. That’s why I don’t need a girlfriend, a boyfriend nor a cat. Please, don’t insist.

Why this post? Because I took a spare week, and being in the middle of it, I realised I didn’t talk to anyone but the postman, and that I didn’t watch the telly, so I’m quite happy with it! I currently live a healthy life: drinking tea and avoiding fatty meals. Along these days, I could advance in my Ph.D. thesis, because what I need was a lot of concentration and focusing on the research.

I didn’t talked to anyone, and the best thing is that I don’t miss it.

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I have been attending some classes on Scientific Research and Methodology. It is a new topic to me. My former education did not include such knowledge. It is a hard course, not because it is difficult, but because it is very demanding and challenging. Attendants have different backgrounds: computing experts, mathematicians, psychologists and so on.

While each one has different education, some of them are geeks, that is, they can code and have programming skills. One of them, however, is quite nasty. His manners, his arrogance, his lack of empathy… What actually caught my attention was the deep contempt shown for those who do not know how to code.

While he was speaking, I was listening to his dismissive attitude to languages such as Mathlab, R, o everything different from Python. Of course, he believed Python was like his Bible. He passionate advocated the usefulness of this programming language.

Besides his disrespectful manners, he seemed to me as a person unable to acknowledge the merits of somebody else, even when they are better or they deserve more.

When somebody is trying to learn how to code, like me, encouraging words are always welcome. I can’t help remembering my friend Wilder, an enthusiastic programmer, eager to share his knowledge. How different from each other they are.

This post is dedicated to him, to Wilder, because not all heroes wear a cape.

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Today I would like to talk about envy. It is quite difficult for me to talk about feelings. Since English is not my mother tongue, I think I’m not able to give subtle nuances of human feelings. I feel some resentment (but not ressentiment), after the lecture at the hospital with Ignacio Hern├índez Medrano. To be honest, I must admit that he’s young and handsome. His physical appearance is quite cool, with a fresh, casual, lighter tone. He knew how to bring the focus on himself.

He was talking about exponential medicine for an hour. From my point of view, I was like attending a one-hour TED-Talk. He’s a speaker, some kind fo social communicator, who aims to instill excitement in the audience in the same way he feels it. However, he also played effectively upon our opinions. He was quite good at manipulating words, images and ideas. He made us believe in his own aims.

The entire audience was impressed and the speaker was hailed and applauded. By mentioning cognitive bias several times and the dangers involved, he made us think what he actually though. We were manipulated by some kind of cognitive bias. Well done. I don’t know if he’s a scientist, but I believe he’s some kind of an entertainer, a performer.

As far as I’m concerned, this was annoying: the appreciation and recognition I haven’t had for my work. I feel I’m surrounded by fools, by technologically illiterate colleagues who don’t know and will probably never learn how to work a computer or any form of technology. I’ve tried to teach them some skills on technology, with a very poor outcome. They never appreciated my work, my skills in computing, they never recognised my projects. However, a foreign speaker went to the hospital and told them what I tried to teach them all these years.

He talked about his technological projects, his stay at Singularity University (founded by Nasa and Google), so he gained the affection of his audience. He was appreciated. I wasn’t.

My work has been poorly recognised and rewarded, but from now on, it’s more painful, like rubbing salt in the wounds, like adding insult to injury.

So, my envy, my jealousy, my resentment, are not against the person, but against those around me.

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I have just turned forty. Why is this so important? I have been several weeks thinking about my obsolescence. Obviously, I am not yet obsolete, but I recently had a conversation with a friend, who told me he believed himself he was not as creative as when he was younger.

I am having more difficulties than I first thought in find a suitable topic for my thesis. I firmly believe it is because I have lost my inspiration and creativity. That is the reason why I believe I am quite outdated.

One of my favourite films is Antitrust. I know its rate is quite poor, but despite the bad acting, I love the plot, and I could say the same about another film: Hackers. Anyway, for me, they are cult films. When I first saw these movies, I wanted to become them: some kind of young promises willing to change the world.

Hackers, scientists, artists… they give their best when they are young. They are keen to learn, have initiative, and show openness and interest in any topic. But I feel my time is up. No more creative talent, no more inventive mind.

I recently bought a Raspberry Pi. I find it very interesting and, since I am very familiar with Internet servers, I quickly installed SAMBA, SSH, DLNA, etc. But a lot of more interesting and fantastic projects are being carried out, more than just installing the same stuff again and again. So this is me, with my brand new Raspberry Pi, unable to think of better ideas, to have new things to do with it.

I am even having difficulties in writing this post in English. What is happening to me? Am I outdated? Has my time run out? Have I lost my talent along the way? Doing a Ph.D. is harder than I thought, and involves an intense psychological struggle. I do not know how much longer I can bear this stress and mental suffering.

Good night.

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I wonder that question again and again, and to be honest, I don’t have any suitable answer yet. It’s been a long time since I decided to make a Ph.D. and to begin to publish scientific papers. I don’t know if it’s worth it.

I work in a University Hospital, but I’m not a researcher or a scientist by profession. I get paid for doing my job. Being a scientific author is part of my spare time, regardless it is related to my job.

A University Hospital generates innovation and knowledge. Workers in such institutions have three main roles: caring patients, teaching and research.

It’s the librarian who encourages me constantly to catch up with my duties of publishing, but sometimes I cannot see the point of why I should invest as much effort in publishing, rather than procrastinating. She recently published a paper in a scientific journal about the role of health librarians in the training of scientific authors.

It’s a very good article, but I would like to add a few thoughts to those, because, as I mentioned above, I cant’ help wondering if such efforts are worth it.

Why should I publish?

The first aim of the scientific publication is to build and share knowledge. Above this romantic, idealistic thinking, it must be clear to us our true motivations to publish, because, over it, we have personal motivations. It’s beneficial to us.

In today’s world, the author is just as valid as the amount and the quality of his/her publications. Such an approach is extremely simplistic, but cruel reality sets in.

As mentioned above, I myself come from the world of health sciences, where publishing is not compulsory at all. It’s compulsory to get the job done. Thanks to prevailing competitiveness at all levels, we are all sorted according to our value in order to promote or to be included in a research project.

Let’s be realistic; we publish to improve our curriculum vitae, not to make the world a little better.

An author invests a huge effort to develop a research project, which will eventually provide a much deeper knowledge on a certain subject. If the author pretends to achieve any profit from that effort, the only way is to publish that research in a scientific journal, in which a peer review can add an extra value to the research project. Posters and meetings are good choices, but they lack the high value of a scientific journal.

The university hospital where I work gives the opportunity to create knowledge that may be used in caring for patients, and eventually, to improve healthcare.

So, the main advantage of working in a hospital is the ongoing feedback. When caring for patients, we must make sure to take the best decision possible, and we have to be able to impart knowledge to others. It’s some kind of vicious circle (it would be better to say virtuous circle).

Whether we want it or not, we are within this circle (caring, teaching, learning), and all we can do is to take advantage of the hospital: learning, applying scientific knowledge and developing new skills.

So, we must take advantage of our knowledge and our efforts, and we must share information. It is one way to say: my work is valuable.

Who should publish?

We all must publish because by doing so, we are learning. We all have the need of communicating, sharing knowledge and making it useful. It benefits everybody, it improves our curriculum vitae and it adds value to our work.

Conclusions

Regarding my last post, a word must be said about the role of librarians in publishing, for they yield continuous, neutral feedback about relevant, quality, clinical information. They provide recommendations, give advice and suggest useful tools.

As far as I’m concerned, I’ve been working with my librarian for 10 years, and I never stopped learning. Certainly, my librarian has been the most significant influence on my professional growth, for a documentalist knows the needs, the features and the basis of a developing scientific author.

This is an underestimated contribution, for a documentalist also designs search strategies, manages resources and recommends other means of publication. They should be widely acknowledged.

I strongly recommend The health sciences librarian as scientific entertainer. Thanks for your attention, I’m willing to answer any questions you might have.

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