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Academic Productivity 2.0

January 22nd, 2008 by

We are proud to announce the birth of Academic Productivity 2.0. Over the last months we have been brainstorming on how to improve the blog and we are happy to announce a number of important news.

New look

We have redesigned the blog and created a new logo: a delicate metaphor on how the academia transforms raw ideas into… more clipboard1_22_2008 _ 20_34_42mundane, consumable things.

It took quite a lot of work to get the current look working (and we ended up making very conservative decisions!). Load times should have improved as we have removed some plugins that were slowing things down.

Open contributions

We thought it’s ok to write our own ramblings, but we’d like to read yours too.

Academic Productivity 2.0 introduces an open registration system (default role: “Contributor”). This will allow to open up the blog for contributions from our readers. Other blogs have done this, and since we have been receiving a lot of valuable suggestions from our readers, we think it’s time to create a community of contributors. If you have ideas/hacks you want to share, sign up as a contributor or log in < ?php wp_loginout(); ?>(see link on the right side).

Once you are logged in as a contributor, you will have several advantages.

  1. You will never again have to write name/mail to post/comment. will remember you.
  2. You can fill-in some data, upoload a picture, and write bio blurb. This description will show up when one of your posts gets approved.
  3. Submit your post. This is the best part. You can write a post! It will be sent to us as a draft, and if the editors approve it, your posts will be featured on the blog.

We encourage each collaborator clipboard1_22_2008 _ 20_55_25 to write a short paragraph with what you consider is your most powerful productivity tip. Of all the things you do to keep your research going, what is the one that gets you more bang for the buck? You can tell the world (and us) and be admired for your hacking skill. This is fun, and we will create a page with a collection of usernames (pictures if you have a gravatar) and productivity power tips!

Once you are signed in, you can change your information, and write posts. We will post later on how to go about it; it’s really easy.

Note: even though you signed up with your email, this email will never be used other than to send you a confirmation link. We have implemented capcha and math tests to prevent robots from signing in automatically. This will speed up things considerably on our side and will let you roam free on the blog writing posts and comments with less hassles.

We will create a page with the picture and blurbs of people who contribute content (an hall-of-fame of sorts). You can say something about you in the blurb, but we’d like you to condense into one paragraph


There are some new features about comments too; they are here to make conversations a lot easier and make everyone feel like they can talk back at any time.

  1. Users must be registered and logged in to comment. This has several advantages for everyone. When you post, your comment will be visible immediately; this makes easy for people to have real-time conversations. For us, it saves a lot of time not to have to moderate the comments! Plus, if you signed up, you must be a human. Periodically, we will review comments to see if any spammer is making inroads (even having to do it by hand!).
  2. If you have a gravatar account, your picture will show up. We highly encourage you to get an account, because it’s better when you can assign an actual image to some writer/commentator that you like. You can skim content a lot faster that way. Of course, when you find the same commentator anywhere else on the net, their gravatar will be the same so you will recognize them.clipboard1_22_2008 _ 20_22_46
  3. Now links you post in your comments carry pagerank (the default for wordpress is NOT to give out pagerank). That means that you can use your comments to take people to your site and make Google like it more.
  4. You can also Subscribe to Comments (by mail reminders, or RSS). That means that you will receive i.e. a mail when someone posts a comment addressing one of yours.


Although you can access all posts in full text using RSS, we want to create a newsletter. You can receive notifications for each new post by mail. You can subscribe to a monthly digest of what we discussed. People in the mailing list will get extra content that will not be posted on the blog, such as time-sensitive information.

The newsletter will strengthen the community. We want to think of as a future hub of early-stage researchers, where we can talk about the challenges of doing research in the 21st century in terms of productivity strategies. Our dream would be to organize a workshop or small conference on this topic, should this idea receive some support from our readers.

If you are a contributor and you wish to receive the newsletter too, you will need to sign in separately.

What do you want us to post about?

We want to encourage people not only to comment more but to post their own stuff. Still, if that was not sufficient, you can steer us to the content you want. What do you want us to post about? Is there any underdeveloped topic that you want to see featured more prominently? What do you like the most about what we do? What do you not like?

More things to come

We have more things coming. For example, audio interviews and original productivity software.Of course, it’s up to you too. If you want to grab a microphone and interview someone that has a good insight on what it takes to be productive (inside  and outside the academia), feel free to submit your interview too. You may be blessed with an advisor/peer who is not only a productivity monster, but an altruistic soul who likes to share. If so, we want to hear those conversations. You could submit audio content. If you can record one of your ‘cafeteria conversations’ to share with the world, that’d be ideal. The easiest way to do this -without buying any equipment- is to recreate the conversation using Skype. As simple as this is (just like a phone conversation), Skype offers recording. Then you can submit the mp3 of the call as an attachment in your post to

In summary, we want to give our readers as much control as possible and make not a simple blog that people read when they should be writing a paper… but a collaborative effort (a community) to make everyone more productive.

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