This blogpost is a personal exploration into my racial identity and how it may have interacted with my life in science. Looking Asian but sounding Australian, I feel like I’m stuck in the middle. Through privilege and naïveté, I somehow missed what being Asian in science meant. I think being open about our experiences can be incredibly helpful to starting conversations and producing positive change, and I wholheartedly believe diversity in science is incredibly important and needed.
With every new year, I (and I’m guessing many others) start thinking about resolutions they want to keep or goals they would like to achieve. (It’s also about now, around the end of January, that people tend to give up too.) I find it useful to go through a bit of introspection, figure out what I am working towards and lay down some plans for the future – academia is such a constant grind (there’s always something to be done) that it can feel like we are always behind and not achieving anything. This is especially true in the midst of a global pandemic which has upended data collection for human research, forced most scientists to adapt to working from home and added an underlying current of stress. Some well-thought-out goals might help by being markers of progress in a career where it feels like achievement only comes at the end of a big (often years-long) research project. On the other hand, lofty goals like “I will have x first-author publications by the end of the year” seem completely unhelfpul and may just add on to the stress – and you’re probably giving into the Incentives with that kind of goal, right?
I have been doing a bit of reflection on the year, and one of the most rewarding things I did in 2020 was founding and organizing the ReproducibiliTea Journal Club at the University of Chicago! ReproducibiliTea started as a grassroots initiative in 2018 and has since become a global community centered on meta-science, discussing and improving research practices in response to the reproducibility crisis in science.