How to be a good scientist is a question I keep asking myself. Here are a few random thoughts based my own experience and my observation of colleagues and trainees. I see this as my work philosophy and I hope it could be helpful to people in my group.
1. Follow passion.
Follow nothing but your passion. If you are not motivated by your project, do yourself a favor and seek immediate change.
2. Fly high.
Everybody loves low-hanging fruit. Fly as high as possible so that you can see fruits others don’t see, or fruits that are low to you but high to others.
3. Think differently.
You may find a high-hanging fruit reachable from a different angle.
4. Say no.
Say no to a hundred opportunities to ensure the success of one.
5. Have backup.
Productive people work on several projects simultaneously and employ multiple approaches in the same project in parallel, not in serial.
6. Embrace failure.
You may get a quick paper if everything go as planned, but you can grow faster by learning from failure.
7. Keep records.
Prepare detailed and well-organized documentation so that others can easily follow and appreciate your work.
8. Be nice.
Volunteer work is an easy way to win friends and build collaborations.