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Assuming an Active Voice in Your Writing and Career

In Nature this week, Peter Fiske writes that too many young scientists put themselves at a disadvantage by adopting a passive voice both in their writing, and in their career development initiatives. Though science publishing has traditionally favored the passive voice — "10 µL of buffer was added," rather than "we added 10 µL of buffer" — Fiske writes that more young scientists have begun to employ a more active tone in their manuscripts. Because the author argues that the "culture of science still seems to encourage a 'passive voice' in much of the rest of their careers," he encourages young scientists to adopt an active voice and to self-promote and proactively establish collaborations outside of their own institution. "Avoiding the appearance of 'self-promotion' may seem desirable for establishing credibility," Fiske writes. "But failure to make any attempt to advocate for oneself and one's abilities can be misinterpreted as indifference, even arrogance." He also suggests that taking a "passive career approach" during a global recession will become increasingly disadvantageous for young scientists. "Broadcasting one's accomplishments and exercising the 'active voice' in all aspects of one's work is the best way to earn notice, gain recognition and make the public at large aware of the value of the scientific enterprise," Fiske writes.

The Scan

Lacks Family Hires Attorney

A lawyer for the family of Henrietta Lacks plans to seek compensation from pharmaceutical companies that have used her cancer cells in product development, the Baltimore Sun reports.

For the Unknown

The Associated Press reports that family members are calling on the US military to use new DNA analysis techniques to identify unknown sailors and Marines who were on the USS Arizona.

PLOS Papers on Congenital Heart Disease, COVID-19 Infection Host MicroRNAs, Multiple Malformation Mutations

In PLOS this week: new genes linked to congenital heart disease, microRNAs with altered expression in COVID-19, and more.

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.