New jobs! And ways of doing science….

This is not the update you’re expecting, but it has some urgency.

First off, there are a number of job openings available. The first is for a Research Geneticist at USDA-ARS at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, MN, USA. The deadline to apply is May 3rd. Note that the competition is only open to American citizens. The second job opportunity is for an Assistant Professor - Small Grains Breeder in Crop and Soil Sciences at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC, USA. This is a tenure-track position, and the competition will remain open until filled. A tenure-track position at the University of Florida in Jackson, FL, USA, for an Assistant Professor – Forage Breeding/Genetics also remains open, as does a 9 month term position for an Assistant Professor - Quantitative Genetics and Genomics at South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD, USA.

Secondly, this a reminder that registrations and abstracts for the 2nd Food Oats Conference in Lund, Sweden, are due on May 5th! Also in Lund, an event will be held for Fascination of Plants Day on May 9th.

Lastly, a webinar on “Using ChatGPT in academia as a tool to enhance teaching, research and communication” will be presented by Channa Prakash of Tuskeegee University and others on Tuesday, May 2nd, from 8:30 AM to 10 AM CDT (UTC -5). The link to join is here. The webinar is on Zoom, the ID is 946 5300 2809, and the passcode is 618509.

So why would a webinar concerning an artificial intelligence (AI) program be of any relevance to this audience? As our various types of datasets continue to grow in size and complexity, AI and other types of complex computer algorithms could be just the tools we need. But they could also be the stuff of nightmares.

I saw a paper this week that cited an article I had co-authored. The topic seemed unrelated to the cited work, and, as it turns out, it was. The authors had written a review of work on the health benefits of oats using a computer program to scan the literature (this was stated in their Materials and Methods). However, many of the statements made in the paper were quite outrageous, and many of the articles cited had not made the claims attributed to them. Some didn’t include any work on oats at all.

Steps will be taken to address this issue. At the same time, please use this incident as a reminder never to take things at face value. Read critically, and always check the references. Go back to the original work if possible. Things are not always as they seem!