D.J. McPhee D.J. McPhee26 December 2023 Open Science
happy new year

Tackling Your Work in the New Year

With the New Year fast approaching, it’s a good time to take a look back as we look forward.

This year has been a busy one for many of us, and at a time where we hope to be putting 2023 to rest, and look forward to 2024, it pays to take some of the lessons learned to apply them going forward.

Here, in order to look forward, we take a look back at some of the articles we’ve produced this year that can help you achieve your goals in 2024.

Planning a research paper

One of the largest endeavors that an academic might approach in any given year is writing a paper. There’s a lot of stress involved in the writing process. There’s a lot of things to keep in mind, and we are here to help with that.

From making sure that your paper has a clear purpose to making sure that everyone understands what the goals of your paper are, there’s a lot to pay attention to. In order to help with this, we assembled an interesting article that can help by serving as a checklist for anyone who is interested in writing a paper in 2024. In fact, if your New Year’s resolution is to “get that pesky paper finished”, this article will definitely help you to get the paper moving in the right direction.

If your goal is to get published in 2024, we’ll take you through all the steps you need to know, from delegation to English editing. If you want some further advice on editing the English of your manuscript, you should reach out to our editing department for more details.

Getting a good night’s rest

Because sleep has a huge impact on our physical and mental health, getting a good night’s sleep might be a New Year’s resolution for you. As insufficient sleep is related to many chronic health problems, it’s important to remember to get a full night’s sleep when possible. Not only this, but oversleeping has also been shown to negatively affect health (or at least be related to poor health). Lots of research suggests that between 7 and 9 hours is optimal. With this particular question in mind, our own Nat Kelly takes a deep dive into the science of getting a good night’s sleep.

One of the interesting topics that Nat goes into detail about is the circadian rhythm. He explains how:

“These are 24-hour-long cycles that determine when we dose off and rise – i.e., our sleep-wake cycle – and have been broadly seen across many forms of life, including bacteria, fungi, animals, and plants. This is largely influenced by environmental factors, such as light/dark, temperature, etc.”

He also goes into more detail about the health impacts that sleep has on the body. And also of different ways to improve sleep. So if you’re looking to make “better sleep” a resolution for the new year, this is a great article to start with.

Eat more mushrooms in the new year

Earlier in the year, the team put together a series of articles talking about mushrooms. With the surprising success of The Last of Us TV show, we thought it a good idea to do a bit of deep diving into the fun world of fungi.

Some mushrooms are dangerous and toxic, but are there uses for toxic mushrooms? We take a look at this in our article on the subject.

One of the topics of interest that we covered this year was the uses of mushrooms for treating depression. With a growing body of research, it’s an interesting question to address.

“The significant change in brain activity brought about by this has a direct impact on depressive thinking patterns. Instead of altering the patient’s brain chemistry gradually, it is thought that it resets the neural networks responsible for depressive symptoms. Combined with therapy, this could have hugely beneficial effects on chronic depression.”

Not only depression, but it would have felt wrong to not talk about the show itself!

How creepy and scary can mushrooms be? Well, Daniella Maritan-Thompson answers that question:

“However, the fungus in the series is not completely unrealistic. They can and do infect ants, causing “zombie-like” effects. Their main goal is survival, to do this they must propagate and spread.

The fungus is suggested to be found in tropical rainforests. They can infect ants using their spores to penetrate their exoskeleton. As this infection sets in, it changes the ant’s behavior, influencing them to leave their nest and find favorable conditions to propagate the growth of the fungus. The fungus eventually kills the ant by growing inside of it and feeding off it.

Once the ant has died and dried up, the fungus reaches out of its head using a fruiting body. This allows it to disperse its spores and trap other ants.”

With all this said, there’s still plenty of reasons to incorporate healthy and delicious mushrooms into your diet.

New Year’s resolutions

Whatever your goals are for next year, academic or otherwise, we hope that you share that journey with us. We will continue to provide informative and well-researched content in 2024 and beyond. Share your New Year’s resolutions with us below, and take a look at some of the other fun end-of-year content we’ve prepared for you. From all of us here at the MDPI blog, we wish you and yours all the best!