Ilya Shabanov Profile picture
I help you with tools and methods to thrive in research. AI • Note Taking • Planning • Visual Thinking • Writing 📨 Newsletter link below | 🇳🇿 VuW, Ecology
Jeannie Koh Profile picture 1 added to My Authors
Jan 27 15 tweets 6 min read
Hidden in this picture, is a guy with a flower sticking out of his butt. 💐

How does this help you in academia?

It does! Let me explain:

A highly cryptic painter - known for his huge and detailed paintings.

They all have something in common: A million things happen at once.

When starting to learn cell biology, I found myself inside one of his paintings:
Jan 26 11 tweets 5 min read
2 years ago I decided to get a PhD in biology.

The learning curve was *very* steep (coming from computer engineering).

Here's where I really FAILED, how I FIXED it and what my supervisor said at the end:
🧵👇 ❌ Reading is not understanding.

I would read a chapter or a paper and feel absolutely on top of it. Even explaining it to myself as I learn.

But, a month (or a few chapters) later, my recall was very poor. Often close to 0.

Every time this would erode my self-confidence.
Jan 25 18 tweets 18 min read
The 2-click reference management workflow.

1st Click: Adds paper to @paperpile
2nd Click: Creates a note in @obsdmd (with ALL metadata)

Everything in between is FULLY automated (PDF download, citation retrieval).

Learn how to import papers in under 5 seconds:
👇🧵 @paperpile @obsdmd 1. Get @paperpile

A light-weight reference manager with an awesome browser plugin.

My two favourite features:
- a browser extension adding a "+" button to google scholar and many journal websites
- syncing of the library to Google drive.

Price: 3$/mo for academics
Jan 24 12 tweets 7 min read
Everyone plans.

❌ Most use a todo list (app) to remember what to do.

✅ Much better: Merge Tasks with Notes to know WHAT AND WHERE to do.

Tutorial for an effortless academic task management:
🧵👇 1. Use @obsdmd

Heard of it?
Think of it as a "Google for your head" or a "Librarian to your Knowledge".

Primarily it is for note taking. But it can do almost anything else (just like google).

Here's how to migrate:
Jan 23 10 tweets 18 min read
"Use @googledocs it's simple – No use @evernote and @NotionHQ it's shared – No do @RoamResearch it's serious – No, use Apple Notes and Google Keep..."

They ALL run INSIDE my @obsdmd 🤣😎 🤯

Be a rebel 👇 @googledocs @evernote @NotionHQ @RoamResearch @obsdmd Obsidian is built on a technology called "Electron".

Electron is just a Chrome browser, that runs like an app on your desktop.

So essentially Obsidian = Snazzy Browser for your notes.
Jan 23 9 tweets 3 min read
3 academic lessons from iconic song lyrics.
As the saying goes: "Rock, Rap & Romance, makes the PhD advance"

👇🧵 SONG: Come as You Are [K. Cobain et al, 1991]

The authors argue that one can come as one is.
e.g as a friend, a trend, an old enemy or as a memory.

A great, albeit cryptic, reminder to be however we are.
Jan 22 9 tweets 4 min read
If you're serious about thinking, take notes.

If you're serious about notes, use Obsidian.

If you're serious about Obsidian, there's still a 99% chance, you don't know these hidden features.

Join the 1%.

#ScienceTwitter #AcademicTwitter 1. Quick Switcher

Find any note in seconds.

If you want to learn one hotkey for Obsidian, this is the one.
⌨️ CTRL + O (Win) or CMD + O (Mac)

Similar to this is the hotkey for "Command Palette". Allow you to do the same but to find actions, like "export".
Jan 21 9 tweets 13 min read
Doing academic research, but absolutely no clue about design?

Use these 6 tools for your next poster, figure or publication.
👇🧵 1. @mindthegraph

If you have used @canva for graphic editing. Think of this tool as "Canva for academics".

Easy to use drag and drop editor with numerous objects: molecules, animals, anatomy etc.

Perfect for explaining complex concepts graphically.

Price: 7-12$/mo
Jan 20 10 tweets 6 min read
Most powerful tool for taking notes: Obsidian.

Yet, not everyone knows how flexible it really is.

Learn how to embed PDFs, Videos, Images or even whole websites into your notes:
🧵 New to @obsdmd?

It is an awesome tool to extend your mind with interconnected notes. See the linked meta thread to learn more.

It's free, private & open source. I love it. Worked with it for years now.

Jan 19 10 tweets 6 min read
Too many papers in your literature review?

Turn your list into an interactive board with Obsidian + Kanban plugin.

Here's how:
🧵 If @obsdmd is new to you - download this free software first.

In my opinion it hits the sweet spot of not being too complicated, yet powerful enough for all my academic needs.

Here is an overview on how I take notes using it.

Jan 18 11 tweets 3 min read
4 lessons from Pirate Captain Jack Sparrow 🏴‍☠️ for PhD students:
(...and the original scenes from the movie)
👇 1️⃣ SCENE

Opening Scene of the movie as Jack Sparrow arrives in Port Royal.

Dead pirates hang as a warning to other pirates to stay out.

Yet he salutes them, rather than be scared.

He intends to do things differently - his way.
Jan 18 9 tweets 5 min read
Want to excel in academia?

Learn OBSIDIAN, the most powerful note-taking app for academics and students.

50+ people already signed up for this online workshop (🤯 and 🙏).

Here's what you can expect to learn and who it's for:
👇 🧠 Build a "second brain" for your academic notes

► Master @obsdmd to take academic notes
► Intro to a step-by-step system: from reading to publishing
► Cut reading, learning and writing time
► Hotkeys and hacks to be 2x faster

Here is an example:
Jan 17 16 tweets 14 min read
Literature discovery in minutes?

Yes, with Litmaps: an AI tool, to instantly find research papers.

I combined its "seed", "discovery" & "maps" features into a single super-strategy for finding literature.

Here's how:
👇🧵 1. Get Initial "seed" set of a few papers

Most often you have that already. eg. your colleague or advisor gave you some papers.
If not, you can use this workflow to get an initial "seed" set of papers:

Jan 16 11 tweets 4 min read
Academics, whether you like it or not – AI and #ChatGPT aren't going anywhere.

Here's where it excels, bitterly fails and why this is so.

8 real world examples for scientists.


#ScienceTwitter #AcademicTwitter 1. Summarize a long text to bullet points

💻 "Outline, [using bullet points], max 100 words: [your text]"

(If you have bullet points, you can alternatively ask to shorten [each bullet point])

Here's a summary for "History of the poodle" (wikipedia). Image
Jan 13 14 tweets 9 min read
The first time I did a literature review, it took me months.

Now i can do it in a week.


I spent 500+ hours refining a system for my notes. Here's is the end result:

#AcademicChatter #AcademicTwitter #ScienceTwitter 1. Get one tool.

I use @obsdmd, as an "academic operating system".
It contains everything: My notes, PDFs, annotations, mind maps, writing.

Don't get stuck in the past with MS Word.

Jan 12 6 tweets 3 min read
Failing to plan – is planning to fail.

Whether you start a PhD, secured a grant or have a project,
you'll probably make a plan.

As an ex-CEO I did a lot of planning.
Now I apply it to my PhD, here's how:
#ScienceTwitter, #academicWriting The first step is to zoom out as far as you can.

See your strategy. See the end goal. See each milestone.

Jan 11 18 tweets 11 min read
Read less – learn more.

Cut down your PhD or literature review reading list by 75%:

Here is a simple 3-step workflow:

#AcademicChatter #ScienceTwitter #AcademicTwitter We will use the 80/20 principle and identify the 20% top papers from these 3 categories:

► Most Cited: Foundational, often dated work

► Most Recent: Cutting edge, often no citations

► Most References: Review papers

It's super easy with @LitmapsApp. (free acct is enough)
Jan 10 13 tweets 8 min read
Turn your research papers & PDFs into audio using AI.

It takes 1 minute with this tool, here's how:
👇 Image 1. Make a free Audemic account.

This is the wonderful tool we are going to use: @audemic_co.

The address is: audemic . io

It will also summarise the PDFs and possibly translate them.

Awesome, eh? Image
Jan 8 12 tweets 19 min read
This is what AI can do today, #ScienceTwitter:

⏵ Discover new literature
⏵ Understand and summarise, even math
⏵ Write your papers

The game is changing – fast.

Here's my list of the 9 essential AI tools in research:
(With prices and use-cases)
👇 🧭 | @LitmapsApp

Discover similar papers from one ore more publications.
Will often display fewer (more relevant?) papers, compared to other apps.
Intuitively guides through the discovery process.

✔︎ Effortless Literature Discovery
💲Free for small maps, then 10$/mo
Jan 7 19 tweets 14 min read
Finding 200 papers for your research is easy.

What is NOT easy:
• Make sense of it 🤔
• Finding holes in the literature 🕳️
• Making a novel contribution 😵

I just learned about "Discourse Graphs".
A super powerful, visual technique, that helps.

Here's how I use it:
👇 Chefs use recipes to get from ingredients to dinner.

Your ingredients: papers & books,

Your dinner: the publication.

How do we prepare, marinate, cook and arrange our ingredients to get a great publication?

That's what we need the Discourse Graph for!
Jan 6 9 tweets 4 min read
Declining Disruption.

#ScienceTwitter is abuzz with this recently published nature article.

I read into the study and 100s of comments.
Consensus: Grants and journals are to blame.

But the authors give a much better, more personal insights.

Here's what I learned:
👇 💡Define Disruption:

Suppose I publish a study S that cites X,Y,Z.

If disruptive:
Subsequent work will cite S primarily, as X,Y,Z are "obsolete".

S,X,Y and Z will be cited. As all are still relevant.

They validate it using many studies from 20th century.