Academic Knowledge Management Course
Digital notes combined with the right strategy are a massive upgrade to your brain:
Generate more novel research ideas
Synthesize existing knowledge into clearer arguments
Never forget papers you’ve read (really!)
Stay organized in drawn out research projects
This course will teach you the exact workflows I’ve refined over years to organize a growing, massive collection of 330.000+ words in notes. If you want to transform your research career, this course will be a leap forward.
What is Academic Knowledge Management (AKM)?
While we can’t remember everything, we can take notes on everything. Developing and using notes as a way to extend the mind is the goal of AKM. With a few tweaks to how you take notes, you can organize year-long research projects and access everything you’ve ever read in seconds. At scale, however, finding notes also becomes a problem. This is where Academic Knowledge Management comes in: It gives you a system and the right tools to organize and store your notes – 1000s of them, over years to come.
We are not dealing with a few notebooks here. In the first 6 months of my PhD I generated over 300.000 words (this is about 8 PhD theses worth of notes!) and I still regularly visit and find old notes. The true power of academic knowledge management comes out at scale!
I found that popular systems like Zettelkasten, Linking your Thinking, or Second Brain, are just not made for researchers. I combined and improved these concepts into an “academic operating system” for the 21st century.
Every bit has been tested and refined over years of daily work in my own research. One of my supervisors routinely comments on me for being the “best organized PhD student they ever had” and seasoned professors mentioned how “I got them into Obsidian”. My first mentor even told me that I accomplished in 6 months what took others years.
Note-taking is so much more than just notes! In this video I will explain why:
Testimonials from previous webinars and courses
The webinar also contains a starter vault with all the plugins you will need set up.
Well-Tested AKM System
It is easy to take notes but not easy to maintain a connection with old notes you take. Have you ever read an old work of yours and thought: “I don’t even remember knowing this!”
This happened to me many times, but every time I got it a little bit better. My current system has 1000s of notes and I can leverage this in my research:
► Develop new ideas by browsing my notes
► Discover new connections between unrelated concepts
► Find all the papers I ever read with notes, context, annotations and PDFs.
► Have a list of projects with clearly defined research questions to decide on next steps
► Overview visual documentations for 100s of files of statistical analysis (code) and know where all my plots come from.
In this course I show exactly how I work and you get to see my actual research notes (not just theoretical examples).
Find Everything You Ever Read
If you have been taking notes loosely as Word Documents, PDF Annotations or by hand, you have probably experienced the frustration of just trying to find your notes. My Academic Knowledge System is built on Obsidian, a single software that gathers notes, references, lab diaries and tasks – all 100% free. The result is bigger than the sum of its parts:
► Globally search through ALL notes in milliseconds.
► Link notes together and jump to topics quickly.
► Embed your PDFs to see them instantly within the notes.
► Think visually by creating mind maps from your notes.
► Connect tools like Zotero or even integrate ChatGPT.
After trying out numerous tools I found Obsidian to be mature enough yet simple enough. You won’t miss any features, but you won’t be overwhelmed either.
Meet your Instructor
Not your average scientist. I spent 12 years in industry, co-founded a brain training startup NeuroNation, ran a web design firm and only at 36 decided to do a PhD in biology. At this point I didn’t know much about biology – yet 6 months later I had a paper in peer review and a glowing recommendation from my supervisor:
My secret to learning very fast is not talent. It’s “Knowledge Management”, something I did routinely as a CEO.
You and I play chess with the same pieces, right? But who wins? The person with a better strategy – continuously & predictably. Research is not different. But has anyone ever taught you a strategy on how to “do science”? If you’re lucky your supervisor can show you a thing or two. More likely, they won’t even have the time.
I decided to change that and in December 2022 launched a Twitter account that is now one of the biggest accounts when it comes literature review and note taking strategies for academics. I consistently keep updating my own strategies as I pursue my career as an (effortless) academic at Victoria University in New Zealand.