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Homo academicus, to use a term coined by Pierre Bourdieu, is a special species and for those of us embarking on our careers, we must be able to demonstrate our potential ability to not only survive but to excel in the academic jungle if we hope to secure our first post as an assistant professor or a junior researcher. The selection criteria include a lengthy list of publications in journals with the highest possible impact factor, an established research programme demonstrating the capacity to be an independent researcher, and extensive experience as communicators, both as invited speakers and as presenters at scientific conferences. Although there is much to be said on all of these aspects, our commentary focuses on this last point, as we should not forget the words of Max Weber:1 “of all of the pedagogical tasks, the most difficult is that of communicating scientific problems in such a way that an unprepared yet gifted individual will be able to understand and …
Competing interests: None.