Step 1: Google search on intermittent stem cell cycling to look for article mentioned by a colleague.
Step 2: Land on article at publisher website. Look at author list. Skim abstract. Yup, this is the one.
Step 3. Click on “Full Text.” Wonder whether this leads to a PDF or an HTML page. Neither as it turns out. Prompts for authentication.
Step 4. Dimly remember once receiving an email from a campus administrator about how to set-up VPN access and attempting to follow the instructions and giving up after spending 20 minutes on the project.
Step 5: Look for some way to authenticate via the publisher website. Fail to find one. Note what appears to be an extra credit question: What Shibboleth federation are you in? What the heck is Shibboleth?
Step 6: Google university library and re-do search via library portal.
Step 7: Library search fails. Hmm. Can’t remember what journal or database the article was in… ScienceDirect? Ovid? Springer? Nature? Springer Nature? Nature Springer? No idea.
Step 8: Open new browser tab and redo the original Google search because that search was in the current browser tab and hitting the back button would lose place on the library’s discovery system.
Step 9: Armed with the journal information from the redone Google search, locate journal via library discovery system. Print holdings or access the electronic journal? Really? Really?
Step 10: See prompt for proxy authentication.
Step 11: Enter user name and password.
Step 12: Click on “Forgot my password.”
Step 13: Open email and click on “Reset my password.”
Step 14: Go to university website to reset password. Remember receiving many emails from a university administrator about the importance of picking strong passwords and using a password manager or a mnemonic device.
Step 15: Debate basing password on the lyrics to Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” versus something less embarrassing. Maybe a Beatles song. Too obvious. Maybe something unimpeachable but less obvious? Bowie? Yes, Bowie. But which Bowie?
Step 16: Open new browser tab and Google “Bowie songs.”
Step 17: Consider “Rebel Rebel,” “China Girl,” “Young Americans,” or “Changes.” Watch video for “Changes.” Decide on “Space Oddity” because of combination of greatness, science theme, and also because the lyrics were committed to memory in sixth grade.
Step 18: Recall the cover of “Space Oddity” sung in space by astronaut Chris Hadfield. Pause to remember how truly awesome that video is. Google it. Watch video on YouTube. Sing along. Think about how sometimes the world can be a wondrous place and that is why science is so important.
Step 19: Recall original plan to study physics as undergrad and decision to switch to life sciences because that was where the jobs were. The human genome had been cracked. The money was certain to flow for a generation or longer with discovery upon discovery improving human life. A more certain career path one could not imagine…
Step 20. Pause to consider state of current post-doc appointment. Feel certain that if original plan was followed, would be in space right now. Or at least working at SpaceX.
Step 21: Open new browser tab and navigate to Glassdoor. Look up salaries at SpaceX.
Step 22: Self-loathing.
Step 23: Click back button several times and enter new mnemonic password. Twice. Four times. Because thumbs.
Step 24: After clicking the back button a few more times and having a mild panic attack about library search being wiped out, realize a new browser tab was launched by the “reset password” link. Navigate back over to the proxy authentication system (which did not authenticate when logging-in to the university’s password resetting system). Type in new Bowie password.
Step 20: Reenter password because apparently typed a wrong digit though which one is unknowable as the form field just displays little circles. Because security.
Step 21: Authenticate to publisher’s website.
Step 22: Search for article. Located! Click on title.
Step 23: Click on “Full Text.” Swipe to end and read conclusion. Realize this is a different article from the same study and authors than the one mentioned by colleague. Really? Really? Because minimum publishable unit.
Step 24: Return to Step 1.
[Editors Note: We have redacted Steps 25 – 48 in the interest of brevity and also as we realize some readers may be sensitive to excessive profanity].
Step 49: Have finally located and accessed the right article! Bask in the glow of victory.
Step 50: F*%k – look at the time. Need to run to appointment! Save PDF to Dropbox for future reading.